As 2019 draws to a close, we teeter on the precipice of a new decade. It is a time of mixed emotions; we look excitedly to the future, yet we also think of the past with nostalgia. Trinity has survived another decade, thriving in good times and enduring bad times, accepting the mundane and revelling in the extraordinary. With this in mind, Trinity News looks back upon the university’s past decade, returning to 10 of the strange, seminal and shocking moments that defined it.
Cans for votes
The year was 2016 and SU election fever was in full swing. While presidential hopefuls and wannabe education officers battled it out, the student body was only interested in one thing: who would become the next Ents officer? Caolán Maher believed that he was the man for the job, and he knew exactly how to work his audience. Well, according to an eyewitness, he bribed them with free cans, because who wouldn’t be willing to overlook political corruption for some Dutch Gold? This course of action may not have led to his election, but the mastermind behind cangate certainly went down in Trinity history. Richard Nixon would be proud!
Front Gate car crash
In 2014, one individual had an unusual way of getting into college – literally. A 68 year old man who had previously worked as a taxi driver rammed his car through the wooden gates at the College Green entrance and additionally crashed into multiple vehicles at College Green, after ramming into Front Gate four times. The motorist had no connection to Trinity and no apparent motive.
The gates had originally been erected in the 1870s and were restored in the months after the event at a cost of €33,000. In 2017 the motorist involved was found not guilty by reason of insanity to the charges before him, including damages in relation to the costs of refurbishing the gates.
One fateful evening in 2011, 17,000 Trinity students received an email. For once, it was not the Careers Advisory Service reminding them that their degree comes with the added bonus of lifelong unemployment. Instead, it was a message from [email protected], which simply read “CAN WE HAS OLDD TIMETABLE PLZKTNX”. At the time the email was sent, a conflict was raging between the SU and Trinity authorities, who had changed several exam timetables in order to accommodate Queen Elizabeth II’s visit. Eventually, College gave in to the SU’s demands, and the students of Trinity all have one rebellious, computer-savvy feline to thank for that.
The bomb squad
It’s not every day that a bomb squad are called to the college. However, in July 2018, a bomb squad was deployed to destroy TNT which had been improperly stored in a chemistry lab in the Wellcome building on campus. The chemicals were left by a former PhD student, who later faced disciplinary action.
According to Dr Robert Baker, safety officer for the School of Chemistry, “one of the three controlled explosions surprised the bomb squad in its intensity and there was enough force to blow a sandbag into a tree.” Dr Baker however contradicted this statement in a later comment to Trinity News, saying “the bomb squad has not been called to the School of Chemistry. Any hazardous materials held in the School of Chemistry are for legitimate research purposes.”
Holographic Paddy P
No list of iconic Trinity moments would be complete without the (virtual) appearance of Paddy P. When our glorious provost is not sparking college-wide protests, he can sometimes be found channeling Tupac by parading around in a holographic form. I am sorry to break the news to you, but that was not just a horrifying fever dream that you had; it actually happened in 2018, when Patrick Prendergast opened the Trinity Business and Technology Forum. Most people would stick to making an insipid speech, but not this man.
The Hist orgy
The great Hist orgy of 2016 will go down in history for being one of the wildest moments in Trinity in the last decade. Allegedly beginning after a nude calendar photo shoot, the Piranha reported the committee decided to embark on a journey of mutual sexual exploration as “(they were) all naked anyway”. It seemed, however, that one orgy was not enough for the Hist and that in fact a second orgy would take place during a Hist schools competition. Whether the orgies are now regular events on the Hist’s social calendar remains to be seen.
DCU’s identity crisis
While not strictly a Trinity event, we just couldn’t resist including DCU’s momentary identity crisis on this list. During storm Ophelia in 2017, the country was left blown away, and not just by the wind. The Taoiseach issued a tweet asking that all third level institutions remain closed, and when DCU questioned its status as a college, as people took it as an excuse to troll DCU forever more.
As Leo tweeted:
“Nationwide Red warning now. All schools and colleges to close. More info @meteireann …”
DCU replied with:
“Can you please clarify what is meant by colleges and institutions? Does this extend to third level institutions?”
The Boat Club hazing
One of the most disturbing things that has happened in Trinity over the past decade is Dublin University Boat Club’s hazing scandal. Several former and current members spoke out about the humiliation that they had faced in order to be initiated into the club. According to the University Times, the club hosts an annual event known as “Commons”, during which new members are shouted at, told to strip, violently whipped with canes and bamboo, pushed through dark tunnels and forced to eat unidentified substances and drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
Bollywood comes to Front Square
Trinity is not a place that is often associated with Bollywood cinema. However, it should be, because in 2012, the Bollywood movie Ek Tha Tiger was shot there. The slightly ridiculous plot narrates the story of a Trinity-based scientist who is suspected of selling missile technology secrets to Pakistan, which prompts an Indian secret agent to investigate the matter. Of course, it wouldn’t be a real film without a sickly romantic subplot, so unsurprisingly, the agent falls in love with the scientist’s caretaker, and chaos ensues. Sadly, the two lovers did not meet via Trinder, because it had not been invented yet, but there is always scope for a sequel.