I was at a special screening of the new Muppet movie recently and before the film started, the general manager of Disney Ireland gave a little speech in which she mentioned that part of the movie was set in Dublin. Immediately, images came to my mind of Kermit and Fozzy Bear running amok in Trinity. As it turned out, I was wrong – it was a fictitious ‘National Bank of Ireland’ that appeared in the film. But given recent events, it reminded me of how Trinity is not just a university but a symbol of Ireland generally and Dublin in particular. Although I have spent my entire academic career in DCU and love its down-to-earthness, there is something special about Trinity. Not only is it our best university – no disrespect to my own alma mater, UCD, which is now a fine institution – but it really is part of the culture of the country. Take Trinity out of the centre of Dublin city and you could be anywhere.
So if you’re going to mess with Trinity, either its name or otherwise, you’d better have a damned good reason. Is appealing to an Asian audience enough? I don’t think so and messing around with the Trinity ‘brand’ almost seems like an act of cultural vandalism to me.