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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 24 February, 2020

The College Guide To Trinity: Concealed libraries, study hideouts, and how to skip queues

A rundown of how to find your way around Ireland’s oldest college.

Image: infomatique/Flickr

SITUATED IN THE heart of Dublin city centre, Trinity is Ireland’s oldest university and was modelled on the world-renowned institutions in Oxford and Cambridge.

Trinity has made its way onto its fair share of ‘top universities worldwide’ lists over time, which is where the whole ‘Trinners for winners’ image comes from – but that elitist stereotype is fading away.

If Trinity is on your radar for this coming semester, here are some tips about how to fit right in and what to see on campus.

What’s the campus like? Harry Potter-esque. Here’s the scene you’re greeted with just after walking through the main entrance.

What’s the most Instagrammed place on campus? The Campanile in the Front Square claims top spot.

What’s the best spot for a chicken fillet roll? The chicken fillet roll is popular but controversially a lot of Trinity student’s heads have been turned by the many burrito bars nearby – especially since the famous Maguires closed.

Still, for that student who wants a real experience, there are chicken fillet rolls galore from the Spar on Nassau Street and Centra on Dame Street who seem to have perfected the art.

Where are the best study hideouts? Freshers need to know that each library has a purpose. Hardcore studiers frequent the Berkeley Law library, the Lecky is more casual study session setting, while the Ussher is a nice middle ground. However, they get overrun.

If you need a quiet space away from campus, the Library Bar on Exchequer Street could be the answer. Five minutes further up the road on Stephen Street Lower is Accents café, but the couches can be a bit too comfy.

Is there a bar on campus? There is of course. It’s called the Pavilion Bar, but you should feel at home and just call it the Pav. It’s located in a cosy corner of the campus facing onto the oval green and is essentially Trinity’s sporting clubhouse.

It was a ‘bag of cans’ kind of joint for years but now it has fancy beers on tap after a renovation. The Pav still sells cans, so they haven’t abandoned their roots, but you can also get a mean breakfast on the cheap as well or a stone-baked pizza for less than €10.

How can you sound like a final year? Don’t stand out like a sore thumb on day one by walking underneath the Campanile in Library Square. All students know that if the bell rings when you pass under it, you will fail your exams, so it’s not worth the risk.

Another piece of watercooler knowledge you could use to impress new friends would be knowing all about its status as a legal deposit library. It essentially means Trinity has a copy of every single book published in Ireland and the UK since 1801.

And this could be used as an excuse to tell people to check out the early printed books section of the library. It’s a hidden gem of Trinity, accessed via the Berkeley library, that houses some page turners like a first folio edition of Shakespeare’s plays dating back to 1623 and a first edition of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.

And finally, each newcomer should get out their phone right now and put a reminder in it for early February titled: “Remember: The Trinity Ball tickets queue will be long. Very long.” Your future self will be thankful. The tickets for the event of the year sell out fast and if you aren’t queuing early enough you might miss out.

What do Trinity students love about it? The subcultures, says recent creative writing graduate Cassia Gaden Gilmartin.

The truth is there’s no one type of student that defines the community. Even though you’ll meet people you can’t stand around campus you’ll inevitably meet some you love as well. Trinity is gradually dropping its elitist image, takes in students from all over the world, and hosts an ever-growing number of clubs and societies.

Also skipping certain queues is a nice perk, says immunology student Keelin O’Shanahan.

The Book of Kells and the Long Room on campus are great to visit and students get to skip the queue and go for free with up to three people. You can bring your family with you if you’d like.

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And… what do they NOT love about it? The college attracts a lot of visitors, says Keelin, which means it can get packed.

Trinity is a bit of a tourist trap and getting around on busy days can be frustrating.

Music and French student Naoise Whearity says you need to plan for how busy it will inevitably be.

There will be tourists everywhere, so give yourself the extra few minutes getting to class if it’s at lunchtime.

What should freshers know? You will get an orientation week to find your feet, but you can get even more help bedding in, says Naoise.

You’re entitled to a free tour of the campus if you’re a student and it’s a really great way to learn the history and some of the stories about the campus before you start to study here. There are some scandals.

And don’t nestle yourself away in Trinity, explore Dublin, says Cassia.

You’re not getting the full experience of studying there unless you’re making the shops, galleries, event spaces and everything the area has to offer part of your life as a student.

Who should I follow? From Nobel laureates to kings of Westeros, a lot of household names have spent time at Trinity.

Due to his commentary and analysis of Ireland’s housing sector, Trinity-based assistant professor of economics Ronan Lyons is name known across many Irish households and is worth a follow. Another person posting about interesting research is Fiona Wilson. The associate professor in School of Medicine has done some fascinating research into finding early warning signs for concussions.

We’ll definitely throw Lynn Ruane in the mix as well. She’s not a current student, but as someone representing Trinity in the Seanad and involved with setting education policy, she tweets a lot about third-level issues.

And last, but not least, the people with the need-to-know information are the student media. Trinity is full of student-led publications, and the ones breaking the hard-hitting news are the University Times and Trinity News.

What’s the accommodation situation? You can live on campus and be in the heat of the action, but this is pricey and competition for rooms is fierce. There are some off-campus locations also, which are also pricey.

Finding accommodation in Dublin is tough right now, but the good news is that so much of Dublin’s public transport passes close to Trinity, so you don’t need to live on the college doorstep. Here’s a look at rentals in the area on Daft.ie.

Trinity in numbers

  • 1: Trinity is the top Irish university based on the QS World University Rankings.
  • 21: The number of hectares the city centre college and its tech occupies.
  • 17,000: How many undergraduate and postgraduate students are registered across Trinity’s major disciplines.
  • 25,000: This is how many specimens are held at the zoological museum.
  • 5,000,000: The number of books, roughly speaking, held by the college on and off campus.

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

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