The latest instalment in our “Educated opinion” series: a graduate from Trinity College Dublin describes the modern outlook of a 400-year-old institution.
The first thing you should know about Trinity College Dublin, affectionately known as TCD, is that you’re unlikely to find a better combination of city location and campus atmosphere anywhere else. Trinity is located right in the centre of Dublin, and often it feels as if the city was built around the campus. Grafton Street is within five minutes walk of the college; the street is Dublin’s main shopping thoroughfare and houses the majority of pubs and clubs that make up the city’s famous nightlife. Trinity has always been popular with UK students: last year mainland UK students represented over 4 per cent of freshers at TCD.
As soon as you walk through Front Arch – the main entrance of Trinity – you notice the quietness inside the campus walls with an expanse of old buildings, cobblestones and greenery stood before you. There are also likely to be tourists lurking about, taking snaps of the historic buildings and making their way towards the Book of Kells, a beautifully decorated copy of the four gospels. However, Front Square is a noisy and excited chaos of societies and clubs during Fresher’s Week, all trying to gain new recruits by giving away popcorn, crêpes, lollipops and vouchers.
Trinity was established in 1592 and is a sister college to Oxford and Cambridge. It has 85,000 alumni – almost 9,000 from the UK alone – and notable members of the alumni club include Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Samuel Beckett and, more recently, The Independent’s Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk!
Trinity’s city centre location means campus accommodation is limited. However, the majority of freshers will get a place in Trinity Hall, a purpose-built complex three miles from the campus. Once housed, the university’s 15,000 students study within a pointedly academic atmosphere, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great fun. It’s not a stuffy or geeky atmosphere; in fact Trinity balances learning and fun like no other.
In terms of nightlife, it’s hard to beat Dublin. Most nights tend to start in The Pav, a cosy campus bar, which comes into its own on sunny afternoons as hundreds of students sit out to watch the cricket and enjoy the sunshine. One of Trinity’s most unique events is the Trinity Ball, which is held every May just before exams start. It’s Europe’s largest private party, although that doesn’t make tickets any easier to get!
My time at TCD really lived up to my expectations. It’s hard for me to imagine a university that could have offered a better balance of campus atmosphere, city centre location, nightlife and a well-recognised degree. University is all about the entire experience, and Trinity certainly has plenty to offer both in and out of the lecture hall.
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