English Lake Poets new exhibition open in the Old Library

Posted on: 04 April 2019

A new exhibition featuring the English Lake Poets – William Wordsworth (1770–1850), Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834), and Robert Southey (1774–1843) – and their connections with Ireland has opened in the Long Room of the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin and is on view throughout April and May.

Ireland and the English Lake Poets explores connections between and across Romantic Ireland and England through literary treasures from the Library of Trinity College Dublin, including hand-coloured political cartoons, unique manuscripts by Wordsworth’s contemporaries and Irish friends, first and early editions of poetry and prose, and illustrations from rare nineteenth-century travel books.

Funeral of the Constitution, by Isaac Cruikshank[?], 1829.

Amongst the manuscripts on display is a precious letter by William Rowan Hamilton, addressed to his sister Eliza and dated 16 September 1827. It records Hamilton’s first encounter with Wordsworth in the Lake District. Hamilton and Wordsworth so much enjoyed each other’s company that they were unwilling to part. They strolled back and forth between Rydal (where Wordsworth lived) and Ambleside (where Hamilton was staying), a distance of some two miles until late at night. Hamilton told his sister: ‘he and I were taking a midnight walk together for a long long time, without any companion, except the silent stars, and our own burning thoughts & words.’


Hamilton’s letter to his sister Eliza, describing his first encounter with Wordsworth.

The idea for this exhibition arose from Dr Brandon C. Yen’s project on Wordsworth’s Ireland, funded by the Irish Research Council. It was curated by Dr Yen (School of English, University College Cork) and Dr Amy Prendergast (School of English, Trinity) in collaboration with Stephanie Breen (Early Printed Books & Special Collections, the Library of Trinity College Dublin) and Estelle Gittins (Manuscripts & Archives, the Library of Trinity College Dublin).

The online version of the exhibition can be accessed here.



Media Contact:

Fiona Tyrrell, Media Relations Officer | tyrrellf@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 3551