R.I.P Tim and Mairéad Robinson

I heard today from an Irish friend that Tim Robinson, the artist turned writer and cartographer who was best known for his two volume Stones of Aran and his books and maps of Connemara, has died as a result of CORVID-19. He passed away at St. Pancras hospital on 3 April 2020 at the age of 85, two weeks after the death of his wife and collaborator Mairéad Robinson.

Sadly, I never did manage to meet Tim Robinson, whose work I greatly admired, although I had expectations of doing so on one of my visits to NUI, Galway. He became ill and moved back to London before that became possible. His work has always seemed to me an inspired example of a particular tendency within the broader ‘deep mapping’ mentality, sharing with Cliff McLucas and others a profound understanding of the importance of the relationship between language and place. I heard much of him and Mairéad through my friend Nessa Cronan at NUI, Galway, which houses his archive.

Although, with many others, I mourn his passing, I also know that we are very fortunate that he had the foresight and generosity to give the university his very extensive archive. This is, in itself, a celebration of so much and I remember being deeply moved by the event organised by Nessa that marked its opening, something of which is also evoked by Deirdre O’Mahony’s film here.