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.

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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

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year! Xin Nian Kuai Le! As the Chinese New Year is here, the Chinese Society has started to prepare for it several weeks ago. As many of you have realized, the Spring Festival or better known as Chinese New Year is the most important festival among the Chinese culture. Traditionally, Chinese people will have family reunion dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve, and of course celebrate Spring Festival with loved ones. But lives are a bit different in Ireland. Due to the academic structure of Trinity College and the incoherence of the Lunar Calendar and New Calendar, Spring Festival was almost never landed on an academic holiday. Consequently, most Chinese international students can’t spend the meaningful festival back in homeland. As an international student from China as well as a student ambassador in the Global Room, I feel that the idea of celebrating the Chinese New Year is just great, especially for Chinese students far away from home. It can provide the opportunity for Chinese students in Trinity to get together and enjoy the traditional festival.

After few meetings with the Chinese Society Committee, we came out with the idea of live screening the popular Spring Festival Concert from China on Lunar New Year Eve, 30th January 2014. The show is a popular fixture for many families in China and for many Chinese people is to Chinese New Year what the Late Late Toy Show is to Christmas here in Ireland! With the perfect facilities in the Global Room, plus huge support from the Global Relation Officers, the committee has quickly come to the conclusion to host the event in the Global Room. Though not perfect, we tried our best to decorate the venue to bring up the Spring Festival atmosphere and shopped for the native snacks to make any Chinese student feel at home. Though the idea was mainly targeting Chinese students, everyone in the college was welcome. It would truly be another kind of experience for them to submerge in an event that’s so native to the Chinese. After all, I truly wish everyone a very happy new year in the Chinese way! 新年快乐!

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-Kuan, postgraduate student from China

 

Discovering diversity in my student experience

Freshers

I started taking my engineering discipline last year. Despite all the information I received from the Trinity Access Program (TAP) in the Pre-University week, walking into the Campus on the first day, was like walking into the storm after having a cup of tea in the house. I didn’t know what I wanted to join, everyone want me in their society. Then the week ended as quickly as it began, and by then I had only joined two societies, which I couldn’t even go to because as the college work began, I felt like I had been thrown into a pressure cooker. Then as the year progressed I felt like all I did was lectures, labs, then I’d go home. I knew I was missing something; I was missing the campus life which I didn’t want to miss. It can be quite hard, as I live a little bit far from Dublin, and having to be in at 9am every day is also quite annoying. So I watched the clock tick every day until one day TAP called for volunteers to help students who are still in high school see what college life is like. I knew I wanted to help and by doing so I learned what else I could do in college, when I’m not busy with assignments.

One of the biggest things I learned was the value of diversity. I learned about individuality. This was different, as I was so used to being compared to other students in secondary school and the uniform made it all worse. Here I could wear what I like, eat what I like (Mom is not here) and even better, I began to learn how to be me. To improve the diversity of my experience, I began learning Chinese and French, both of which I’m still teaching myself slowly. Working in the Global Room has allowed me to go to some of the Chinese and French events, where I gained even more understanding of the Chinese and French cultures and traditions. In addition, I learned the importance of being me, so every day I wear my black jacket with the hoody on my head and walk around the college, cause that’s how I feel most comfortable. I also volunteered as a Student 2 Student mentor, which allows me to volunteer on my free time… So I suppose taking things slowly has been quite helpful too!

10 pieces of advice that you REALLY need to hear

They say practice makes perfect, but what do you exactly do in situations where you can neither practice nor need perfection? Come January and while the rest of the world is busy celebrating a new year, the entire population of graduating high school seniors (while they should be celebrating a new life that awaits them) are losing sleep over the fast approaching college admission deadlines and wondering if they are mature enough to make such life altering decisions when they still sing the alphabet to see what letter comes next. Let me tell you, all you clueless and not-so-clueless-but-still-equally-worried people, that you are amazing. You are unique and college life is the obvious next, and the best, step to your life and you shouldn’t lose sleep over something that should come naturally to you. There are however some things that you should do:

  1. Start Early: College may not seem an immediate idea but it is an important one. Start early! Create a spreadsheet of all your requirements and get down to one goal per week. Maybe you need a letter of recommendation from your teachers or coaches. Such things are not best left to the last minute, so try doing such things early on!
  2. Research: Throw away your preconceived notions and the problems that come with them at least for a brief while and research. And by research I mean really really research. Read up all that you possibly can. The web is full of resources to help you if only you try. The motive of this exercise is to choose courses and colleges that interest you. (Also look at point 6.) You should ideally make up a list of colleges that you think will be an ideal ‘fit’ for you. Try asking yourself if you would be okay living in another city. Maybe you can move to another country. Maybe there are country specific scholarships in prestigious colleges for courses that you want to do. You’ll never know unless you research.
  3. Talk to seniors: People who have been through the same thing as you are currently going through can not only be a great source of inspiration to keep you motivated, but also provide fresh perspectives on issues that probably didn’t even occur to you. Talk to them!
  4. Talk to teachers: people who have taught you know your potential well. They wish only the best for you and often have more access to information. Opening up to your teachers will help you better get in touch with your goals and chart a clear path to how you should go on to achieve that! Pro tip: Colleges you apply to should be grouped into 3 main categories: Target, Reach and Safety schools. Teachers can really help you select colleges for each category!
  5. College admission essays: arguably the most important part of your admission process, the admission essay is your voice. It tells the admission officers what cannot be read off your resume. It tells them what you as a person can offer to the college. It is probably the only chance you have to tell your story so make it count. Be engaging, introspective and intelligent. Be individualistic and tell them why you would fit in perfectly with their college’s culture. Avoid the 4D’s while writing essays though: Drugs, Divorce, Death and Depression. You might think writing on such topics would make you seem deep but in all honesty, it doesn’t. Also do not talk about something that happened to someone you know. It is about yourself!
  6. Introspection: College is a time when you reinvent yourself. You will discover things you love during this journey and the only way you can make most of it is if you realise what really matters to you. You might want to go to a school with a great drama program and a great science program and that’s perfectly alright! Think now and you’ll love yourself for the journey you have that awaits you.
  7. Keep your grades up! I know about how senioritis can overtake your entire life but staying focused on school is more important than ever. Slagging off and attending each party might seem like fun (probably even is) but believe in delayed gratitude. Trust me it’s worth it!
  8. Proofread but don’t over read: I can understand how your parents and siblings might want to go over your essays but please do not let them take over. It’s your voice not theirs. Do proofread everything, especially if you’re recycling essays (a friend of mine told Yale how Dartmouth was the perfect fit for her, obviously didn’t end too well) but do not let them alter your voice in any way.
  9. Realize that the best part of your life is yet to come and while it is okay to be overwhelmed by everything at this stage, everything is going to be fine. Don’t panic!
  10. Eat as much home cooked food as you possibly can, while you’re at it. You’re definitely going to miss it next year.

Rajsi Rana is a first year Computer Science and Business student at Trinity College Dublin. Originally hailing from India, Rajsi loves the Beatles and fairy tales, believes that code is poetry and represents Trinity as an ambassador with Enterprise Ireland. She is also a highly successful blogger on Quora. 

New friends, old traditions on a weekend away

“April is the cruelest of all months” – T. S. Eliot

I agree whole-heartedly with this quote, however I believe January is a very close second. As I write this, it is statistically the most depressing day of the year. The third Monday of the year is far enough away from Christmas and New Years that the spirit has been drained, New Years resolutions have fallen to pieces, people are still stripped of cash from Christmas and of course, it is a Monday. In spite of all this I am simply “buzzing” today as I have just returned from the infamous INSMOT weekend organized by Trinity VDP.

Inspirational and Motivational is what INSMOT stands for but you may also have to include the words Mighty Craic into the title. The weekend was designed to “inspire and motivate” the members of charitable society, Trinity VDP, for the year to come. On Friday night people went to SVP’s Kerdiffstown House in Johnstown, Kildare.

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The evening began with a number of icebreaker games in the “Chapel/Bar” involving moving on chairs and a table quiz with special bonus rounds including “first person to bring me a can from my room” and “swap clothes with the person beside you” (Jeans and a shirt, I was never going to win against the people wearing onesies). The night continued on with dancing in the chapel, singing songs by the piano, playing mini-golf at midnight and running around the hallways.

The next morning we begin the workshops designed to, of course, inspire and motivate. By the end of the day everyone in the room felt ready to take on the world, instead however, we just repeated what we did the night before with a twist. Instead of icebreakers and table quizzes we played the greatest game known to man. Telephone Charades. A mash-up of classic group games ‘Telephone’ and Charades, the game involves two teams. One team is taken outside and called in one by one. The first person has to act out a story to their teammate without words, only for them to continue the story to the next person to enter the room all while the other team watches. The game quickly forgets the actual story and turns into something very… enjoyable.

This is my fourth and possible final year going and I hope everyone gets to experience the magic of Kerdiffstown House at least once. The most amazing thing about it is you can go down not knowing anybody, as I did in my first year, and come back with 70 new friends, as Trinity VDP welcomes all.