Aosdána (from "aos dána", Irish "people of the arts") is an association of people in Ireland who have achieved distinction in the arts. It was created in 1981 on the initiative of a group of writers and with support from the Arts Council of Ireland. Membership, which is by invitation from current members, is limited to 210 individuals; before 2005 it was limited to 200.
Some members of Aosdána receive a stipend, called the Cnuas, from the Arts Council of Ireland. This stipend is intended to allow recipients to work full time at their art. The value of the Cnuas in 2004 was 12,179.20.
The title of Saoi (lit. "wise one") is the highest honour that members of Aosdána can bestow upon a fellow member. No more than five living members can be so honoured at one time.