Thomas Kinsella - Early Life and Work

Early Life and Work

Kinsella was born in Inchicore, Dublin. He spent most of his childhood in the Kilmainham/Inchicore area of Dublin. He was educated at the Model School, Inchicore, where classes were taught through the medium of the Irish language, and at the O'Connell Schools in North Richmond Street, Dublin. His father and grandfather both worked in Guinness's Brewery. He entered University College Dublin in 1946, initially to study science. After a few terms in college, he took a post in the Irish civil service and continued his university studies at night, having switched to humanities and arts.

Kinsella's first poems were published in the University College Dublin magazine National Student. His first pamphlet, The Starlit Eye (1952), was published by Liam Miller's Dolmen Press, as was Poems (1956), his first book-length publication. These were followed by Another September (1958), Moralities (1960), Downstream (1962), Wormwood (1966), and the long poem Nightwalker (1967).

Marked as it was by the influence of W. H. Auden and dealing with a primarily urban landscape and with questions of romantic love, Kinsella's early work marked him as distinct from the mainstream of Irish poetry in the 1950s and 1960s, which tended to be dominated by the example of Patrick Kavanagh.

He received the Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin in May 2007.

As a professor: The Irish Tradition Programme at Trinity College.

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