Po­etic jus­tice! Kinsella’s well-earned hon­our

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Lisa O’Don­nell

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.

‘Ex­tra­or­di­nary courage’

L-r: Front, Kinsella, Cor­less, Lip­son. Back, Provost Pa­trick Pren­der­gast, Mary Robinson

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