Brendan Kennelly, one of the country’s most popular poets, has died aged 85

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Brendan Kennelly, one of the country’s most popular poets and former English professor at Trinity College Dublin, has died aged 85.

Family members confirmed his death on Sunday evening at Aras Mhuire Nursing Home, Listowel, in his hometown of Co Kerry.

Mr. Kennelly was born in Ballylongford, County Kerry, in 1936, the son of Tim Kennelly, publican and garage owner, and his wife, Bridie Ahern, nurse.

He graduated from Trinity College, wrote his doctoral thesis there, and became a professor of modern literature at the university.

Brendan Kennelly has published over 30 collections of poetry, which captured the many nuances and moods of his native county as well as his adopted home in Dublin. Photography: Eric Luke

Mr Kennelly has published over 30 collections of poetry, which captured the many nuances and moods of his home county as well as his adopted home in Dublin.

He was also a popular host and made numerous appearances on radio and television programs, such as The Late Late Show.

President Michael D Higgins, a friend of Mr Kennelly’s, said his poetry had “a special place in the affection of the Irish people”.

“As one of those who have been very fortunate to enjoy the gift of friendship with Brendan Kennelly for many years, it is with great sadness that I learned of his passing,” he said. he declares.

“As a poet, Brendan Kennelly forged a special place in the affection of the Irish people. He has brought so much resonance, insight and revelation of the joy of intimacy to the interpretation of his poems and to the gatherings in so many parts of Ireland. He did it with a special charm, spirit, energy and passion.

He added that Kennelly’s poetry is “steeped in the details and texture of life, its contradictions and moments of celebration, including the ironic experiences of football and politics.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the country had lost a “great teacher, poet, storyteller; a man of great intelligence and spirit ”.

He added: “The Irish loved to hear his voice and read his poetry. “

Good teacher

Trinity College Dublin Provost Professor Linda Doyle said Mr Kennelly was known to generations of Trinity students as an excellent teacher and a warm and supportive presence on campus.

“His talent and love for poetry shone in every conversation, as did his good humor. He has been missed by all of us on campus in recent years, as illness often held him back in his beloved Kerry. He is a loss to his beloved family, Trinity and the country, ”she said.

Tony Guerin, Kennelly’s close friend and playwright, has said he will be remembered in Kerry and elsewhere as “the people’s poet”.

“My relationship with Brendan was one of friendship. There are more learned people who will assess his contribution and discuss these questions. But he spoke the language of the people. We loved his writing. His eloquence was masterful, whether it was the written word or an interview with Gay Byrne, ”he said.

Mr. Kennelly is survived by his brothers, Alan, Paddy and Kevin, his sisters, Mary Kenny and Nancy McAuliffe, and his three grandchildren.

Her daughter Doodle Kennelly passed away earlier this year.

Arrangements for the family’s funeral are expected to be announced shortly.

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