It is with deep sadness that we have learned of the death of our friend and one of lreland’s major poets, Brendan Kennelly.
Brendan Kennelly was a poet, a professor, a public figure, cultural commentator, and a mentor to many. Throughout his life on the Trinity campus he was also a great friend to the Library of Trinity College Dublin.
Trinity College Dublin honoured his immense contribution to Irish life with a celebratory online event on his 85th birthday in April of this year. The Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive was also launched on the occasion of the event. With the appointment of an archivist in the Library in the Spring to oversee the cataloguing of the poet’s papers, this unique collection will be made available to students and scholars.
The celebratory event which was organised at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, during our last lockdown, featured a read message from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins along with selected poems recited by celebrated singer, Bono, poet, Paula Meehan and Trinity student Lily O’Byrne. We were especially honoured that Brendan himself attended online from Kerry where he spent his final years. The event also prompted members of the public to contribute further items to this constantly expanding archive.
The Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive reflects all of the facets of Brendan Kennelly’s life. His work, with roots in early twentieth-century rural traditions, developed to give a voice to the marginalised urban dweller, as well as difficult historical characters such as Judas and Oliver Cromwell. The poet’s own private life has often involved struggle and triumph, both of which he has shared freely and publicly, giving encouragement to many in their own personal struggles. Professor Kennelly’s teaching influenced generations of scholars, teachers, parents, and citizens and he has always been unfailingly encouraging to younger poets, from Paula Meehan to Leanne O’Sullivan. The collection contains literary drafts, lectures, research materials, reviews, workshop material, works by others, theatrical ephemera, personal material, photographs, memorabilia, and a great quantity of correspondence
The Library’s online exhibition ‘Forever Begin’ draws from the archive and provides wonderful insight into the poet’s life and immense contribution to Irish literary and cultural life over many decades.
His Serene Highness (HSH) Prince Albert II of Monaco visited Trinity College Dublin today as part of his three-day visit to Ireland. An unveiling ceremony took place during his visit, marking a major benefaction Prince Albert II has made to the conservation of the iconic Old Library at Trinity College.
Welcoming Prince Albert II to Trinity, Provost & President, Professor Linda Doyle said:
“We are delighted to welcome Prince Albert II to Trinity College Dublin. His visit builds on Trinity’s existing links with Monaco through the Princess Grace Irish Library and our Centre for War Studies. Prince Albert joins a tradition of philanthropy that dates from the establishment of the University in 1592. On behalf of the Trinity community, I would like to thank Prince Albert for his support of this landmark restoration project which will ensure the preservation of the Old Library, as a global cultural icon for Trinity, the city of Dublin and Ireland.”
Government announced funding of €25 million for the restoration of one of Ireland’s foremost national heritage sites, the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin yesterday. The Old Library is home to the magnificent Long Room and precious manuscripts, including the 9th century Book of Kells.
An TaoiseachMicheál Martin said: “I am delighted to announce €25 million in Government funding for the Old Library, one of Ireland’s foremost heritage sites and a jewel in the nation’s crown. This landmark restoration project will use leading technology and preventive conservation, providing optimum environmental conditions for the 18th century building and its precious collections. With the aid of this Government funding we are safeguarding our heritage for generations to come.”
A series of Videos about the Fagel Family and their Collections
The Library of Trinity College Dublin and the KB National Library of the Netherlands are collaborating on a video project about the Fagel family and their collections. The private library of the Fagels has been in Dublin since 1802, but traces of their working life and family history can still be found across The Hague. In a series of eight videos we visit the places, people, histories and collections that mattered to them most. After all, we should get to know the Fagels a little bit better before we can begin to understand the full significance of their private library. The first two videos have been released on the Dutch national holiday ‘King’s Day’ (27 April). Thereafter a new video highlighting a specific aspect of the history of the Fagels will be released every other week.
The Fagel collection has long been recognised as one of the jewels in the Library of Trinity College. It was built up over five generations of the Fagel family, many of whom held high public office in the Netherlands. Over the course of a century and a half they assembled 30,000 books and pamphlets, as well as an impressive collection of 10,000 maps. It is without doubt one of the most important still extant private libraries from the eighteenth century. The holdings in history, politics and law are particularly substantial, but virtually every other area of human endeavour is included such as philosophy, theology, geography and travels, natural history, the visual arts and much more.
The private library of the Fagels came to Dublin in 1802. Hendrik Fagel de Jonge had lost his position and income as a greffier and had few other options than to sell his collections. The governors of the Erasmus Smith Schools in Dublin put in a successful bid for the entire collection of books on behalf of Trinity College Dublin. In 2020 the Library of Trinity College and the KB National Library of the Netherlands started the project Unlocking the Fagel Collection, which aims to provide digital access to the collection. In the next two years, all books and pamphlets will be catalogued and made available through the online catalogue of the library of Trinity College, and the Short-Title Catalogue, Netherlands (STCN). It forms part of the Virtual Trinity Library, a digitisation initiative of the Library of Trinity College Dublin’s most valued collections.
Connections in The Hague
The private library of the Fagels were transferred to Dublin over two centuries ago, but their archives, correspondence and a massive collection of state documents remained in the Netherlands. The prominent role of the Fagels in public life means that there are traces of the family all across The Hague. The house that François Fagel built in the early eighteenth century, is still standing next to the Noordeinde Palace, the administrative offices at the ‘Binnenhof’ are still at the political centre of the Netherlands, and the Fagel archives and correspondence cover over 60 metres in the National Archives today. Furthermore, there is a remarkable connecting between the end of the Fagel collection in The Hague in 1798 and the foundation of the National Library in the same year. One could say the KB came forth from the same revolution that drove the Fagels out of office.
The story of the Fagels is, in other words, goes beyond the Fagels’ private library at Trinity College. These videos aim to present an integrated story of the family, the collections and the collaborative project of the Library of Trinity College and the KB. These eight videos which were made at significant and recognisable places in The Hague will be followed by a number of videos about the Fagel collection held in the Library of Trinity College Dublin later this summer.
On the anniversary of the first lockdown, the Library of Trinity College Dublin has launched an online exhibition showcasing children’s drawings, poems, diaries and fictional accounts in response to lockdown, 2020.
“One of this Library’s initiatives, in response to the first lockdown in March 2020, was a rapid-response archives collecting project called Living in Lockdown. The Library wanted to capture a snapshot of peoples’ lived experience, so that the voices of private individuals would form part of the future historical record of the Covid-19 pandemic. Out of the hundreds of submissions some of the most moving (and entertaining) were those submitted by school children, working with the Trinity Access Programme. We would like to mark the anniversary with some of the children’s work which has been curated for this online exhibition,” explained the Librarian and College Archivist of Trinity College Dublin, Helen Shenton.
The Library’s Dr Jane Maxwell who led the research said: “It is notoriously difficult to ensure that children’s own voices are preserved through time in the historical record. It can be expected that these children’s records will continue to add vigour and colour to future research focusing on the experience of the pandemic in Ireland.”
Individual children’s works were submitted from the earliest days of the project.
The Trinity Access Programme, in association with the Library and with Children’s Books Ireland, initiated a primary-schools competition. Children were invited to submit any form of record − it could be written or drawn, it could be a diary, a fictional account, a poem − with the chance of a prize. Submissions would be collected by the Library to be added to our primary-source research collections.
Most of the work submitted was produced in June 2020, when it appeared as though lockdown conditions were coming to an end. The schoolchildren’s works were submitted in the form of photographs, and parents have been encouraged to send in the originals.
There are a few distinctive themes to be observed among the children’s works, the key ones being the closure of schools, the absence of family members, and the inability to play with friends. The children wrote in their entries:
“Things haven’t been great and everything was sad and dreadful since [we] had to stay home from school….Sometimes I feel like that there was no escape from this. I also never seen my friends and it was a bit lonely sometimes.’”
“… the worst thing about it is we could not hug our mum or kiss her as she works as a frontliner in a … hospital … [and] the house it was like a prison cell.”
“I was very sad and confused as I am only 11. I though[t] pandemics only happened in movies. The most saddest part was not being able to see my Dad and my grandparents for 3 months.”
“I ring my nana every day. I also get worried in case my Mam, brothers or any one in in my family gets the virus but espec my brother … because he has more of a chance of dieing because he has diabeties.”
“Loneliness is another thing. I always thought of myself as a loner. I’m shy and avoid talking to new people. But I need a social life!! … At this point I’m desperate to see people.”
A distinction can be made between the children who have internalised adult concerns and language and those who speak in a recognisably youthful register. Examples from the children’s entries are:
“We remembered how to live and how to laugh. Our planet started to breath more and in the evening we could see very well the stars.”
“I believe this pandemic is a punishment from God because people are not doing his will anymore.”
“We prefer the world we have found in this horrible lockdown than the one we have created without thinking about what we were doing.”
“I would like to thank God for … giving so good ideas, intelligence to the people in the government …”
“Living though [Covid ] is like living through the world’s most boring apocalypse movie ever.”
“I will never say I am bored again. I was only truly bored when Coronovirus said ‘hi’.”
“Working from home is better because you have constant access to the fridge.”
“Things I’ve learnt … going to Penn[e]y’s every week is NON-ESSENTIAL. (I know, I know I was a bit surprised myself).”
Winners of the competition were awarded personal book prizes, selected by Childrens’ Books Ireland, or a workshop for their class with an artist or a children’s author. The winners of the workshop prizes were the assumption Senior Girls’ School in Walkinstown, and the Francis St CBS in the Liberties.
Virtual Trinity Library, an ambitious digitisation initiative of the Library of Trinity College Dublin’s most valued collections was launched this week. It will conserve, catalogue, curate, digitise and research these unique collections of national importance, making them accessible to a global audience, from schoolchildren to scholars.
Using the most advanced technology the Library’s new Digital Collections platform will showcase the breadth of these collections, ranging from precious manuscripts to scientific papers.
The Library of Trinity College Dublin is joining other world libraries that are collectively enabling access to patrimony and cultural heritage.
Many congratulations to the 46th President of the USA! Mr Biden has visited us here in the Library twice, once as Vice President in 2016 and again in 2017 as a private citizen. We are quietly confident in his making it a third time, if he joins us in Ireland again.
Highlights of the collections of the Library of Trinity College Dublin and their fascinating history are showcased in a new online exhibition Director’s Choice Uncut. The Library invites you to connect and be inspired by a range of diverse objects and their stories in this magnificent new online exhibition selected by the Librarian & College Archivist, Helen Shenton. Building on the success of the Director’s Choice: The Library of Trinity College Dublin published this year by Scala Arts & Heritage Publishers, this new expanded digital platform features even more of the Library’s treasures.
The scientist Rosalind Franklin, the folklorist, dramatist and theatre-founder Augusta Gregory, the mathematician Ada Lovelace and the writer and pioneering women’s rights advocate Mary Wollstonecraft have been chosen from a list of more than 500 suggestions.
There are currently 40 marble busts in the beautiful, historic space – all men. As the College recognises that its public spaces must better represent our diversity, it has decided as a first step to introduce a series of sculptures of women.
This is the first time in over a century that the University has commissioned new sculptures for this prestigious location. The first for this space were commissioned in the 1740s, soon after the Library was finished, and the collection was gradually extended in the following years. No new sculptures have been commissioned since the 1880s and no additional sculptures have been installed since the 1920s.
Following Dublin City Council’s recent decision to grant planning permission to Trinity’s conservation and redevelopment plans for the Old Library, staff and students are invited to an online townhall meeting at 4pm on Thursday October 29th 2020 to update you on plans and next steps.
The Chair of the Programme, Bursar & Director of Strategic Innovation, Professor Veronica Campbell and Librarian & College Archivist and Programme Sponsor Helen Shenton, will outline the Old Library Redevelopment Project, which will draw on the best 21st-century design and technology to safeguard the Old Library building and conserve its precious collections for future generations. It includes urgent structural and environmental upgrades; the redevelopment of facilities in line with the best library and museum experiences around the world; and a new Research Collections Study Centre. Internationally renowned architects, Heneghan Peng, who successfully conserved and revitalised the National Gallery of Ireland, are leading the design team in this transformative development.
The Old Library holds a special place for all of us in the College community. A Q&A session will follow – if you want to submit a question in advance please email email@example.com. Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Tom Molloy will be chairing proceedings.