As a culchie with a heart longing for the sweet scent of silage and the bleating sound of sheep, my heart soared at the announcement of Trinity’s newest society – the AgSoc! The arrival of this new society was a mysterious one, as a Facebook page magically appeared on my timeline – its symbol, the noble cow. Who were they? Would I finally meet people that didn’t stare at me strangely when I talked of dipping sheep, Charolais heifers and the lure of road frontage? Students with a country lilt to match my own? As a farmer’s daughter in the Big Smoke, concealing my naivety to city life on a daily basis, the prospect of this society excited me. A piece of home was finally coming to Trinity.
DU Agricultural Society was officially established on 1 February 2017, following several months of preparation. This was truly a historic day for College, which has never hosted such a society before, despite having a veterinary medicine faculty until 1977 when it transferred to UCD. A group of nine Junior Freshman students – Conor Stapleton, Nathan Ó Brádaigh, Donal Ó Siodhacháin, Micheal Ryan, Michael McAndrew, Clare Colgan, Brendan Kelleher, James O’Conor and Eimhear Shortall – embarked on the quest to make their vision of DU AgSoc into a reality. Their inspiration was simple: amidst the vast sphere of Trinity’s societies, they noticed a gaping hole in relation to agriculture. If there could be a kitesurfing society, why not a student platform for those interested one of Ireland’s most prominent and traditional industries?
Perhaps the most appealing feature of this society is its inclusivity: it discards the age-old battle of culchies vs city folk, and instead encourages everyone to join. Eimhear spoke of the culture shock of arriving to Dublin after growing up in a sequestered, rural area. Equally, many city-dwellers are oblivious to the culture of country life, with some of her friends unaware of the breeds of cow beyond the colours of black and white. “If I am lucky enough to experience both types of lifestyle available in Ireland, why can’t they?” commented Eimhear. This society seeks to promote a wider understanding amongst students of agriculture both in Ireland and around the world. This global outlook also offers international students a unique opportunity to teach the Irish about their own agricultural practices whilst simultaneously gaining knowledge about our traditions and technological advances.
Not ones to waste any time, the society had their first outing to Áras an Uachtaráin to visit the organic gardens, which boast many fruits and vegetables, as well as enjoying a tour of the formal rooms. A taste of exciting future events, including a trip to the the highlight of every farmer’s calendar: the Ploughing Championships! There will also be a walk-and-talk with Teagasc, and an agriculture-related debate. But beyond the purely educational, the AgSoc promises some craic and no doubt a few pints along the way, stating on their Facebook page that their core mission is “to promote agriculture, down tea, skull pints and return home for Mammy’s Stunday roast”.
Whether tillage tickles your fancy, you are cow crazy, or you just want to gain some information to impress the next tanned farmer from Wicklow you meet in Coppers, this society is worth investing your time in. Registration is very reasonable, costing a mere euro. I very much look forward to watching this society blossom – no doubt, it will reap a bountiful harvest.