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DCU confers honorary doctorate on renowned Irish poet, Paula Meehan
DCU confers honorary doctorate on renowned Irish poet, Paula Meehan

DCU confers honorary doctorate on renowned Irish poet, Paula Meehan

Dublin City University paid tribute to one of Ireland’s foremost poets, Paula Meehan, by conferring her with an honorary doctorate today, Thursday 21st March.

The doctorate was awarded in recognition of Paula’s extensive literary contribution, including a number of poetry collections.

The Dublin-born poet’s works reflect the local lore and powerful oral traditions of the inner city community where she grew up.

Delivering the citation Dr Mary Shine Thompson, DCU’s Governing Authority,  said:

“From the first of her eight poetry collections, Return and No Blame (1984), to her most recent, Geomantic (2016), her verse is elegantly wrought, often magically incantatory, and always accessible, but, like Seamus Heaney’s, charged with a challenging undercurrent. In it Paula Meehan gives voice to her people and her place.”

On acceptance of her honorary doctorate, Paula Meehan thanked her “beloved partner Theo Dorgan, who himself is a poet and understands the sometimes very strange places poetry takes us to. He has always made the time and space to help me live in those strange places.

I thank my family and friends. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes open-minded and compassionate villagers to allow that child follow the poet’s paths. I remind myself always every day that some countries are locking up their poets.”

To celebrate receiving the honorary doctorate at today’s Spring graduation ceremony, Paula wrote and recited and poem for the occasion, remembering this time 50 years ago when she moved from inner city Dublin to live in Finglas.

“Today you have given me the great good fortune of this honour and I will be forever grateful. To celebrate this moment, I’ve written a poem for the day that’s in it called ‘At the Spring Equinox’ - when day and night are the same length and summer is coming in. I wanted to celebrate the edge of the city that I discovered when we moved out here from the inner city...remembering those friends, that landscape and the rivers that ran through it.”

In closing the Spring graduation ceremony, Professor Brian MacCraith, DCU President, welcomed Paula back to DCU and acknowledged her exceptional artistic work:

“Paula, I want to especially welcome you here today, and we want to thank you for graciously accepting this award from Dublin City University. The Doctor of Philosophy is the highest award that this University can bestow. It is not only a recognition of outstanding achievements in a particular field, but also a public statement of the principles and values that this University cherishes.

The decision to bestow this honour is based upon your body of exceptional artistic work, allied with, and inextricable from, your compassion, clarity, and courage.

Through your outstanding work, you are a role model for everyone who values culture, creativity and social justice, and in particular I know are an inspirational figure for our graduates here today.”