Poetic justice! Kinsella’s well-earned honour
POET Thomas Kinsella was among those recognised at Trinity College Dublin’s honorary degree ceremony yesterday.
Galway historian Catherine Corless, known for her work in uncovering the Tuam babies scandal, and American physicist Michal Lipson also had their contribution to society honoured.
The ceremony marked former president Mary Robinson’s last as Trinity’s chancellor.
Mr Kinsella, one of Ireland’s major 20th-century poets, received the Doctor in Letters title a few months after he celebrated his 90th birthday in May.
Praising the poet’s acclaimed work, Trinity’s Professor Anna Chahoud said: ‘Poetry is a special mirror. On one side it reflects the recesses of the poet’s soul; on the other it returns the everin changing images of external reality.
‘Each glimpse, each snapshot, each emotion finds in the poet’s recollection the appropriate words and rhythm, and makes its way back into the world, where it lives on, transformed and immortalised.
‘The Dubliner, who honours us with his presence here today, did not shy from opening the door of his childhood home at 38 Phoenix Street in Inchicore, from taking us for Joycean tours of the centre city, from pointing at “The Sea of Disappointment” with the sharp foresight of a Nightwalker; but he has extended his gaze and tuned his lyre to embrace the expanses of national history.’
Ms Corless is known for uncovering the horrific mass burial of hundreds of children at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home Tuam, Co. Galway – first highlighted in our sister paper, The Irish Mail on Sunday. She was conferred with a Doctor in Laws and was described as ‘a woman of extraordinary courage and compassion, perseverance and commitment to justice’.
Professor Chahoud said: ‘To unspeakable collective shame, this fearless woman proved that the remains of 796 nameless children lay in the bleak darkness of a sewage tank. Innocent lives lost and abandoned in unmarked graves: can this be the meaning of the name “Bon Secours” with which the home had prided itself?
‘What reparation can be achieved, what reconciliation in the hearts of an entire nation? This is the question now.
‘We hear it from the same voice who cried for dignity and respect all along her quest for historical and moral truth. She stands before us today, deserving of our deepest admiration and highest recognition’.
Professor Chahoud said Ms Corless ‘asks us to stand up for the survivors of those crimes – many, too many in this afflicted country’. ‘For the dead she requests reverence – a sacred memorial for each and every child,’ she added.
Meanwhile, American physicist, Michal Lipson, who is known for her work on silicon photonics, was conferred with a Doctor in Science.
L-r: Front, Kinsella, Corless, Lipson. Back, Provost Patrick Prendergast, Mary Robinson