The honour was conferred “for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.”
At the Nobel Banquet, the Dublin born poet spoke of the development of Irish literature. “Thirty years ago a number of Irish writers met together in societies and began a remorseless criticism of the literature of their country. It was their dream that by freeing it from provincialism they might win for it European recognition. I owe much to those men, still more to those who joined our movement a few years later, and when I return to Ireland these men and women, now growing old like myself, will see in this great honour a fulfilment of that dream.