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Saoi (Irish pronunciation: [s%CB%A0i%CB%90], plural Saoithe; literally "wise one"; historically the title of the head of a bardic school) is the highest honour bestowed by Aosdána, a state-supported association of Irish creative artists. The title is awarded for life and held by at most seven people at a time. The limit was increased from five in 2007–08. At the conferring ceremony, a torc (a twist/spiral of gold, worn around the neck) is presented to the Saoi, typically by the President of Ireland.

A committee of ten members of Aosdána referred to as the Toscaireacht monitor and manage the nominating process to confirm adherence to the established rules. Fifteen members of the Aosdána must nominate a candidate of merit and distinction. An election by secret ballot then occurs with all members. Approval is determined by at least 50% + 1 of the membership voting approval.

Only one nomination per vacancy may be processed through an election at a time. If multiple candidate submissions are received, they go through the election process one at a time until a successful approval is declared. Subsequent nominees are held until there is a future vacancy.


Living saoithe are italicized.

  • 1985: Samuel Beckett, Literature
  • 1986: Seán Ó Faoláin, Literature
  • 1987: Patrick Collins, Visual Arts
  • 1993: Mary Lavin, Literature
  • 1993: Louis le Brocquy, Visual Arts
  • 1993: Tony O'Malley, Visual Arts
  • 1996: Benedict Kiely, Literature
  • 1996: Francis Stuart, Literature
  • 1998: Seamus Heaney, Literature
  • 2003: Anthony Cronin, Literature
  • 2006: Brian Friel, Literature
  • 2007: Patrick Scott, Visual Arts
  • 2008: Camille Souter, Visual Arts
  • 2008: Seóirse Bodley, Music
  • 2014: William Trevor, Literature
  • 2015: Edna O'Brien, Literature
  • 2015: Imogen Stuart, Visual Arts
  • 2016: George Morrison, Visual Arts


Acadamh neamhfhoirmiúil de scríbhneoirí, lucht léinn, agus ealaíontóirí Éireannacha is ea Aosdána. Bhunaigh an Chomhairle Ealaíon an grúpa sa bhliain 1981. Faigheann an t-acadamh agus a bhaill liúntais ó rialtas na hÉireann. Tá sé mar aidhm ag Aosdána aitheantas a thabhairt dá bhaill, chomh maith leis na healaíona a chur chun cinn in Éirinn.


Tá maireachtáil saoithe á gcló iodálach.

  • 1985: Samuel Beckett, Litríocht
  • 1986: Seán Ó Faoláin, Litríocht
  • 1987: Patrick Collins, Na hAmharcealaíona
  • 1993: Mary Lavin, Litríocht
  • 1993: Louis le Brocquy, Na hAmharcealaíona
  • 1993: Tony O'Malley, Na hAmharcealaíona
  • 1996: Benedict Kiely, Litríocht
  • 1996: Francis Stuart, Litríocht
  • 1998: Seamus Heaney, Litríocht
  • 2003: Anthony Cronin, Litríocht
  • 2006: Brian Friel, Litríocht
  • 2007: Patrick Scott, Na hAmharcealaíona
  • 2008: Camille Souter, Na hAmharcealaíona
  • 2008: Seóirse Bodley, Ceol
  • 2014: William Trevor, Litríocht
  • 2015: Edna O'Brien, Litríocht
  • 2015: Imogen Stuart, Na hAmharcealaíona
  • 2016: George Morrison, Na hAmharcealaíona