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Opening of the refurbished 1592 Restaurant

The 1592

14 February 2020

Good afternoon,

This year, 2020, is the 20th anniversary of this restaurant, and we’re also approaching, of course, the 430th anniversary of the foundation of the College in 1592, for which this restaurant is named.

The 20th anniversary is a great time to be celebrating this renovation, the first one since The 1592’s opening.

This restaurant opened near the end of the provostship of Tom Mitchell and all of us who in the college are very grateful it. There are now markedly more places to eat in Trinity than there were in 2000, Science Gallery and The Forum in TBS, for example - but The 1592 remains special for its quality, and its calm repose.

This is a place where you come to have a proper lengthy lunch. You can come with a colleague, or someone from outside the college whom you’re trying to impress. You can be guaranteed delicious food, excellent wines, all in this marvellous room – and of course wonderful service and great value too.

It’s very important that we have somewhere like this in College. Yes, we’re lucky, we’re in the centre of the city, surrounded by restaurants. But these restaurants aren’t ‘ours’. This is ours. Here, we are greeted warmly by Gertie and her team. We see colleagues at other table and we stop for a chat. If we’re lucky, we get to see Brian and commend him on the food. And we’re conscious of being in one of our university’s oldest and most beautiful buildings. And I know just how much alumni appreciate The 1592 and the chance to dine back in the college’s beautiful surroundings.

Our pleasure in all this is now greatly enhanced by this wonderful renovation. It’s really something to see the original 18th century features. And I’m delighted to see the portraits up – over by the door here, William Fearon, the biochemist; Con Leventhal, lecturer in French and friend of Joyce and Beckett; and Elizabeth Cunningham, the first Warden of Trinity Hall.

And here in front of me is a portrait of the famous and much remembered George Dawson, and over here the wonderful portrait of Anne Cruikshank.

And here the Purser brothers, painted by their sister Sarah.

And there is Francis Moran, Regius Professor of Laws there by the other door.

Thank you Catherine and Alan and the whole team for the care given to the selection of art in the room.

University Presidents like to build – there is no doubt about that! But in a historical campus such as ours, renovation and restauration is every bit as important, perhaps even more so. We are the guardians beautiful buildings. We owe it the Trinity community to use them well, to show them in their best light, to preserve and protect them.

Several recent renovation and restauration projects in Trinity have been particularly notable – I’m thinking of the much loved Museum Building, now returned to its mid 19th century glory. And I’m thinking of the restauration of the organ in the Exam Hall coinciding with a new decorative scheme for that wonderful room.

The restauration of the 1592 now joins this list of renovation projects. Every diner will join me in thanking the designer, Barry McCabe and the contractors, Murcom, on doing such a great job – restrained, subtle, respectful and joyful is how I would characterise this restauration. And our thanks to The 1592 Steering Committee and Colin Brogan the project manager. And to the Chief Operating Officer and Bursar for supporting the project.  

It has been an interesting week in Irish politics! Let it go down on the record that we celebrated long into the afternoon, here in The 1592, on Valentine’s Day 2020, as we awaited news of whether another Trinity graduate would become Taoiseach. Or whether she will be Tánaiste or Leader of the Opposition. We wish our political leaders well in their challenging work.

Whatever the outcome, I’m sure we’ll soon be inviting her to the wonderfully restored 1592.

Thank you.

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