Glucksman Library UL.
Friday, 24 September 2021

A generous donation has been made to the University of Limerick (UL) Foundation to support the university’s first ever Poet in Residence position.

The position will be integral to creative writing initiatives at the University, led by award winning Irish author, Joseph O’Connor.  Professor O’Connor was appointed as Frank McCourt Chair in Creative Writing at the UL in 2014.  With internationally renowned novelists Donal Ryan, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, Rob Doyle and Kit de Waal, and distinguished colleagues in the School of English, Irish, and Communication, he teaches UL’s acclaimed Creative Writing MA.

Speaking about the new position, Professor O’Connor said: “I am deeply thankful to Paddy and Darlene Meskell for helping us to fulfil the long-time hope of bringing a poet to UL Creative Writing. Here we are in autumn, what Keats called ‘the season of mellow fruitfulness’. This generosity will bear fruit for many seasons to come and will place poetry at the heart of our Creative Writing programme. Limerick’s strong traditions of poetry and creativity are well known. This gift helps to move that proud history forward.”

The gift was made by Paddy Meskell, a graduate of UL’s founding class, and his wife Darlene.  Explaining the motivation for the donation, he said: “Darlene and I are absolutely delighted to support Joseph O’Connor and the Creative Writing program and to further raise the university’s profile as a champion of creativity and of Ireland’s vaunted literary tradition.

Speaking about the gift, UL President, Professor Kerstin Mey said: “We are very grateful to Paddy and Darlene for this wonderful resource, which will complement the Frank McCourt Chair in Creative Writing and build on the University’s exceptional tradition of the Arts, a relationship growing ever stronger as we approach UL’s fiftieth anniversary.” 

Sarah Hartnett, Director of Development at the UL Foundation, welcomed the contribution saying: “It is so encouraging to see our alumni donating to their Alma Mater, especially in the area of Arts, which can often be a challenge in terms of fundraising. Our sincere thanks to Paddy and Darlene for their generous support”.

The position is open for applications until Thursday 14th October 2021 and further information for applicants and application material is available online.

Some media coverage of this fantastic news is available on The Irish Times.