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The College Guide To TU Dublin: Study sanctuaries, the best bakery, and a spanking new campus

All the info you need if you’re off to the capital’s biggest university.

Image: Flickr/infomatique

“THE CITY IS our campus” was a popular saying among DIT students, before Dublin Institute of Technology merged with IT Tallaght and IT Blanchardstown in January. And given the citywide spread of the new Technological University of Dublin, it’s truer than ever.

The three institutions are now combined to form Ireland’s first technological university, with a total of more than 28,000 students across the three campuses. 

Dating back to 1887, DIT is the oldest and largest of the three. It has been part of the furniture for a long time and was established in its current form by legislation in 1992. That’s when it was officially granted an autonomous capacity to award degrees. 

The college particularly known for being strong in subjects like engineering, optometry and product design. But it also has a range of science, hospitality and digital media courses as well. Blanchardstown is strong in computing and business, while Tallaght offers courses in marketing, accounting and tourism among others.

If you’re a fresh face in any of the three this year, here’s are some pointers to help you get to know the place.

What’s the campus like? Which one? Each is unique in its own way. Here you are at the university’s new home in Grangegorman – which is still growing.

What’s the most Instagrammed place on campus? It’s new on the block, but probably the Grangegorman campus.

What’s the best spot for a chicken fillet roll? This is a tough one to answer. Dublin is littered with student lunch options, but we’re not going to go listing each Spar and Centra in the vicinity of each campus.

All we’ll do is advise you to keep an eye out for joints that do student deals. Saving a couple of euro each day will add up over a year.

Dublin’s many burrito bars are great for student deals. We can guarantee you’ll pick one and probably stay loyal to it for the duration of your degree. So pick wisely.

Where are the best study hideouts? The libraries might cut it for some people, but if the buzz of the place gets on your nerves during busy exam periods, there are plenty of spots in the city you can flee to.

For one, make use of the extensive network of Dublin libraries. The likes of the Central Library on Henry Street, the County Library in Tallaght and Rathmines Library (to name a few) have lovely, and largely underutilised, study spaces.

Or if you want to watch the world go by as you read some notes, dive into a comfy couch somewhere like Accents café with a big mug of tea and some rocky road. You won’t regret it.

Is there a bar on campus? No, so students think of each pub of Dublin as their own. But the Barbers bar is very handy for the new campus in Grangegorman, and has some student-friendly events including quiz night and pop-up food options.

But it’s not all about pints – freshers should definitely take a trip down to the many common areas the students’ union has in each campus. There are sofas, bean bags and pool tables so you can just relax between classes.

How can you sound like a final year? You’re going to hear a lot about this big move out to Grangegorman. Here’s your chance to brush up on what it’s all about.

So, the college formerly known as DIT is spread across 10 spots in the city and these are all currently being combined into one central campus. This will be located in Grangegorman, which is out near Smithfield and about a half-hour walk away.

Source: Technological University Dublin/YouTube

Right now, relatively few students are based out there, but that figure is about to rapidly increase to 10,000 within two years when programmes based out of the Cathal Brugha Street campus, the Kevin Street campus and part of the Rathmines campus move out.

Even if you’re not on this campus yet, give it a visit. There’s some lovely views of the city and the mountains from almost any spot on campus.

And finally, we’ve got some insider knowledge for you to tip your new classmates about. You would gain numerous brownie points if you introduced them to the joys of the bakery on Cathal Brugha campus. All the goods are freshly baked by the culinary students themselves and they’re very cheap – it’s a dream combination.

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What do TU Dublin students love about it? Engineering student Alastair Quirk says he loves the energy about the many campuses.

The campuses are lively and there’s a great student atmosphere. And definitely the abundance of food spots, restaurants, cafés and shops are dead handy.

For Tourism Management student Marie Unto, she says it’s the diversity of the student body.

Nearly 20% of the student body comes from outside Ireland, creating a culturally diverse and stimulating environment. And we have over 80 different societies that cover a wide variety of social and cultural activities that freshers can take part in.

And… what do they NOT love about it? According to Alastair, there are some drawbacks to being based in the city.

The traffic and hassle of getting into the city centre for a 9am lecture. And the facilities in some parts of the buildings are quite bleak and outdated as well.

Marie also says the distance between campuses isn’t nice.

Students who study certain courses such as engineering from Bolton Street might have a module that is based in Kevin Street once a week, so they have to travel from the southside to the northside just for their next class.

What should freshers know? There’s a great chance to upskill when taking part in societies, says Marie.

If you’re interested in volunteering, you can sign up to the student volunteering and the SVP Society. You will also get training for different kinds of things such as child protection training and first aid training when you sign up.

While Alastair says freshers should remember they’re not alone, everyone is figuring it out as they go along.

Everyone in your course is in the same boat in terms of knowing very few people and being nervous. So make friends and try to organise an early course night out. Join a society even, the Investors & Entrepreneurs, the Banter Soc and the DJ society are definitely ones not to miss.

Who should I follow? It is a college full of big thinkers, and one of those is Alex Gibson, the assistant head of the School of Marketing. Between his radio show on Dublin City FM and organising his virtual and augmented reality conference, ARVR innovate, he keeps himself busy.

Another interesting character is publican/scientist (yes, it’s a thing) Judith Boyle. She’s one half Two Sisters Brewing and a lecturer in the college who knows her stuff when it comes to craft beers.

But if you want an inspirational athlete to follow, look no further than Ellen Keane who just completed her final year. She’s had an amazing journey from being Ireland’s youngest ever athlete at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games to recent gold medalist. So keep tabs on her, she’s going places.

What’s the accommodation situation? It’s not easy out there for students. It’s so competitive, and even some of the new student blocks going up in the city are out of many students’ price range.

But TU Dublin’s new campus will provide some student residences on site, so there is that to look forward to. In the meantime, your best bet is to check each and every notice board you can get your hands on. Here’s a look at rentals in the city on Daft.ie.

TU Dublin in numbers

  • 73: The number of acres covered by all the campuses that made up DIT – and that doesn’t even include Tallaght and Blanchardstown
  • 94: That’s where DIT placed in the 2014 and 2015 editions of the Times Higher Education’s top 100 institutions under 50 years of age. Not bad since competition is so tough worldwide.
  • 1978: This was the year the College of Technology in Dublin first teamed up with other institutions in the Irish capital and formed a federation of colleges.
  • 28,500: There are a hell of a lot of students spread across TU Dublin’s campuses, and well over 2,000 members of staff to manage them day in, day out.

Are you going to TU Dublin this coming semester (or is it your alma mater)? Share your opinion in the comments!

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