Docs, Clocks and a Fox: New book tells Trinity’s tale in 50 objects

Posted on: 04 July 2024

In 2016, Sandra Redmond, a student on the Foundation Course class, made a presentation to the staff of the Trinity Access Programme (TAP), which supports students from underrepresented areas.  

She had carefully customised a pair of burgundy Dr Marten boots, inscribing them with lines from Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W.B. Yeats.

Dark red leather boots

An image of those beautiful boots, coincidentally the favourite footwear of generations of Trinity students, is now on a list of 50 of the objects that tell Trinity College Dublin’s story.

All can be seen in Trinity in 50, The Story of a University a new book about the university that was launched this week.

The eclectic range of objects includes two striking portraits created by participants in a Befriending Programme to illustrate Trinity’s designation, in 2021, as a University of Sanctuary.

Two brightly coloured portraits on easels

From the works of Samuel Beckett to the busts that line the Old Library, this book depicts Trinity’s many treasures, material and abstract, the meanings they hold and the stories they tell about the university’s history. 

Also chosen was an image of Sam the famous Trinity fox, a small female fox who came into her own on campus during the Covid lockdown, was cared for by staff, and who gave birth to five cubs.

Sam the fox, looking casually at the camera in the Provost garden

And on another page, the bronze sphere that has been a meeting point on campus outside the Library since it was installed in the 1980s - Arnaldo Pomodoro’s Sfera con Sfera (sphere within sphere), standing for the University’s art collections that spans 2,500 works in 500 locations.

On yet another, Stevie the robot, a helpful AI assistant designed at Trinity to improve the quality of life for older adults in care settings.

Also making the cut was the Blue Clock that visitors see over the Front Gate of Trinity which tells its own important story.

The blue clock that overlooks Trinity's Front Square

In 1880, Dublin Mean Time was set by the Dunsink Observatory, which had opened almost a century earlier as the observatory attached to Trinity. The Blue Clock was one of four public clocks in Dublin which became automatically synchronised to Dunsink. Dublin Mean Time (set at 25 minutes and 21 seconds behind GMT) lasted until 1916.

The ‘objects’ were all suggested by the College community and alumni.

Trinity’s work as a University of Sanctuary will be supported by a proportion of the proceeds from the book which will go to the Trinity Sanctuary Fund. This Fund supports students and scholars who have fled wars and persecution. Trinity supports students and scholars through scholarships as well as community initiatives such as English-language classes for refugees.

See Trinity’s online shop for more information.

Media Contact:

Catherine O’Mahony | Media Relations |