President Michael D Higgins, Bono and poet Paula Meehan were among those paying tribute to poet Brendan Kennelly at the virtual launch of his literary archive.

The archive was launched at Trinity College Dublin to mark the poet's 85th birthday, which will be on April 17.

The university said the archive is a unique collection, of interest not only to scholars of Brendan Kennelly's work but also to those interested in the work of his many literary, artistic and political correspondents. The collection contains literary drafts, lectures, research materials, reviews, workshop material, works by others, theatrical material, personal material, photographs, memorabilia as well as a large quantity of correspondence.

The Library of Trinity College acquired the Kennelly archive some years ago. In 2019, it hosted the exhibition Forever Begin celebrating the poet’s contributions to Irish literary and cultural life over many decades.

Following today’s announcement, and the appointment of an archivist, this rich literary archive will be made available to researchers and students.

Hosted by the Provost of Trinity College Dublin, the launch featured a read message from the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins along with selected poems recited by U2 singer Bono, poet Paula Meehan and Trinity student Lily O'Byrne.

Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Patrick Prendergast said: "The Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive reflects all of the facets of Brendan Kennelly’s life, and his national and international role – as a poet and a professor, as a public figure and cultural commentator, and a mentor to many. It spans from his earliest poetry to his years in Trinity College. I am delighted to announce this unique collection will now be made available to students and scholars."