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'Finding a voice, where they found a vision': Eavan Boland's powerful voice for women is remembered

The Irish poet passed away aged 75.

Eavan Boland also became a Professor at Stanford University.
Eavan Boland also became a Professor at Stanford University.
Image: Dept. of Children

FURTHER TRIBUTES HAVE been shared following the death of poet Eavan Boland.

Yesterday, President Michael D Higgins described her as “one of the most insightful inner sources of Irish life” and today former president Mary Robinson has been speaking about the death of her “great friend”. 

Robinson said the pair first met in Trinity College Dublin and the pair were “an unlikely couple”.

“I was the dreamy lawyer and she was the very practical, budding poet,” Robinson told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

The former president said that Boland was always way ahead of the curve, even using a computer long before it was considered the norm.

Robinson said the pair both shared a passion about equality for women and that she quoted her friend after being elected as the first female president.

When I was preparing for my inauguration I was thinking about what I’d say in my speech. I remember talking again about something that Eavan and I had talked a lot about, women being outside history and needing to be written back into history. And she actually gave me a line from a poem she was writing, she hadn’t even finished it. The poem was Singers and she said ‘this is going to be the last line, I’m not quite sure, I’m working out what’s coming before’. And the last line was and I had it at my speech : ‘Finding a voice, where they found a vision’.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last night tweeted that Boland as “one of our best and boldest poets” who “documented the lives of women in history & culture”.

Several of Boland’s poems have been referenced since the sad news of her death yesterday. Among them Quarantine, Night Feed and The Emigrant Irish, the latter of which Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States Daniel Mulhall recited last night.

As well as from the world of politics, people from Irish cultural institutions have also been sharing their tributes to Boland. 

Poetry Ireland said it represents a “staggering loss to the Irish poetry community” and Maureen Kennelly of the Arts Council said “the outpouring of grief from the poetic community is absolutely enormous”.

“There’s a huge sense of shock and loss at the loss of one our titans. She was such a terrific poet and such a terrific person,” Kennelly said.

Boland is survived by her husband Kevin and two daughters, with her daughter Eavan Casey sharing a tribute on Twitter this morning. 

“My wonderful mum. Just utterly heartbroken. I am immensely proud of all that she achieved, the legacy she leaves behind and that her powerful voice will continue to be an inspiration to so many. RIP mum, it’s been an utter privilege being your daughter x,” she wrote.

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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