A “Virtual Ball” may be held this term to replace the annual Trinity Ball that has been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Ents Officer has said.
Following Trinity Ball’s cancellation, Trinity News spoke with Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Entertainments (Ents) Officer Hugh McInerney on alternative arrangements.
Detailing a series of events that were safely conducted in the past year, McInerney concluded that there may be a possibility of holding a modified, virtual ball in April.
The event has been cancelled for a second year in response to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and uncertainty around future restrictions.
McInerney referenced this “uncertainty of public health restrictions and the volatility of regulations” when explaining why the Trinity Ball Committee (TBC) made the final decision on the cancellation.
He continued by stating that he had proposed the possibility of a ball later in the year than typically scheduled, but “with the numerous factors surrounding large events in Ireland and how the situation can drastically change in a matter of days”, the ultimate decision was made to cancel the event altogether.
“We are, of course, extremely disappointed by the cancellation of the ball for a second year in a row, but public health and student safety understandably has to come first,” said McInerney.
McInerney was elected into a role that appears drastically different from the position of the same title in the past. Ents Officers in previous years have arranged student events to take place at nightclubs and other large venues, with their term culminating in the organisation of Trinity Ball itself.
However, McInerney maintained that “although we couldn’t give the students the nights Ents usually provides, we have done everything we can to provide alternative entertainment options during these extremely challenging times”.
He referenced events that he helped arrange, such as Ents Online, a “collaboration between six Dublin colleges that saw artists like Soulé and Tolü Makay perform for students as they watched from the comfort of their home”, and a series of “Clash of the Comics” classes.
“Entertaining students with a wide variety of events while keeping them safe has been our number one priority,” he said.
Additionally, he emphasized that events held so far this year had been completely free to attend.
In December, McInerney organised the Trinity Christmas Ball, which consisted of a line-up of Trinity students performing in The Workman’s Club in order to raise money for charity. The outcome of the event produced over €1000 for the Peter McVerry Trust.
He referenced this event as a possible source of inspiration for a modified Trinity Ball this year, stating that “we will be looking at numerous possibilities to replace Trinity Ball”, and due to an assumption that Ireland will remain on some level of lockdown in April, “a format like the Trinity Christmas Ball looks increasingly likely”.
“Although it won’t be quite the same as the real thing, we will explore all possibilities surrounding a replacement and will endeavour to give students something special to entertain them on the last Friday of term,” he concluded.