The death has occurred of Breandán Ó Buachalla, who was described as the leading authority on Gaelic poetry and writing in early modern Ireland.

Professor Ó Buachalla was one of the most prominent Irish language academics of his generation.

Born in 1936, Prof Ó Buachalla graduated with a degree in Celtic Studies from University College Cork and went on to teach at Queens University Belfast and University College Dublin where he was Professor of Modern Irish Language and Literature.

He held the first Thomas J and Kathleen O’Donnell Chair in Irish Language and Literature at Notre Dame University and held visiting professorships at New York University and Boston College.

He was published extensively on subjects including history, gaelic poetry and linguistics.

Prof Ó Buachalla's major work was Aisling Ghéar, a study of 17th century literature and politics.

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture Mary Hanafin described Prof Ó Buachalla as a giant among his peers.

She said his passing is more than a personal loss to his family, it is a great loss also to the Irish language and learning.

Prof Ó Buachalla is survived by his wife Aingeal his daughters Bridóg and Clíona and his son Traolach.