French President Emmanuel Macron visited Trinity College Dublin on August 26, 2021, where he viewed the Book of Kells and met students.
President Macron talked to students about Post-COVID Europe, Climate Change, and Digital Equality for all citizens, along with other topics.
Trinity Provost Dr Linda Doyle welcomed the French President, saying:
“I am delighted to welcome President Macron to Trinity for a visit that gives us a chance to celebrate our abundant connections with his country. France is the most popular destination for Trinity’s Erasmus students, and we currently have exchange agreements with 42 French institutions.
“Trinity is a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) along with three French universities – Sorbonne University, Université Paris-Saclay, and the University of Strasbourg. Between 2016 and 2020, Trinity collaborated with 266 French institutions and co-authored more than 1,100 co-publications.
“And, of course, Trinity is home to the oldest chair of French in the world, and its alumni include the renowned playwright Samuel Beckett, who lived in France for most of his life.
“It is wonderful that our students have had the opportunity to discuss with President Macron some of the most important challenges we all face.”
Discussions with Students
President Macron’s discussions with students, compered by Vice-President for Global Relations Juliette Hussey, took place in Trinity’s beautiful Public Theatre, which was designed by George III’s architect Sir William Chambers, and completed in 1786.
Also present were senior academics across a range of disciplines with a special interest in France, including Dr Edward Arnold (French), Prof Padraig Carmody (Geography), Dr Donatella Camedda (Education), Dr Jacqueline Hayden (Political Science), and James Hanrahan (French).
The group also included Prof Catherine Comiskey, Director of new CHARM-EU Master’s in Global Challenges for Sustainability, a unique international learning programme jointly awarded by the five CHARM-EU partner universities: Trinity, University of Montpellier, University of Barcelona, Utrecht University, and Eötvös Loránd University. President Macron’s famous speech at the Sorbonne in 2017 about the future of Europe was the inspiration for an acceleration of alliances between European universities, of which CHARM-EU is one.
Visit to Trinity’s Long Room
President Macron paid a visit to Trinity’s Long Room in the historic Old Library, under the guidance of Librarian Helen Shenton. He first viewed the Book of Kells, a 9th-century gospel manuscript written and illustrated by Columban monks that has become famous throughout the world for its vibrant and intricate decoration.
The President also viewed the Library’s collection of 347 Samuel Beckett letters, the largest collection of any research library in the world.
Librarian Helen Shenton outlined Beckett’s generosity to Trinity College Library in scholarship and philanthropy. As well as literary works, Beckett donated royalties from a full year of productions of Krapp’s Last Tape to Trinity’s first fundraising campaigns in 1959 for the construction of the Berkeley Library.