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Blooming Fantastic-Bloomsday Honours Handed Out

 

Updated : Jun 17, 2009

Internationally acclaimed playwright Brian Friel celebrated Bloomsday at James Joyce’s alma mater today where he received the university’s highest honour.

As Joyceans across Dublin marked the annual literary event, Mr Friel was presented with the Ulysses Medal at a gala ceremony attended by poet Seamus Heaney.

The accolade is presented to individuals whose work has been recognised and praised across the globe.

Honorary degrees were also conferred on six celebrated individuals including legendary rugby fly-half Jack Kyle, poet Dennis O’Driscoll and Hilary M Weston, philanthropist and widely believed to be Ireland’s richest woman.

Mr Friel said he was shocked to hear he was receiving the award.

“To receive the medal on Bloomsday from the university where Joyce himself studied makes it even more meaningful,” he said.

Mr Heaney was among several people who paid tribute to Mr Friel, a former teacher who turned 80 this year.

Mr Heaney said: “Brian Friel stands in the noble line that began with Abbey playwrights (Lady) Gregory, (John Millington) Synge and (Sean) O’Casey.

“And now he stands as the noble inheritor of that line.

“He’s part of world theatre as well as Irish theatre and as a man he’s a person of complete integrity and a great encouragement to actors and writers in this country.”

The UCD Ulysses Medal is the highest honour that the university can bestow and was inaugurated in 2005 as part of the university’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

It was introduced to highlight the creative brilliance of UCD alumnus James Joyce and is awarded to individuals whose work has made an outstanding global contribution.

Meanwhile, honorary degrees were presented to six people for outstanding contributions in their fields.

 

 

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