Skulls stolen from Inishbofin being returned by TCD

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Skulls stolen from Inishbofin being returned by TCD
Old St Coleman's Church and Graveyard on Inishbofin. Photo: Marie Coyne

Humans remains that were taken from Inishbofin over a century ago without consent are being returned to the island by Trinity College.

The remains, 13 skulls, were stolen from the island back in 1890, ethnologist Alfred Cort Haddon and student Andrew Francis Dixon, who later became TCD’s Professor of Anatomy.

The two took the remains without the consent of the islanders, from St Colman’s monastery on Inishbofin for use in research.

The Board of Trinity College approved the repatriation of the human remains on Wednesday, following work by the Trinity Legacies Review Working Group.

Marie Coyne, who runs the Inishbofin Heritage Museum and was one of the chief campaigners for the return of the skulls, said that she was “over the moon” with the news.

Speaking with Galway Daily Marie said that she was “so happy TCD made the correct decision to return the Inishbofin skulls/human remains”.

She thanked everyone involved in the campaign, and said that they’re now looking forward to brining these remains home, and reinterring them at St. Coleman’s.

Trinity Provost Dr Linda Doyle said, “I am sorry for the upset that was caused by our retaining of these remains and I thank the Inishbofin community for their advocacy and engagement with us on this issue.”

“We will now work with the community to ensure that the remains are returned in a respectful manner and in accordance with the community’s wishes.”