Edward John Gwynn
1927 – 1937 (c. 1868 -1941)

The third son of Reverend John Gwynn, later Regius Professor of Divinity, the future Provost was born in his father’s rectory in County Donegal.1 In 1889 he graduated in classics and philosophy, and was elected Fellow in 1893 (as were two of his younger brothers some years later). He soon turned to the study of Old Irish and most of his publications are in that field. He played a prominent part in the campaign which led to the reform of the constitution of the College in 1911 while at the same time proving an effective defender of Trinity’s independence.2 In 1926 he was appointed Senior Lecturer – the first Junior Fellow to fill one of the offices reserved by tradition for the seniors. A year later he succeeded John Henry Bernard as Provost.3 His eminence as a celtic scholar made him a good choice to head the College under the new regime and he was the first Provost to be appointed by an Irish government (which had inherited the British Crown’s prerogative in this matter).4 Until 1991 he was the only Provost to have received an honorary degree from the National University of Ireland, and he was also honoured by Durham, Glasgow, Wales and Oxford. In 1937 he retired because of ill health.

Painting Details

By Leo Whelan
Oil on canvas

  1. Anne Crookshank and David Webb, Paintings and Sculptures in Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, 1990), p. 64.
  2. J.V. Luce, Trinity College Dublin, The First 400 Years (Dublin, 1992), p. 140.
  3. Anne Crookshank and David Webb, Paintings and Sculptures in Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, 1990), p. 64.
  4. J.V. Luce, Trinity College Dublin, The First 400 Years (Dublin, 1992), p. 140.