Poet and Trinity Professor Emeritus Brendan Kennelly dies aged 85

Provost Linda Doyle and the President led tributes to the Kerry writer this evening

Poet and former Trinity Professor of Modern Literature Brendan Kennelly has died this evening, aged 85.

Kennelly died after a long illness at a nursing home in Listowel, Co. Kerry.

The widely-acclaimed writer taught at Trinity until 2005. He also completed his undergraduate degree and PhD at the university, and served as editor of Icarus.

Following his retirement he was named as a professor emeritus by College and, earlier this year, had a literary archive dedicated to him at Trinity Library. Speakers at the event marking the dedication included Bono, President Michael D. Higgins, and poet Paula Meehan.

Kennelly returned to live in his native Kerry in 2016.

Reacting to this evening’s news, Provost Linda Doyle said: “Brendan was known to generations of Trinity students as a great teacher and as a warm and encouraging presence on campus.”

“His talent for and love of poetry came through in every conversation as did his good humour” she continued.

“We have all missed him on campus in recent years as illness often kept him in his beloved Kerry. He is a loss to his much loved family, Trinity and the country.”

President Higgins, a literary contemporary of Kennelly’s, added: “As a poet, Brendan Kennelly had forged a special place in the affections of the Irish people.”

“He brought so much resonance, insight, and the revelation of the joy of intimacy to the performance of his poems and to gatherings in so many parts of Ireland.”

The President noted that Kennelly “did so with a special charm, wit, energy and passion”.

Higgins added that he himself had benefited from “the gift of friendship” with the late poet “for many years”.

Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy is the Editor-in-chief of the 68th edition of Trinity News. He is a Computer & Electronic Engineering graduate, and a former Assistant Editor, Online Editor, and Deputy Online Editor.