The life and work of poet Derek Mahon was celebrated last November in Trinity College Dublin with a conference organised by Trinity’s School of English in association with Poetry Ireland and hosted in the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute. The event took place ahead of what would have been the poet’s 80th birthday.
To mark the occasion an online exhibition entitled Derek Mahon: Piecing Together the Poet was also organised jointly by the Library of Trinity College Dublin and the Stewart Rose Library of Emory University (home to the principal Mahon archive). The exhibition features readings by Mahon himself and Stephen Rea along with specially commissioned interviews with friends and fellow poets. It also features atmospheric photographs by John Minihan.
The exhibition charts the formative influences of Mahon’s life and work including: his ambivalent relationship with Belfast where he grew up; Trinity, where he found his voice as a poet; contemporary poets, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Michael Longley and Brendan Kennelly, all friends and close associates of Mahon; his great reflective poems, such as the famous ‘A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford’, as well as his beautifully lyrical shorter pieces, including the consolatory ‘Everything Is Going To Be All Right’ both read by Stephen Rea.
Professor Nicholas Grene, a member of the conference organising committee and Emeritus Professor of English at Trinity, commented:
“Derek Mahon was a star in a generation of wonderful Trinity poets. He was our very first Writer Fellow in Trinity in 1986 and was awarded an honorary degree by Trinity in 1995. His international distinction as a poet was recognised in a number of prizes including the David Cohen lifetime achievement award in 2007.”
The Library of Trinity College Dublin and the KB National Library of the Netherlands have launched a video series about the Dutch 18th-century Fagel collection. The Fagel collection which is considered one of the jewels of the Trinity Library’s collections was built up over five generations of the Fagel family.
The Library of Trinity College and the KB National Library of the Netherlands are joint collaborators in the ‘Unlocking the Fagel Collection‘, project 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. These videos aim to present an integrated story of the family (many of whom held high public office in the Netherlands), the collections and the overall collaborative library project.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.