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Statement by President Michael. D. Higgins on the death of Eavan Boland

Date: Mon 27th Apr, 2020 | 19:50

“With the passing of Eavan Boland Ireland has lost not only an internationally acclaimed poet, distinguished academic and author, but one of the most insightful inner sources of Irish life, not only in life as expressed but as sensed and experienced.

It was her particular gift to reveal the beauty in the ordinary.

Over the years, through her poetry, critical work and teaching she displayed an extraordinary ability to invoke Irish landscapes, myth and everyday experience. She became one of the pre-eminent voices in Irish literature, noted for the high standard she sought and achieved.

The revealing of a hidden Ireland, in terms of what was suffered, neglected, evaded, given insufficient credit, is a part of her achievement. 

If the long legacy of Irish poetry was a well from which she drew, its contemporary richness was recognised in her critical work. It owes much to her encouragement and generosity to fellow poets.

A passionate believer in poetry, in the editorial to her final issue as editor of Poetry Ireland Review she wrote:

“The life of the poet is always a summons to try to set down some truth that was once true and will go on being true. No poet should have to worry about the public respect, or the lack of it, in which this art is held.”

This was a principle by which she lived and wrote.

She will be missed by all who have read her work and by students who have had the privilege of learning from her in any one of the academic institutions to which she made such a distinguished contribution, including Trinity College, University College Dublin and Stanford University.

To all of us who had the privilege of knowing her, her passing is a source of great loss and sadness.

To her husband Kevin, their daughters and the members of her extended family, her colleagues in poetry and her wide circle of friends, Sabina and I send our deepest condolences.”