The Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive: A Virtual Trinity Library Project

Photograph of Brendan Kennelly in Trinity College Dublin

To mark what would have been Brendan Kennelly’s 86th birthday, Research Collections are delighted to announce the start of the Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive project. The Library of Trinity College acquired the Brendan Kennelly archive in 2008 and further tranches of material were subsequently accessioned. In 2019, we curated the online exhibition ‘Forever Begin’ celebrating the poet’s remarkable and significant contributions to Irish literary and cultural life over many decades.  The Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive is currently being catalogued as part of a Virtual Trinity Library project under the “Trinity’s Scholarly Contribution to the World” theme. The aim of the project is to make the records accessible to support the teaching, learning and research needs of staff, students and visiting scholars. 

Continue reading “The Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive: A Virtual Trinity Library Project”

Living in Lockdown: further addition of children’s personal records to Library’s research collections

In 2020, as a response to the Lockdown, Trinity College Library invited members of the University to send in personal records reflecting their experiences. The response to this Living in Lockdown project was wonderful and all the photographs, poetry, craftwork, and videos which were received will be used by future historians of the pandemic.

One of the most exciting responses were from children and, to mark the first year anniversary of the Lockdown, in March 2021 the Library published an online showcase of some of the work sent in by children associated with the Trinity Access Programme.

Another year later, in April 2022, another special event was organised to showcase the Lockdown experience of children.

Back row Orlaith O’ Briain, Arianna Griffith, Isobel Murray, Mollie Brien Niamh Arcan, Maci Clancy, Niamh Davies, Zoe Kavanagh, Daryna Vilanova, Bonny Quinney, Xiyin Chen, Jessica Mathews.
Third row from the front; Brillia Baby, Rachel Plummer, Aideen Brown, Alice Gibson, Ciara Duffy, Nicole O’ Keeffe, Lily Leonard, Millie Curley, Laura Bernaz Botnaru, Alexia Illie, Roisín Stapleton,Leah Brady
2nd row from the front:
Serena Shortt, Sofia Karpova, Sienna Sweeney, Reeva Carrol, Aoife Hogan, Evangeline Bridge, Olivia Ormonde, Olivia Canavan, Fern Melia, Sophie Murtagh Greaney, Hannah Hannon, Saorla Doyle, Síofra Massey, Hollie Harvey-Treeson, Hannah Brien, Tara O’ Toole
Front row (seated):
Shauna Lyons, Ruby Murphy, Molly O’Sullivan, Aoife Demel, Isabelle Meehan, Sophia Corp, Ariya Farrell, Lia Coibanu, Alice Hayde, Ellie Devlin, Arianna McKeon, Andrea Suguitan, Chloe Codyre, Rachel Murphy

Breda Dunleavy, a teacher in St Patrick’s Loreto Primary School, Bray initiated a social history programme with the children from Junior infants to sixth class (aged between 4 and 12 years of age). She and her colleagues encouraged their pupils to write and draw their memories of Lockdown. The work was then digitally copied and produced in high-quality booklets, one for each class. Realising what a triumph the project was, Ms Dunleavy, in agreement with the school’s Board of Management and the children’s parents, approached the Library to donate the material to the Living in Lockdown project, so that it would survive to become a permanent part of Ireland’s record of this global health crisis.

The Principal of the school, Niamh Morrogh says she is ‘very pleased with the prospect of the children’s work being acknowledged by the University’.  

Each page of each booklet contains a drawing and some text by an individual child. There are some themes which are consistent across all the classes – the closure of schools, the absence of family members, and the inability to play with friends.

Front cover of one of the donated books. (TCD MS 11627)

A notable characteristic of the children’s work is the difference between what is written and what is drawn, possibly because young children are adept at drawing long before they learn to write. Often, the written text seems flat, even unemotional – ‘I was bored’ ‘I miss my friends’. However, the drawings are without exception heartfelt, and eloquent of deep feelings. They include images of the virus menacing holiday makers at the beach; family members lying prone on the ground having been struck down by disease; a family home under Lockdown harshly coloured in with black pencil.

On 5 April Breda Dunleavy brought some of the young children into Trinity College for a formal handover of the material, complete with a hand-decorated presentation box made by the children. She believes ‘the books are a wonderful compilation of all that was both positive and negative for the children during the pandemic and I am delighted that they will form part of the “Living in Lockdown”  project collection in Trinity for another generation to read, exclaim over and reflect upon’.

Formal presentation of children’s records, in the Long Room of the Old Library. Breda Dunleavy (teacher) Jane Maxwell (Library) and pupils from St Patrick’s Loreto Primary School Bray

As a person interested in the preservation of the voices of children in the historical record, this gift is doubly wonderful. Quite simply, it makes the material the Library already has more likely to be used in the future. For any archival collection to be attractive to future historians, it should be as complete as possible, having many and varied access points for research questions. By adding a large tranche of materials to the Library’s growing ‘children’s art’ collection – both from the Trinity Access Project Bookmark programme, and the original Living in Lockdown children’s records – St Patrick’s Primary School social history records have ensured that the Library can offer future researchers an extremely attractive primary resource.

Dr Jane Maxwell

A brief history of women in Trinity College Dublin: Trinity Women Graduates Archive Project Blog

Photograph of women students of Trinity College Dublin, Hilary Term in front of The Old Library Building, 16 February 1922.

To mark International Women’s Day and Women’s History month we have another project blog from the Trinity Women Graduates collection (TCD MUN SOC WGA).   In Trinity College Dublin women were not always “equally admissible to men students.” This blog will chronicle the achievements and hard-fought victories of women in Trinity to be acknowledged as equal citizens, students, academics, and graduates.

Continue reading “A brief history of women in Trinity College Dublin: Trinity Women Graduates Archive Project Blog”

New book on the medics of Trinity College in the 1960s.

This most recent post has been written by an esteemed alumnus John G. Brock-Utne who has edited a book of reminicences by his fellow class-mates:

‘In 1962, 120 students started pre-med studies at Trinity College. Six years later, in 1968, 50 students qualified. As of December 2021, there are 41 of the original class left. I have been in contact with 34 of these and, of that number, 29 have contributed to a new book telling of the events in their professional lives during fifty years following their Trinity days.  Some have included stories of life in the medical school during the pre-medical year and pre-clinical years, as well as the clinical residency years spent at several of the hospitals of the ‘Federation’ – Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital, the Adelaide Hospital, the Meath Hospital, Dr. Steevens’ Hospital, the Royal City of Dublin Hospital, Mercer’s Hospital and the National Children’s Hospital (the first children’s hospital in Great Britain and Ireland) – along with placements at the Rotunda Hospital, Holles Street Maternity Hospital, and St. Patrick’s Psychiatric Hospital.  The clear impact of these experiences, and the impressions created by the many wonderful mentors during those years, pour from these pages, mostly within a humorous context; after all, laughter is a great anxiolytic, and was much needed in regular doses by most of us back then.  The final section of the book shows a collection of pictures from our time in Trinity, our internships and the reunions we have had in Dublin over the years. Also included are copies of our final exam papers, with the editor’s 1962 acceptance letter to TCD and an index of the many wonderful medical personalities, teachers and students mentioned in the text. Inexorably, Trinity modified, reshaped and tempered our characters and personalities and left its mark upon all of us forever.

The medical graduation year of 1968 is exceptional as we went to work in well over 25 different countries and have settled in all SIX of the habitable continents on this planet.

We all hope that you will enjoy our reminiscences from our times at Trinity and beyond. “

John G. Brock-Utne (ed.), The medics of Trinity College, Dublin in the 1960s. Anecdotes, reflections from Dublin and their professional lives (2021).

John G. Brock-Utne, MA, MB, BCh, (TCD) MD, PhD, (Bergen), FCMSA.

Professor of Anesthesia, Emeritus , Stanford University Medical Center

‘Babbling in the Vernacular’: The English Language in the Middle Ages

Among the riches being digitised as part of the Manuscripts for Medieval Studies project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York are three codices containing English, one eleventh-century, one thirteenth- or fourteenth-century and one fifteenth-century. Collectively, these three manuscripts give us an interesting snapshot of the status of English in the Middle Ages and the complex history of its emergence as a written language.

We now take reading and writing in English for granted. Netflix sends us emails telling us what we should next stream, we can buy a range of daily newspapers, or browse their websites, to find out what is going on in the world, and we can visit a library to borrow a novel to make the commute seem painless. Our primary and secondary educations habituate us to reading, writing and a life mediated through the medium of text.

All this rests, however, on a long process of technological, linguistic and ideological innovation that, for English at least, took perhaps 1,500 years. It requires a conviction that English ought to be written; an alphabet; a set of accepted mappings between the sounds of speech and these symbols of writing; upgrades to the vocabulary and syntax of spoken language so that abstract concepts can be conveyed clearly and without circumlocution; and a highly-developed set of conventions for the presentation of text on the page.

Continue reading “‘Babbling in the Vernacular’: The English Language in the Middle Ages”