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Trinity won’t rename library after Paul Mescal despite growing momentum



A campaign to name the library at Trinity College Dublin after Irish actor Paul Mescal is reportedly gaining momentum, but the Irish university has said it won’t consider the names of any living persons.

Trinity is currently seeking public submissions on a new name for the former George Berkeley library, which was ‘denamed’ earlier this year following a review triggered by a student petition.

Berkeley, a former fellow at Trinity College Dublin and Dean of Derry in the Church of Ireland, acquired at least four slaves on his Rhode Island estate in 1730-31.

Announcing the call for submissions on November 17, Librarian and College Archivist Helen Shenton said: “We have an opportunity to show imagination in the renaming of this iconic library.

“We encourage suggestions not just confined to people’s names but all sorts of options, including places, dates, concepts, and more.” 

While Trinity says it will consider a wide variety of options, submissions “must have a direct connection to Trinity and respect the centrality of the library to Trinity’s research and the importance of its many collections.”

Trinity further says on its submission page: “Anonymous or incomplete submissions will not be considered by the TLRWG [Trinity Legacies Review Working Group], nor will any names of living persons.”

The call for submissions is open until January 31, 2024. Trinity says it plans to rename the library this academic year.

The Irish Mirror reports that a campaign to rename the library after Irish actor Paul Mescal is gaining momentum, as the Co Kildare native has helped “put Ireland on the map internationally.”

Mescal, 27, is a graduate of The Lir Academy, the drama school attached to Trinity College Dublin.

Mescal returned to his Trinity stomping grounds for the smash-hit series “Normal People,” which sees his character Connell Waldron studying English at the top-ranked Irish institution

Where it all began! 🏛🎬

Lir graduate @mescal_paul goes undercover on the internet with @GQMagazine to talk about what it was like to study and then film on Trinity’s campus. Watch in full here: #PaulMescal #InspiringGenerations

— Trinity College Dublin (@tcddublin) November 1, 2020

Mescal won both an IFTA and a BAFTA, as well as an Emmy nomination, for his turn in “Normal People.”

After the success of “Normal People,” Mescal received his first-ever Oscar nomination earlier this year for his role in “Aftersun.” The former GAA player has also emerged as an unexpected fashion icon.

Meanwhile, Trinity’s Student’s Union said in August that it would refer to the library as the X Library until a new name was agreed upon. 

Trinity said in April that the continued use of Berkeley’s name on the library is inconsistent with the University’s core values of human dignity, freedom, inclusivity, and equality. 

The university added that the denaming of the library does not deny Berkeley’s importance as a writer, philosopher, and towering intellectual figure and said his philosophical work would still be taught at the university.

Trinity Provost Dr. Linda Doyle said in a statement last April: “George Berkeley’s enormous contribution to philosophical thought is not in question.

“However, it is also clear that he was both an owner of enslaved people and a theorist of slavery and racial discrimination, which is in clear conflict with Trinity’s core values.”

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