Walking along the well trodden, leaf-littered paths of Dartry road and through the gates of Trinity Hall for the second September in a row, I am hit with a sudden wave of nostalgia. The memories held within the familiar walls of this sheltered haven are shared by thousands of Trinity students, both past and present, and as we enter Freshers week 2021 a new swarm of residents prepare to make Trinity Hall their home for the academic year. Moving into student accommodation and navigating a new area for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least, but lucky for you we have curated the following declassified guide to Trinity Hall — something I wish I had been gifted before beginning my own extended residence here.
“Rathmines is home to an abundance of restaurants, gastropubs and cafes to fuel your almost inevitable caffeine addiction.”
Trinity Hall is located in a residential suburb of South Dublin, approximately 4 kilometres from College and only a 10 minute walk from Rathmines where you will likely do most of your weekly food shopping. There are no shortage of shops to choose from in the area, from more affordable options such as Aldi and Lidl, to Tesco and Dunnes Stores, as well as a range of shops that cater specifically for different cultures. If you want to splash some cash on dining (and drinking) out, Rathmines is home to an abundance of restaurants, gastropubs and cafes to fuel your almost inevitable caffeine addiction, including but not limited to the infamous Mother Reilly’s Bar and Restaurant (renowned for their chicken wings — sold by the kilo — and student pints), Ernesto’s Coffee, Little Ass Burrito Bar, Elephant and Castle, and Sprezzatura. Having lived in Trinity Hall myself as a Junior Fresher throughout various lockdowns, I am still only starting my journey of cuisine exploration!
If you have ever wanted to watch a movie in one of the world’s most beautiful cinemas then Rathmines is the place to be. This year, Rathmines’ very own Stella Theatre was ranked 16th globally due to its unique and decadent art-deco style interiors. This is an opportunity not to be missed, so if you’re looking to impress (or be impressed) be sure to take a trip to this iconic cinema.
Some of the parks surrounding your new home are the perfect place to go for a run, walk with friends or even just wind down after being glued to your screen for an hour too many. Palmerston Park is located directly behind Trinity Hall and Dartry Park is a 5 minute walk away. Unbelievably, the latter remained unknown to me until almost halfway through my second semester last year; it is certainly a hidden gem.
You may now be wondering how to commute to College from Trinity Hall. There are a few different options. The most popular is the 140 bus which begins its route merely a 2 minute walk from the accommodation and stops at both Dame Street and Westmoreland Street, from which College’s main entrance is virtually unmissable. Another common way that students can commute to College is via the Luas, which leaves Milltown station at very regular intervals and arrives on Dawson street, beside College’s Nassau Street entrance. Whilst this option is marginally cheaper than taking the 140 bus, it does involve a 10 minute walk from Trinity Hall to the stop, so you can weigh up the pros and cons of both and decide what is most convenient for you. If you are feeling adventurous you could even cycle or commit to a leisurely 50 minute walk when you have time to spare! Commuting in Dublin may appear daunting at first, particularly for the population of Trinity Hall which predominantly consists of international students and students from rural Ireland, but thankfully the route to College from your accommodation in Dartry is relatively straightforward, and you will quickly get to know it like the back of your hand.
There are many advantages to living in purpose-built student accommodation when moving away from home for the first time. Not only will you be living in a close-knit community with your peers, there will also be an abundance of support and facilities available to you to make your stay as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Maintenance and repair issues are promptly addressed, there is a (slightly pricey) laundrette, and a study space on site as well as security staff at reception 24/7 — all things that can easily be taken for granted but trust me, they make a major difference to your experience as a student living away from home. Trinity Hall has a unique support system in place specially targeted towards the cohort of first years living there; this consists of the Warden Dr. Roja Fazaeli, Deputy Warden Kevin Sullivan, a team of Assistant Warden’s assigned to each house, the Junior Common Room (JCR), and the Welfare team. Together this group of people aim to create an enjoyable and safe environment to live in that fosters the welfare of its students. “What exactly do they do?” I hear you ask. This brief synopsis of their roles will hopefully answer that for you.
The Warden fulfils both a pastoral and disciplinary role and is also responsible for allocating rooms to incoming students. Assistant Wardens act as a first point of contact for residents seeking advice on any aspect of living in Trinity Hall, or to discuss problems that arise, whether they be academic or personal. They are also responsible for ensuring that students living here behave in accordance with the rules and ethos that they agreed to uphold during their residence.
The JCR is an elected representative body for all residents, consisting of Senior Fresher students. Their job entails maintaining the welfare and well-being of students whilst creating a community spirit, mainly through the social events that they regularly organise. On the JCR there are eleven positions: President, Vice-president/Treasurer, Secretary, and officers for welfare, music, events, sports, international students, technology, communications and publications.
Describing her extensive role as this year’s JCR Welfare Officer, Aoife Bennett summed it up in one sentence: “Helping our Halls students navigate the ups and downs of college life.”
Supported by the Welfare Team, who can also be contacted by any students with worries or concerns during their time here, the Welfare Officer conducts weekly office hours and can quickly put you in touch with college services and support organisations. There will also be professional counsellors on site with whom you can arrange an appointment.
“And remember you have four years in college, there is time to figure things out! You don’t need to have everything sussed out in the first week.”
Bennett offers some words of advice and reassurance that she wishes she had as a first year. “Relax! I was so nervous moving to Halls. Starting college is scary but everyone is in the same boat. Go to as many events as you can and join societies. It’s the best way to meet people (even if it’s on Zoom at first). And remember you have four years in college, there is time to figure things out! You don’t need to have everything sussed out in the first week.”