College Characters: The Tourist

Suzanne Flynn describes the Old Library-dwellers of Trinity

“Hi, ummm… can I ask you a quick question?” 

You try to ignore them, you keep your head down. You saw the selfie sticks and the Trinity College Dublin hoodies from a mile away, but you couldn’t run. They were blocking your path to education. Or were you in the way of their once-in-a-lifetime tourist experience? 

“Hello? Hey sweetie I just want to ask one thing!” You look up begrudgingly, and they smile at you, clutching their Wacky Woolies umbrellas, and ask you their burning question: “Is this place an actual college? Like, do real students still go here?” 

“Flags and selfie sticks proudly held high, warding off students from actually accessing bathrooms that were built for student use”

You gasp and run past them pretending you didn’t hear it. Fighting back the urge to scream, you sprint to the arts block, only to be met with more of their kind who are happily photographing seagulls like they’re models at Paris fashion week. The seagulls squawk at the tourists in glee. Finally! Someone understands their art! Passing the entrance to the Book of Kells, you notice some tourists in floods of tears after they realise the book itself has been temporarily moved, their image of Ireland forever tainted, while others fight for their right to pay in pounds and to receive a veteran’s discount.  As you fight your way through the crowds to get inside the building, just when you think you’re safe, you spot more of them, lining up in the queue to the bathrooms, with flags and selfie sticks proudly held high, warding off students from actually accessing bathrooms that were built for student use. 

The tourists know no bounds and make themselves comfortable everywhere on campus. You reluctantly step into the library thinking you HAVE to be safe there, of all places. Setting down your belongings in the Berkeley pit, you feel secure. But then suddenly, you hear a familiar sound. Is that… cameras clicking? You make the mistake of looking up, and there they are. On a tour. Of the library. They ogle at you and talk loudly amongst themselves, completely enthralled with the architecture of the building and the fact they get to see actual students doing actual academic work (or so they think). 

“They’ll tell you they’re tourists before you even see them.”

Spotting the tourists is easy work. They’ll tell you they’re tourists before you even see them. Some of them will wear t-shirts bearing the quirky slogan “I didn’t get my Hogwarts letter, so I came to Trinity instead”. Others will shake their fists angrily at you as you “skip” the queue at front gate to actually get to a class on time. In a rather memorable personal experience, some tourists will try to recruit you to become a United Airlines Air Hostess. The bad news is, there is no escape. Even those in Goldsmith and TBSI will have the odd tourist or two mulling around taking pictures and writing notes on their “Irish experience”. 

My advice to you all: Hide. Nowhere is safe. Pack up your belongings and switch to UCD, if you can escape the cheerful crowds inevitably blocking all of the exits, that is. 

Suzanne Flynn

Suzanne Flynn is the current Deputy Life Editor for Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister Law and German student.