Top Hollywood star Will Ferrell last night appeared in University College Dublin to accept a prestigious award in front of 1,500 students.

The 40-year-old star of 'Anchorman' was dressed in the full Irish rugby kit as he accepted the James Joyce Award from the Literary and Historical Society for his outstanding contribution to comedic acting.

Ferrell had a packed O'Reilly Hall in stitches throughout his 40- minute speech where he joked: "As I look out at this crowd, I see the future of Ireland, the future of Europe. And let's face it, the future looks pretty bleak."

The star also spoke about his two-week trip of Ireland with his brother Patrick and father Roylee, whose family hail from Co Longford.

He said: "The trip has been a bit of craic and I'm not talking about talk and laughter, I'm actually talking about crack cocaine."

During his holiday Ferrell travelled to Galway, Mayo, Belfast, Bushmills, Cork, Waterford and Longford. He joked: "The photos are all over Bebo if you need proof."

Ferrell added: "I'm so committed to my Irish roots that I intend to continue wearing this outfit (rugby kit) upon my return to the US. I will also continue to drive on the left-hand side of the road.

"Will it be dangerous? Yes. Is it illegal? Highly. But that's just how committed I am."

His speech also touched on what he believes are his similarities to James Joyce; Westlife and a dig at UCD's rival Trinity College Dublin.

Generating huge applause he said: "The truth of the matter is those guys are going to be working for you."

The star, who commands $20m a movie, joins other public figures honoured by the L&H, including United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix, academic Noam Chomsky and former South African president FW De Klerk.

Ferrell told the L&H: "I'm truly honoured to be in the same company as previous recipients".