“Friend”, as defined by Urban Dictionary, is “someone you love and who loves you, someone you respect and who respects you, someone whom you trust and who trusts you”. There is truly no one worthier of such a description than our beloved Dawson Street icons: Mooch, Lemon, Sprout, Tiger, and Spar. A recognised backbone of the College community, it is with the heaviest of hearts that we say goodbye to our comforting neighbours, who were willingly sacrificed for a measly €58 million – a figure only slightly below the estimate of what students spend on crêpes each year. In their place will stand yet another block of unused offices and commercial units – everything the millennial youth aspires towards. We offer you a brief goodbye to our fallen heroes and remember all they have offered us in times of tribulation.
Although situated on neighbouring Nassau Street, we also pay tribute to Spar and Tiger, official members of the Dawson Street demolition club. Longstanding features on the busy street, each served unique and privileged purposes for the students of Trinity. Tiger, the consistent go-to for pencil cases, rain jackets, shot glasses, holiday decorations and, best of all, the cheap novelty present. Who among us can say that in times of despair and dismay we haven’t spent nearly €20 in Tiger on utterly useless items, simply for the sole reason that you’ll never be able to find such amazing items anywhere else but Tiger? And what can be said about Spar, every student’s home away from home? If you could succeed in the great feat of dodging determined charity volunteers, the warm comforts of Spar offered everything you could ever need, whether it was a morning coffee or a nightly naggin, complete with a chicken fillet roll from the deli.
“Whether or not Sprout was your cup of tea, it was somebody’s strawberry smoothie and for that, it will be missed.”
Next door on Dawson Street, we had Sprout, a quirky, healthy, restaurant that appealed thoroughly to vegetarians, fitness enthusiasts, and their friends, who were guilted into spending €10 on a salad bowl. Most, if not all us, have frequented Sprout, even if your experience was limited to a single visit – one that you still use as a justification to your family that you do in fact eat healthily. For some of us, Sprout was a place that we always wandered past in a confused haze, staring at the thronged crowds queuing up, wondering what exactly all the fuss was about. For others, the salad bowls of Sprout were a feature often spotted on the couches of the Arts Building, largely due to the fact that you could never get a seat in Sprout to begin with. For others, it was simply a blur as you dashed off the Dawson Street Luas, late for a lecture. But for the majority of us, Sprout was the shop we walked guiltily past as out thoughts lingered on the take-out from the night before. Whether or not Sprout was your cup of tea, it was somebody’s strawberry smoothie and, for that, it will be missed.
The announcement of the closure of Lemon saw the largest student unrest in College since the Take Back Trinity movement. Lemon on Dawson Street was the staple student centre that catered food for every mood. Stressed over assignments? Nothing beats the exam blues quite like an all-day breakfast, especially if breakfast is served with Nutella and ice cream. And as the shadow of exams looms overhead and semesterisation whips us into shape, one must wonder if the loss of Lemon is one that students can withstand.
Last but not least we have Mooch, everyone’s favourite frozen yoghurt outlet. Residing in Dawson Street for four years, Mooch transformed the idea of frozen yogurt from something that eccentric kids on Disney Channel ate in every episode, to a chance to showcase your dire addiction to sugar while pretending to be healthy – it’s just yoghurt, that’s healthy, right? With neon lighting and stylish decor, Mooch was the outstanding option of all places to take your friends visiting from home, in order to demonstrate just how bougie your new college lifestyle is. But what’s not to love? With over fifty toppings, Mooch was every student’s Willy Wonka fantasy brought to life in the form of an inexpensive snack.
“Their legacy will live on in our hearts and in the hearts of the students who came before us.”
Some may ask what all the fuss is about – surely in a city as diverse and profit-driven as Dublin, there’s bound to be somewhere else that caters to the customers of these brands? And perhaps that’s true – there’s a Tiger in St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre and a Lemon on South William Street and any decent deli will give you a chicken fillet roll. But we haven’t just lost a crêperie, a gift shop or a convenience store. The Dawson demolition is the loss of a student hub, a landmark not for the various tourists that frequent our campus but for the students who simply want somewhere to enjoy their lunch and talk about their day in a welcoming environment. On a street dominated by luxury hotels and shiny big brands, businesses like Mooch, Lemon, and Sprout were defiant in the face of a changing environment and that is what we will always remember them for.
As Maya Angelou once wrote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Freshers to come may never know the joys of running to Lemon between lectures or the soul-obliterating awkwardness of meeting your S2S group in Mooch but their legacy will live on in our hearts and in the hearts of the students who came before us. No-one can replace you all, or the incalculable amount of money we’ve spent within your doors.