Trinity Announces Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive to mark Poet’s 85th Birthday

Brendan Kennelly Private Collection

The Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive was launched today in Trinity College Dublin at a celebratory online event marking the poet’s eighty-fifth birthday later this week [April 17th, 2021].

Hosted by the Provost of Trinity College Dublin, the event 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.

Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Patrick Prendergast said on the occasion of the launch:

“The Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive reflects all of the facets of Brendan Kennelly’s life, and his national and international role – as a poet and a professor, as a public figure and cultural commentator, and a mentor to many. It spans from his earliest poetry to his years in Trinity College. I am delighted to announce this unique collection will now be made available to students and scholars with the appointment of an archivist, made possible through philanthropic support.”  

Librarian and College Archivist, Helen Shenton said:

“The Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive will become a broad launching-off point for much scholarly research and a broader appreciation of the poet’s work, for generations to come. The first step to enabling much wider access is the production of a detailed archival descriptive list – a combination of inventory and a road map of possibilities – from which all other ambitions may develop. This will now be achieved with the appointment of an archivist in the Library of Trinity College Dublin to oversee the cataloguing of the poet’s papers.”

Brendan Kennelly Private Collection
Brendan Kennelly Private Collection

Brendan Kennelly’s 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.

It is a unique collection that will be of interest not only to scholars of Brendan Kennelly’s work, but to those interested in the work of his many literary, artistic, and political contacts and correspondents. 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 research opportunities presented by such a collection are extraordinarily varied. There are literary studies, biographical studies, cultural studies, sociological studies and studies on the role and impact of university teaching on a nation.

The Library of Trinity College acquired the Kennelly archive some years ago. In 2019, it hosted the exhibition ‘Forever Begin’  celebrating the poet’s remarkable contributions to Irish literary and cultural life over many decades.  Following today’s announcement, and the appointment of an archivist, this rich literary archive will be made available to researchers and students.  

Professor Philip Coleman of the School of English concluded:

“The Brendan Kennelly Literary Archives honours the work of a major Irish poet and public figure and his many contributions to a College where he studied, worked and lived for several decades. Scholars and researchers will be able to study the multi-faceted achievements of Brendan Kennelly in these archives but they will also throw new light on all of those with whom he had contact throughout his career – fellow poets, academics, musicians, politicians and many others. For a poet who prized the idea of the voice in literature above all else, the Brendan Kennelly Literary Archives will allow his work to speak in unexpected ways to lovers of Irish poetry and literature for generations to come.” 

The Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive is in association with the Library of Trinity College Dublin, the Brendan Kennelly Literary Trust and the Kennelly Family.

The archive forms part of the overall Virtual Trinity Library programme, an ambitious digitisation initiative of the Library of Trinity College Dublin’s most valued collections.

For examples of the Brendan Kennelly Literary Archive see the Library’s online exhibition ‘Forever Begin’.

#TCDLibrarySurvey – have your say

A Library survey was launched College-wide today seeking feedback from all staff and students on their experience of using the Library.

The Library is at the heart of the University, providing services, resources, training and space. Its important role within the College community has been further highlighted over the past year during Covid-19. This is an opportunity for you to have your say in relation to your Library and how it can best support you currently, and in its future development.

The survey is being administered on behalf of the Library by an independent research agency called Alterline. The first survey, which ran in December 2018, received 2,540 responses across six core metrics. It is a biennial survey and in response to feedback received in 2018, the Library has embedded a series of additional services and resources across the Library.

Your views will help us understand your needs as readers and will provide valuable insights to enable the development of responsive services for the future.

As a thank you for taking part, at the end of the survey all participants will  have the option to be entered into a prize draw to win AirPods, a Fitbit tracker, Trinity Gift Shop online gift cards, One4all vouchers and T-card top-ups.

Click on the survey link to get started, or copy and paste the link into your browser: https://www.tcd.ie/library/survey

If you have any queries about this survey, please contact us at library@tcd.ie

The Library marks the anniversary of the first lockdown with a children’s online exhibition

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.

Living in Lockdown began as a collaboration with the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute.

View the online exhibition of children’s drawings and responses  in the online exhibition.

Ends

Acknowledgements:

Curator: Dr Jane Maxwell, Manuscripts Curator, Manuscripts & Archives Research Collection.

Technical curator: Greg Sheaf, Web Services Librarian.

Dr Becky Long, the Primary and Junior Cycle Coordinator at Trinity Access Programme, is the organiser of the TAP Archive Project.

Living in Lockdown began as a collaboration with the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute.

The Living in Lockdown team members are: Jane Maxwell, Aisling Lockhart, Greg Sheaf, Brendan Power, Ellen O’Flaherty, Jenny Doyle, Arlene Healy, Charles Montague, Siobhán Dunne, Estelle Gittins.

The project is ongoing and may be contacted at mscripts@tcd.ie.

Virtual Trinity Library − A Major Digitisation Initiative of the Library of Trinity College’s Collections is Launched

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.

Continue reading “Virtual Trinity Library − A Major Digitisation Initiative of the Library of Trinity College’s Collections is Launched”

Paying tribute to our friend and colleague Clíona Ní Shúilleabháin

Clíona Ní Shúilleabháin worked as an Assistant Librarian in the Library of Trinity College Dublin from  1987 until her untimely death in February 2021. She was a Trinity graduate with a degree in French and Modern Irish. Starting work as a subject cataloguer in Celtic and other languages, over the course of her career, Clíona moved within the Library from Collection Management to Digital Systems and Services and to Reader Services. In Digital Systems and Services, she worked as Electronic Resources Librarian. As Subject Librarian in Reader Services, she supported the staff and students in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, the School of Religion and the School of Creative Arts and was longstanding member of the Library’s User Education Group.

Continue reading “Paying tribute to our friend and colleague Clíona Ní Shúilleabháin”

The Library unveils Beckett archive of play Rockaby building on its world leading Beckett collections

The Library of Trinity College Dublin has acquired the Beckett archive of the play Rockaby building on its world leading Beckett collections. The Beckett material is being digitised and will be accessible online.

Marking the acquisition of  the 1981 play Rockaby, one of the iconic plays of the Beckett canon, an online exhibition  curated by Dr Jane Maxwell has been launched today. The entire archive will be made available later this year as part of the Library’s Digital Collections. It includes 30 items of correspondence from Beckett; copies of the original play and its French translation; productions notes; photographs; and a printed commemoration booklet of photographs from the premiere among other items.

Continue reading “The Library unveils Beckett archive of play Rockaby building on its world leading Beckett collections”

The Library of Trinity College Dublin invites you to be inspired by its collections in a new online exhibition Director’s Choice Uncut

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.

Continue reading “The Library of Trinity College Dublin invites you to be inspired by its collections in a new online exhibition Director’s Choice Uncut”

Trinity to commission four new sculptures – all representing women scholars for display in the Long Room

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.

Continue reading “Trinity to commission four new sculptures – all representing women scholars for display in the Long Room”

Library Response to COVID Level 5

The Provost and Secretary to the College wrote to us yesterday, about the universities being categorised as essential (as identified on the Department of the Taoiseach’s website see Education).

The libraries are essential to the research infrastructures during COVID Level 5, both for access to physical material for researchers and students, and as a safe, calm environment with good connectivity, especially for students.

Continue reading “Library Response to COVID Level 5”

Berkeley, Lecky, Ussher and Hamilton libraries reopen for essential study: Resumption of activities next steps

Pomodoro Sphere

Today we are opening our doors to the Berkeley, Lecky, Ussher and Hamilton libraries as part of the phased resumption of Library activities. We know how much the libraries mean to all of us at Trinity, and just how much disruption to research, teaching and learning has been caused by COVID-19.

Our reopening is focused on the essential needs of academic staff, postgraduate students and undergraduate students who may be sitting reassessments. There is also an expanded range of new services, including ‘Click and Collect’, ‘Scan on Demand’ and a postal delivery service, supporting those working remotely − further details here.

Access for external/visiting readers is not possible at this time but please keep an eye on the Library homepage for updates. The situation may change as we approach the start of teaching term on the 28th September 2020.

The safety of our staff and students is foremost in this process, ensuring a safe working and studying environment. The safety protocols that will be in place for the physical reopening will be as follows:

  • Reading rooms in Berkeley, Lecky, Ussher and Hamilton libraries will open for individual study and self-service borrowing
  • There will be no counter services and no group study activities
  • Social distancing will be in place across all reading rooms (chairs at least 2m apart)
  • There will be a ‘keep right’ policy and readers will be asked not to congregate anywhere in the building
  • The Library will make hand gel and wipes available at key locations throughout the buildings
  • Access to the Berkeley/Lecky/Ussher complex is via the Berkeley Library only (Lecky entrance in the Arts Block is closed)
  • The opening hours in the Berkeley, Lecky, Ussher and Hamilton will be 09:30 – 17:00 (Mon-Fri)
  • The John Stearne Medical Library will reopen on 10th August with limited hours; in the interim, materials held there can be requested via the new services (‘Click & Collect’ etc).

There will be signage to assist you in observing these protocols which are in keeping with HSE guidelines. For those intending to use the Library, I would encourage you to plan your study and research in advance.

The reopening of the physical Library is being phased in keeping with Trinity’s overall health and safety guidelines and the government roadmap. The most recent phase on 29th June, involved the reopening of Kinsella Hall for the essential research needs of postgraduates and early stage researchers. Based on their feedback, we know it was hugely beneficial for those who availed of it. One postgrad wrote ‘I have got more done in the past two hours than I did in the past two months’. We hope that today’s further reopening will help others who need on-site Library study space and services.

Access to all Library reading rooms, including Manuscripts & Archives and Early Printed Books (as well as the Book of Kells exhibition), will resume on August 10th. Please continue to consult the Library’s Academic Continuity Guide on the Library website for regular updates.

I look forward to welcoming you all back in person as our resumption plans progress.

Helen Shenton, Librarian & College Archivist