You will go to the Ball!

It’s that time of year again where Trinity students dust off their black tie attire and prepare to splurge on some of the best society nights of the year – ball season. Personally, I’ve decided to attend two society balls, the psychology ball (I’m a psychology student) and the Food and Drink ball, which promises a sumptuous meal of at LEAST 5 courses and free flowing wine, not to mention a lot of like-minded people who enjoy good food and some banter.

But these are just two of the balls on offer – almost every society has a night dedicated to dressing up, eating, dancing and just generally feeling a bit fancier than we do on an average day as a student. Every ball also has something different to offer, our psych one is themed every year, food and drink promises some great nibbles and BESS ball promises a lot of the bubbly and an incredible venue. So whatever you do, wherever you’re from, try to attend at least one society ball. The prices range from around €30 to as expensive as €60-70 but you’ll get your money’s worth out of each and every one. Most balls include a sit down dinner and a nightclub, but the venue, entertainment and drinks differ with each so make sure you find the one that’s best suited to what you want out of the night.

Don’t forget the ball to end all balls though. After we’ve wined and dined and spilt things on €300 dresses and suits, the king of Trinity nights out occurs at the beginning of April. Trinity Ball, though expensive is one of the best value nights you will ever experience. For a decent enough price of around €80 students and staff have the opportunity to see some of Britain and Ireland’s best up and coming musicians in one of the world’s largest private concerts. Also there’s just something pretty cool about wandering about Trinity at night in a cocktail dress and a hot dog in one hand.

-Sally

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Of Curries and Tikkas

Where to find the best Indian food in Dublin

My love for food is unprecedented; this love finds justification in the light that it feeds much more than your appetite- it feeds your soul. Before you conclude I have an unnatural relationship with food, consider the image of moist chocolate cake oozing out silky raspberry sauce, or that of crispy, crunchy potato fries waiting to be bit into.

Coming back to the topic at hand- my first blog has to lend itself to resolving the commonly-shared goal of finding authentic, speech-altering cuisine. So I shall start with what I know best. Here, I list my favourite spots to get hold of traditional Indian food.

Kajjal, Malahide

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My reasons for listing this first are simple- restaurants go beyond food, and this one ticks all the right boxes! Not only does Kajjal promise a mouth-watering range of choices for a multiple-course meal, it also promises splendid service amidst great ambience. It even offers live music on Sunday afternoons, an experience well worth the buck. Speaking of which, it isn’t the cheapest of places, at least to those (like me) who are used to getting Balti-house takeaways for our day-to-day business. However, I consider it to be the ideal destination for those occasions when you have more than food to celebrate. Ideal for a date or a business lunch, it amalgamates traditional recipes and tasteful settings well. Be sure to not miss out on the well-selected wines and cocktails offered.

Madina Desi Curry, Moore Street

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Madina is my go-to place for a quick, delicious Indian lunch while crawling along usual college days. Situated in the city centre, it spells out convenience. And it’s easy-on-the-pocket menu makes it even more appealing. However, it’s USP lies in its simple, honest flavours- it is as close to home-cooked food as it gets for me- and that is still not the best part. It comes in ample proportions which ensure I leave the place feeling like a proud, stuffed chicken. The consistently well made Chicken Biryani, Lamb kebabs, and Mango Lassi guarantee I maintain my loyalty to the restaurant. Further, it is perfect for those Indian take-away nights with your friends.

Spice of India, South William Street

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Again, intelligently located in the City Centre, Spice of India serves to be a convenient place to go for genuine Indian food. With the early bird deal lasting till 8 in the night, it pulls many hungry stomachs looking for filling meals. The fiery Vindaloo and the well-flavoured Biryani never fail to please me- and yes, the spice can be customsied according to your taste. However, the experience is made special with the friendly, attentive staff who make sure you get what you want to have. While the décor may not be its strong point, the quality of food surely is which makes it rank amongst the top-dogs.

Delhi O’Deli, Moore Street

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Indian cuisine is known for the staggering variety and brilliance of its vegetarian dishes. While I am a girl who loves her meat, this place reflects the ideology that you can make a great meal out of vegetarian ingredients. Delhi O’Deli is the first vegetarian Indian restaurant in Dublin, and it offers decent choices for very cheap prices. The 5 Euro all-you-can-eat-buffet is perhaps its crowd-puller; however, the absolutely gigantic dosa they serve is my star-attraction. They offer a range of chaats and chutneys- the scene takes me back to street-food binging memories of New Delhi.

Ananda, Dundrum Town Centre

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Last, and most definitely not the least, Ananda is yet another incredibly decorated restaurants which reflects the notion that restaurants go beyond food. With a variety of delicate to bold dishes available to be customized according to the your affinity with spice, it ruins its customers with choices. While the portions keep a little to be desire, the décor, the service, and the fancy layout of your food, serve to fill your appetite. The pleasant setting allows for a good chat over a good meal, and I would surely recommend this for family dinners- though, be mindful to book a table, the place is fairly busy during the week.

These are just a handful of the many Indian restaurants that leave me salivating. While my hunt for the best platters and plates shall perhaps never end, this entry ends here. On a concluding note, be sure to try and test the wide range of palates that Indian cuisine offers. Of course, it boasts of a plethora of spices; however, there is much more to it than dishes which leaves you panting. Do try out the dishes which please that sweet tooth of yours- my personal favourite being Ras Malai.  With this, I sign off; time to stock my stomach up.

Bon Appétit!

-Aishwarya

My year abroad: Boston

One of the many privileges I have enjoyed during my time at Trinity has been when I was selected to study abroad at Boston College last year through the Global Partnerships scheme. It was a wonderful opportunity to make new friends who came from an array of different countries; to travel and explore the United States whilst learning more about its culture; and to enrich my academic studies by learning in a different environment. During my time in Boston I was able to enjoy many magical experiences including: visiting Fenway Park to watch a New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox baseball game, visiting Cape Cod, surviving a snow storm and enjoying Thanksgiving in my American friend’s family home. I have been able to use the experiences I had during my time abroad in my role of Global Student Ambassador at Trinity. I remember feeling very excited about the prospect of studying abroad in America, and yet was still apprehensive about moving away and living so far away from home. Would I miss home? Would I make friends? Thankfully I had a great year, but everyone at some stage goes through ups and downs, and in the Global Room we are here to help with that. There are student ambassadors on duty at all times to answer students questions or simply be there to chat to, so please drop by and say hello! We have a wide range of experiences and backgrounds that enable us to relate to many of the questions and concerns that international students may have. Or alternatively follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tcdglobalrelations to hear more about some of the events that happen in our Global Room, we hope to see you soon!

-Sophie

SU Campaign Week

The annual week in which young and eager undergraduate students do their best to secure your vote and lead the Trinity Student’s Union. I have found my perspective, along with my peers, has changed over the years. As an impressionable and reserved first year student I let the week wash over me in a haze of brightly coloured campaign t-shirts. If I’m perfectly honest I didn’t know what was going on, I didn’t even think freshers were allowed to vote. However, the next year it became more relevant to me as a friend of mine was beginning her welfare campaign and of course because she was my friend she was instantly better than all her competitors. Why would I need to read their manifestos?

There is a great buzz being on a campaign team, to feel part of something that may have a lasting effect upon Trinity student politics. You are constantly keeping an eye on everything that happens in the news (feed). How many people are showing support in their profile picture? Whose hashtags have they been using? It can become a bitter rivalry in which friends are separated for a whole weeks time. There can be no mingling between campaign teams.

In my third year, I found myself on a number of campaign teams and of course because they were friends they were better than anyone else. In spite of this, I went into this week with less enthusiasm then the previous year, perhaps because it felt too soon for another campaign week. It becomes obvious that the campaign week returns too quickly. The older you get the faster time creeps up on you and the quicker it arrives. Also, let’s not forget the workload intensifies. By the time you come around to being a final year student, the Arts Block becomes an obstacle course. I found myself ferociously trying to avoid eye contact. The tricks I used (and you may borrow these): looking at the ground or reading a book as you walk, massive over ear headphones and a new one I’ve discovered, eating as you walk. Nobody should dare interrupt someone as they eat. By the end of the week it becomes a competition between friends to see if you avoided the most campaigners. Nevertheless I believe it is important to vote for those you believe to be the stronger candidate, because even when I didn’t care about the contenders last year, I didn’t want to leave the college I love so dearly in the wrong hands. What about those sweet first years next year? Won’t someone please think of the Freshers!?

10 Weird Facts About Trinity (that may or may not be true)

When colleges reach a certain age, they all have their various mythologies and fun facts, varying in their factual accuracy. Here are some of Trinity’s!

1.       There are several bricked off classrooms in the Museum Building with loads of stuff still inside

2.       When they were digging up the foundations to build the Arts Block, they found a mass plague grave

3.       Underneath Front Square, there are 4 monks buried pointing east

4.       The reason there are two major debating societies on campus (The Phil and The Hist) is because the head of the Phil was in a duel with the Dean of Students, killed him, and was thrown off campus. In the interim, The Hist emerged.

5.       Bram Stoker lived in the GMB during his time in TCD.

6.       There is a cat who lives on campus called Trinity Cat. He used to have a twitter account and in 2011, students received a mass hoax email from trinity.cat@tcd.ie and nobody knows how it happened.

7.       The reason one of the trees is smaller than the other on the way through front arch is that one tree is planted on top of the wine cellars.

8.       When Trinity was founded, it was Trinity College near Dublin and the Liffey ran near Botany Bay.

9.       If you walk under the Campanile as an undergraduate, you’ll fail all your exams.

 And of course everyone’s favourite:

10.   Scholars won’t be admitted to exams unless they’re carrying their sword.

Escapando no final de semana em Dublin / Dublin weekend escape

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Howth Head

For English post, scroll down!

Para um dia pouco usual num final de semana em Dublin saia cedo da cama e passe em um dos muitos pubs ou cafés simpáticos, perto de sua casa ou no centro, tanto faz, e peça um dos mais tradicionais pratos irlandeses: o “Full Irish Breakfast”. Esta especiaria da culinária irlandesa vai te abastecer com ovos, bacon, “black and white pudding”, torradas de pão caseiro, as tradicionais salsichas irlandesas, tomates fritos, e um delicioso (há controvérsias) feijão vermelho doce. Uma vez bem abastecido (e provavelmente morrendo de culpa pelas duas milhões de calorias ingeridas às 09h00 da manhã), embarque no DART – o trem suburbano de Dublin – e siga em direção a um dos lugares mais bonitos de Dublin: a península de Howth, ou “Howth Head”, como é conhecida por aqui.

Howth é um simpático vilarejo suburbano de Dublin que, segundo contam as pessoas de lá, foi originalmente um entreposto viking e, por muito tempo, uma pacata vila de pescadores. Hoje se apresenta como um grande e movimentado subúrbio de classe média, incluindo uma bela marina para os apaixonados por barcos a vela. Lá também fica o “Howth Castle”, um dos poucos castelos irlandeses que ainda são habitados por famílias descendentes da antiga nobreza inglesa (existe um outro castelo habitado, também muito interessante, na cidade de Birr, no condado de Offaly, lar de uma antiga família de cientistas que, entre outras coisas, construiu no século XVIII o maior telescópio do mundo na época, o “Leviatã de Parsonstown”, e inventou a turbina a vapor – mas isso é assunto para outro post).

Voltando à nossa península, Howth é também um dos melhores lugares de Dublin para um passeio de dia inteiro e, provavelmente, na minha humilde opinião, o melhor lugar dentro da cidade para a prática de Hiking (você não achou que aquelas calorias do café da manhã seriam de graça né?). O projeto Howth Pathways (howthpathways.com) demarcou quatro belas trilhas pela península, com vários níveis de dificuldade, variando entre 6 e 10km (entre 2h e 3h30 de duração). Todas as trilhas começam do lado oeste da península, após uma simpática caminhada pela bela orla da marina de barcos. Uma vez nas trilhas, você vai encontrar muita natureza, belas escarpas, vida selvagem (sobretudo pássaros costeiros) e também diversas construções interessantes, como o farol automático de Baily, antiga proteção aos navios do porto de Dublin. Se o dia estiver limpo e o tempo permitir, você também conseguirá belas vistas da cidade de Dublin, sobretudo da região do porto e central.

Após o hiking, se ainda estiver com pique sobrando, vá até o “National Transport Museum of Ireland” (www.nationaltransportmuseum.org – entrada €3), que fica a uns 600m da estação de Howth (ponto final das trilhas do Howth Pathways) e aproveite para dar uma olhada no “Howth Castle”, que fica ali do lado (o castelo normalmente não é aberto à visitação, somente em dias comemorativos. Você pode se cadastrar no site deles – www.howthcastle.ie  – para ser avisado sobre estas datas). De qualquer forma, indo ou não até o museu e castelo, termine seu dia em um dos pubs ou restaurantes perto da estação de Howth, para um (uns?) merecido pint de cerveja e um belo almoço no meio de tarde, antes de voltar de trem para casa.

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Estudantes brasileiros da TCD/Ciência Sem Fronteiras em Howth| Brazilian Science Without Borders’ Trinity Students in Howth

For a non-usual weekend day in Dublin, get up early in the morning and go to one of the lovely pubs or coffee shops near your house or in the city centre, doesn’t mater, and order the traditional Full Irish Breakfast. This speciality of the Irish cuisine will fill you up with eggs, bacon, black and white pudding, bread toasts, the traditional Irish pork sausages, fried tomatoes and delicious (controversially) sweet red beans. Once satisfied (and probably dying of guilt about the 2 million calories ingested at 9am), get on the DART – Dublin’s suburban train – and go to the one of the most beautiful places in Dublin: the Howth peninsula, or Howth Head.

Howth is a small suburban village that, accordingly to the local people, was originally a Viking trade post and, for a long time, a quiet fishermen’s village. Today, the place is a large and active middle-class suburban neighbourhood, with a beautiful harbour for  sail boat lovers. Howth is also the home of  Howth Castle, one of the last castles in Ireland that is still inhabited by the descendants of the old English nobility (there is another famous inhabited castle in the city of Birr, in  Offaly county, that is the home of a family of scientists that built, amongst other things, the largest telescope of the world in the eighteenth century, the “Leviathan of Parsonstown”, and the first modern steam turbine – but this is a subject for another blog’s post).

Going back to our peninsula, Howth is one of the best places in Dublin for day-trips and, probably, in my humble opinion, the best place in the city for hiking practice (you really thought that the breakfast calories were in vain?). The “Howth Pathways” project (howthpathways.com) established four beautiful walking trails in the peninsula, with several difficulty levels, ranging between 6 and 10km (about two to two and half hours of walking). All the trails begin on the west side of the peninsula and can be reached after a pleasant walk through the main street, on the harbour coast line. Once in the trails, you’ll find Howth’s beautiful nature, with incredible cliffs, wild animals (birds mostly), beautiful scenery and also several historic buildings, like the Baily Lighthouse, an old safety lighthouse to the Dublin’s port ships. If the weather permits, you will be able to get a beautiful view of the Dublin city, mainly of the port and city centre region.

After the hiking, if you still have some energy left, go to the “National Transport Museum of Ireland” (www.nationaltransportmuseum.org – €3 entrance), that is located 600 meters far from the Howth DART Station (the final destination of the Howth Pathways’ trails). Take a look at the Howth Castle also, who is a neighbour of the museum (the castle is not usually open to visitation, but you can sign up in the castle’s website for a newsletter about special opening dates –   www.howthcastle.ie). Either way, going or not to the museum and castle, finish your day trip in one of the pubs or restaurants near the Howth station for one (just one?) well deserved pint of beer and a delicious late afternoon lunch, before getting back home.

Max Brunner is a Brazilian undergraduate student studying in Trinity as part of the Science Without Borders program.

A new introduction to an ancient tradition: Chinese New Year

Since working at the the Trinity Global Room I have been astounded by the variety of societies and groups that exist for international and newly incoming students. For example, on the 30th of January of this year (2014), I had the opportunity to celebrate the  Chinese New Year as part of the festivities in the Global Room. The space was decorated in a traditional, festive fashion with the colour red featuring prominently – I hear that red denotes good luck in China!  As 2014 is the Year of the Horse, the Global Room was also presented with a colourful horse mascot which now stands proudly in the reception. Traditional Chinese treats were also handed out amongst the excited participants, of which I was only too happy to avail of!

What I enjoyed most as part of the festivities was having the opportunity to watch the national celebrations within China which were transmitted on the Global Room’s large widescreen TVs. I was able to enjoy music, dance, art and comedy that I had never observed before in Ireland. Although unfortunately I can not understand Chinese, the colours that were present in the room itself through decorations and the colourful costumes worn on-screen meant I clearly understood the hope and excitment for the New Year. On reflection, the fact that people could gather together in Dublin to celebrate the turning of the Chinese New Year meant that even if someone did feel somewhat homesick, the Global Room and the student body itself will mark international festivals in order to ensure each individual feels included.

-Lydia, undergraduate student from Germany and Ireland