Remembering Eavan Boland

Sir, – We, the undersigned, together with 50 other poets, writers and academics are calling on Prof Linda Doyle, Provost of Trinity College Dublin, to consider a proposal to create a permanent exhibition in Trinity commemorating the life and work of one of the university’s most eminent alumni, the poet Eavan Boland.

It was Eavan’s life’s work to reinstate the role of woman into the cultural, political and historic life of this country after centuries of neglect and yet, although much has been done to achieve a better gender balance in many areas of our public life, there remains a deficit when it comes to the celebration of Irish women writers.

At the moment, there are three permanent exhibitions celebrating male Irish writers in Dublin – the Seamus Heaney exhibit at the Bank of Ireland Arts Centre, the James Joyce commemoration at MoLi, and the WB Yeats exhibit at the National Library of Ireland.

And yet nowhere is there space for a centre that would celebrate the achievements of this Irish woman writer who has achieved in her own life and work every bit as much as these rightly celebrated men.


Given that Eavan studied at Trinity, and later worked there, it seems particularly appropriate that the college might play a part in creating a space that would both pay tribute to her life and work, but also act as a focus for much needed scholarship into the work of Irish women writers as well as providing a role model for the many women currently studying at the university.

It might even be appropriate to consider renaming one of the university’s libraries after Eavan, or establishing there a permanent institute and archive for the study of Irish women writers and artists.

We are sure that there would be widespread support for such a move within the writing community both in Ireland and in the US, where Eavan spent much of her professional life.

Yours, etc,




Adjunct Professor of Climate

Justice, Trinity College,




novelist, and professor

of creative writing, UL,

COLM TOIBÍN, novelist