The poet and playwright is the second woman to be awarded the prestigious post, set up in 1998 after the late Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Meehan, who has worked with prisoners and people from disadvantaged backgrounds, is regarded as giving a voice to people and places that are often marginalised and forgotten.
President Michael D Higgins made the announcement at a ceremony in Trinity College.
Trinity Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast said the announcement wasparticularly poignant in the wake of Heaney’s death. “It forms part of his legacy and the role will go on to foster and deepen people’s understanding of poetry,” he said.
Meehan follows John Montague, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Paul Durcan, Michael Longley, and Harry Clifton in the post.
Those who appointed Meehan said they hope she will open up poetry to more readers.
Meehan will work over three years as a professor in Trinity, Queen’s UniversityBelfast, and University College Dublin.