Poetry of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin celebrated to mark poet’s 80th birthday

Posted on: 17 November 2022

Literary experts and leading Irish poets will gather in Trinity College Dublin this weekend for an event to mark the 80th birthday of the celebrated poet Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin later this month.

Hosted by the School of English, the one-day symposium will feature discussion of the poet's literary and intellectual influences, her poetry’s fascinating relationship to and thinking upon readers and publics, and her longstanding interests in questions of language and translation.

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin is one of Ireland's foremost poets. Her collections of poetry include The Mother House (2020), The Boys of Bluehill (2015), The Sun-fish (2010) and The Magdalene Sermon (1989), and last year saw the publication of her Collected Poems (2021).

Her poetry has received numerous awards, including the International Griffin Poetry Prize the Irish Times/Aer Lingus Poetry Book Prize, and the Patrick Kavanagh Award. Notable too has been her work as a translator, including of two books by the Romanian poet Ileana Malancioiu, The Legend of the Walled-Up Wife (2012) and After the Raising of Lazarus (2005), as well as of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s The Water Horse (2001), co-translated with Medbh McGuckian.

From 2016–2019, she served as Ireland Professor of Poetry, and the lectures she gave in this role were published as Instead of a Shrine (2019). She is also a Professor Emerita of Trinity College Dublin, where she taught for many years in the School of English.

This week President Michael D. Higgins confered the gold Torc on the poet, marking her election to the position of Saoi of Aosdána.

Speakers at the event in Trinity will include: Catríona Clutterbuck, Michael Cronin, Gerard Griffin, Maria Johnston, Conor Linnie, Sinéad Mac Aodha, Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin, Deirdre Serjeantson and Peter Sirr.

The day will also feature Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin reading from her own work, and several leading contemporary poets – Moya Cannon, Gerald Dawe, Vincent Woods and Enda Wyley – talking about her poetry’s importance to them.

One of the organisers of the symposium, Tom Walker, School of English commented: “Eiléan’s contribution to the life of Trinity over many years has been so extensive – serving as a School Head and as a Faculty Dean. The depth and breath of her teaching and scholarship have also been remarkable. But following on from the publication last year of her Collected Poems, now seems like an appropriate moment for the College to celebrate and explore her wonderful body of creative work. She is quite simply one of the most extraordinary poets writing today.”   

Poet Enda Wyley added: “As a steadfast admirer of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s poetry I have always been more than happy to experience time stretch and collapse, boundaries artfully dissolve, in her poems of magnificence and great mystery.”


*Cover photo: picture of Eiléan Ni Chuilleanáin when she was awarded the prestigious position of the Ireland Professor of Poetry in 2016

Media Contact:

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