From left to right: Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost, TCD Prof Mary Clayton, Trustee, UCD; Prof Nicholas Grene, Trustee, TCD; Ms Pat Moylan, Trustee, Arts Council / An Chomhairle Éalaíon; Prof Ciaran Carson, Trustee, QUB; Sir Donnell Deeny, Trustee; President Michael D. Higgins; Mr Adrian Hall, Trustee; Ireland Professor of Poetry, Ms Paula Meehan; Mr Michael Longley, Trustee; Prof. Brian Walker, Trustee; Mr Bob Collins, Chairman, Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Every three years a poet of honour and distinction is chosen to represent the Chair as Ireland's Professor of Poetry. During their tenure the holder spends a year attached to each of the three universities and resides for a period of approximately eight weeks at each. While in residence, the poet gives informal workshops or readings, spends time working with students and performing outreach work and makes one formal presentation a year, usually in the form of a lecture.
Current Ireland Professor of Poetry
The current Ireland Professor of Poetry is Paula Meehan. Meehan's appointment was announced by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins on Friday. 13 September 2013.
Commenting on the announcement the Chairman of the Trust Mr. Bob Collins said: 'The establishment of the Ireland Chair of Poetry was a powerful act of imagination. How better to mark Seamus Heaney’s Nobel Prize and the achievements of poets from across this island? The coming together of the two Arts Councils and the three Universities, Trinity, UCD and Queen’s was an inspired development. Paula Meehan takes a well-deserved place in the ranks of the distinguished holders of this position. The relevance of poetry, the prophetic voice of the poet, the potential of the arts in general are celebrated in this appointment. These same values were reflected in a very particular way in the outpouring of affection and the manifest sense of loss at the death two weeks ago of Seamus Heaney. He enriched the lives of the people and shaped our communities in ways that we do not yet fully appreciate.'
Previous Ireland Professors of Poetry
The following poets have previously served as the Ireland Professor of Poetry:
- John Montague,
- Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill,
- Paul Durcan,
- Michael Longley
- Harry Clifton.
The Ireland Chair of Poetry is governed by an independent Board of Trustees representing the five sponsoring bodies and a distinguished poet. Since the Board was set up in 1998, it has evolved and changed ensuring fairness and equality. The current Trustees are: Mr. Bob Collins (Chairman), Ms. Pat Moylan, Prof. Mary Clayton, Prof. Nicholas Grene, Prof. Ciaran Carson, Sir Donnell Deeny, Prof. Brian Walker, Mr. Michael Longley and Mr. Adrian Hall.