Remembering Eavan Boland – Open Letter

This is a copy of an open letter addressed to Professor Linda Doyle, Provost of Trinity College Dublin on the subject of memorialising the poet Eavan Boland (1944-2020) from the RASCAL website.

The letter and it’s list of signatories (as of December 16th, 2021) are reproduced here. For updates please check the RASCAL website.

It appeared in The Irish Times December 11th, 2021.


Dear Professor Doyle,

We, the undersigned, are calling on Professor Linda Doyle, Provost of Trinity College Dublin, to consider a proposal to create a permanent exhibition in Trinity College Dublin 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 W.B. Yeats exhibit at the National Library of Ireland. And yet nowhere is there space for a centre that would celebrate the achievements of an Irish woman writer who has achieved in her own life and work every bit as much as these rightly celebrated men.

Given that Eavan Boland studied at Trinity College, it seems particularly appropriate that Trinity might play a part in creating a space that would both pay tribute to Eavan’s 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 your 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 sincerely,

Nessa O’Mahony, poet and editor, Eavan Boland Inside History

Christine Murray, poet, editor of Poethead, remote archive RASCAL

Dr Moynagh Sullivan, Dr Moynagh Sullivan (She/Her)

Associate Dean for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion & Interculturalism

Associate Professor, Department of English

Maynooth University

Bruce Snider, Poet & Associate Professor University of San Francisco

Keith Ekiss, Jones Lecturer Stanford University

David Roderick, Poet & Founder of Left Margin Lit

Nan Cohen, Napa Valley Writer’s Conference

Sara Michas-Martin, Jones Lecturer Stanford University

Victoria Kennefick, poet

Sasha Dugdale, poet

Shara Lessley, Poet / Essayist, former Wallace Stegner in Poetry at Stanford University

Pilar Villar-Argáiz 

Viviana Fiorentino, poet

Sasha Dugdale, poet 

Roisin Ní Neachtain, poet 

Mary O’Donnell, poet

Ellie Wymard, PhD, Professor Emerita rtd. Director, MFA in Creative Writing, Carlow University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Leeanne Quinn, poet

Attracta Fahy, poet

Billy Mills, poet

Dr Lucy Collins, Associate Professor of English, Director of Graduate Teaching UCD School of English, Drama and Film

Anne Tannam, poet

Polina Cosgrave, poet

Fiona Bolger, poet

Bernadette Gallagher, poet

Dr. Anne Mulhall, (She/Her)  Associate Professor, UCD School of English, Drama, Film & Creative Writing Co-director, UCD Centre for Gender, Feminisms & Sexualities (CGFS)

Director, MA Gender, Sexuality & Culture

Geraldine Mitchell, poet

Laura Loftus

Moyra Donaldson, poet

Dr Alex Pryce Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge

Dr Kathryn Laing, Department of English Language and Literature, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick

Kathy D’Arcy, poet

Maria McManus, poet

Eleanor Hooker, poet

Professor Gerardine Meaney, School of English, Drama and Film, UCD Dublin

Barbara Smith, poet

Jessie Lendennie, poet and publisher

Maureen Boyle, poet

Siobhan Campbell, poet and lecturer, The Open University, Editor, Eavan Boland, Inside History

Supported by: Professor Thomas Doherty, Catherine Ann Cullen, Tess Gallagher, Jean O’Brien, Felicia McCarthy, Emily Cullen

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