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John Kearney

1799 - 1806 (c.1742-1813)

John KearneyThe son of a surgeon-barber, John Kearney was born in Dublin in 1742.1 He was elected Scholar in 1760 and Fellow in 1764.  He held the Chair of Oratory from 1781 until his appointment as Provost in July 1799 within a month of Provost Murray's death. The 1798 rebellion had won little sympathy among the senior members of College but the Union was much more controversial. 2 A majority of the Fellows together with the new Provost were opposed to it. Nonetheless Kearney was still appointed Provost despite his political stance. He played an important role in recognizing and encouraging the talent of Thomas Moore who had been an undergraduate during the turbulent 1790s.3 He presided over the College for six and a half years before resigning to take up appointment as Bishop of Ossory in January 1806.

Painting Details

By William Cuming
Oil on canvas

  1. Anne Crookshank and David Webb, Paintings and Sculptures in Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, 1990), p. 77.
  2. J.V. Luce, Trinity College Dublin, The First 400 Years (Dublin, 1992), p. 68.
  3. J.V. Luce, Trinity College Dublin, The First 400 Years (Dublin, 1992), p. 77.
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Last updated 6 September 2011 by Email: Provost.