Comment & Analysis
Oct 25, 2021

The Book of Kells Exhibition Proposal is a Slap in the Face to Sport Clubs

The temporary exhibition could hinder sporting activity on College Park, if it goes ahead.

By The Editorial Board

Provost Linda Doyle’s campaign for Trinity’s top job centred around the redistribution of power and giving everyone in the community a voice. Are Trinity’s sportspeople excluded from this community?

If College goes ahead with building a temporary two-storey pavilion on College Park to house the Book of Kells exhibition, then sportspeople can take it as a clear message: Trinity cares about you until the Book of Kells gets in the way.

And the Book of Kells, in this case, is literally getting in the way. Doyle says sports clubs will be able to carry on without “too much interruption”, but it seems unlikely that College’s cricketers will be allowed to hit sixes while tourists, shuffling into a swanky new exhibition space, are in the line of fire.


The Provost invited representatives from sports clubs to House One to discuss the proposal, but in the email, reported on by this newspaper, she made it clear that the exhibition needs to happen if the Old Library refurbishment – now a flagship project for Trinity – is to go ahead.

Was this an olive branch to sports clubs?

No, it was simply Trinity making an unpopular decision that will negatively impact students – and then trying to retrospectively consult with them, in order to avoid backlash.

Students have to push back against this. So far, to its credit, the Graduate Students’ Union – which has often drawn the ire of this Editorial Board – is taking a welcome lead in fighting against the exhibition.

But where is Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU)? Will Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC) fight this after its chair co-signed the aforementioned email to affected clubs? This exhibition will have tangible effects on student wellbeing, but so far student representatives are seemingly lying low. This is precisely the kind of infringement that they ought to be vocally lambasting.

While Trinity is eager to promote its writers, scientists and entrepreneurs, sport in College is rarely given the same attention. However, sporting activity has a rich history in College and is central to a hefty percentage of students’ lives.

This exhibition and the lack of consultation around it is a slap in the face of every sportsperson in College. It’s time for student representatives to step up.