The official launch of UCD Special Collections’ newest exhibition in Link 2, James Joyce Library, on Friday, November 10 followed the Kavanagh Reconsidered seminar, which heard an introduction to the collections from Special Collections Librarian, Evelyn Flanagan, followed by contributions from the exhibition’s curator Dr Lucy Collins of the UCD School of English, Drama Film and Creative Writing. Also speaking was her school colleague, Dr Catherine Kilcoyne, Dr Tom Walker of TCD and poet and Irish Times editor, Gerard Smyth.
Themes covered by the various papers and contributions included the importance of place in the work of Kavanagh, Kavanagh and Yeats and Kavanagh’s aesthetic. There were many lively contributions from the audience at the end, with many concerning the tension between the beauty of Kavanagh’s poetry and his eccentric personality.
Guests at the Official Opening were welcomed by Dr John Howard, University Librarian, who spoke of the acquisition of the collection, the purchase of which was organised by former professor of Anglo-Irish Literature, Augustine (Gus) Martin, whose daughter Niamh was present.
Dr Howard introduced Professor Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, who opened the exhibition. Professor Ní Chuilleanáin, current holder of the Ireland Chair of Poetry, spoke of the nature of archives and mentioned her own personal connection to the Kavanagh Archive through her friendship with Kavanagh’s wife, Katherine Moloney, and her membership of the committee of the Kavanagh Trust.
The current professor of Anglo-Irish literature, Margaret Kelleher, spoke of the value of archives from the teaching and research point of view, giving instances of how a ‘hands-on’ approach to archival use had benefited a group of Lucy Collins’s postgraduate students.
The exhibition will run until June 2017.