A survival guide to college ball season

Ria Walls reflects on a range of Trinity’s most-anticipated social events this year

Buy your overpriced dresses, find those bow ties and dig out your heels that cut your ankles—because it’s college ball season! The past few months have been bustling with balls left right and centre; from ones hosted on campus, to hotels, to even castles. Clubs and societies at Trinity have left us hungover and penniless from the surge of formalities. It can be tough to balance your social life alongside college, but a work-life balance is essential to a well-rounded university experience. I spoke to a range of people from across campus about the different events they have attended, as well as a few upcoming formals this ball season. 

Med Ball 

The 6th of February saw the Medicine Ball. With tickets priced at €65, attendees were instructed to dress for an Alice in Wonderland theme. Hosted at the Knightsbridge Hotel in Meath, the general consensus was that the food wasn’t great overall—but then again most memories of the night are pretty foggy. With chicken caesar salad for starter, chicken with gravy for main and profiteroles for dessert, I don’t know who could be disappointed. Med students agreed that it was a very fun night, with a photographer, a DJ and a band, but voiced disappointment at the lack of free wine. Despite this, they danced the night away in the countryside.

Source: Ellen Ayerst

Hockey Colours Ball

On February 9, after a morning of matches (my team lost), the male and female teams of both Trinity College and UCD attended the annual Hockey Colours Ball. This year it was hosted in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dún Laoghaire. I was in attendance, and I have been trying to piece together my memories in order to give an accurate account of the evening. The tickets were only €45, which was a great deal as we got a three-course meal. The meal was good from what I can remember, with soup for starter, chicken for the main and profiteroles for dessert. Come to think of it, there was a constant supply of bread on the table, which significantly helped us to sober up enough to act respectfully. There were DJs for the evening but due to their lack of taking requests, a number of us headed to Coppers for the remainder of the night. The theme was black-tie, and the majority of girls opted for shorter cocktail dresses rather than ball gowns. 

BESS Ball 

The annually held BESS Ball was located at Killashee House, Naas this year on February 17. Tickets were significantly expensive, at €70 for DUBES members and €75 for non-members. Those who I spoke to stayed the night at the hotel, making a trip of it. They thoroughly enjoyed the prinks in the room beforehand and the spa the next day. The food was rated as average, with a dry chicken for the main. With a casino-meets-James Bond theme, there were casino tables and games throughout the venue for attendees to enjoy. What’s better than drunk College students gambling? The music provided was from DUDJ, who never fail to impress with their sets. Unfortunately, the staff asked everyone to leave before 2am, cutting the night short, but overall it was one to remember. 

Source: Orla Downey and Lily Jennings

Law Ball 

On February 23 our future lawyers made the voyage to the Knightsbrook Hotel in Meath as they prepared for the 2022 Law Ball. Speaking to students about the night, several booked into the hotel, meaning they had a room to get ready in. Unfortunately for some, the hotel room photoshoots lasted so long that they missed the free drinks reception. On par with the majority of other balls, the food was eaten so quickly by drunken students that they can’t remember what it was like. The black-tie event hosted awards such as Law King and Queen, and the classic People-Who-Should-Stop-Messing-and-Just-Get-Together. With a DJ providing music, they danced the night away until the buses departed for Dublin. 

Source: Kylie Quinn 

Sailing Ball

This year’s Sailing Ball took place on February 26 at the Royal St. George Yacht Club, Dún Laoghaire. With tickets pricing at an affordable €40-45, those attending enjoyed what was described as a delicious meal before partaking in a raffle and listening to a few speeches. There was music and dancing after dinner, followed by more drinking and partying afterwards in Doyle’s—what better way is there to end your night than in the iconic Doyle’s? 

Source: Jacques Mathieu 

Players Ball 

March 2 saw those of the drama society take to Workman’s Cellar for the Players’ Ball. I went with my flatmates and it was one of the most relaxed and enjoyable balls, taking place in a club rather than the usual hotel or castle—the night consisted of dancing without the formalities of a three-course meal. The theme was “The Lost Kingdom of Atlantis”, and I saw a range of green dresses resembling mermaids, a Neptune, some crabs, and even pirates. With tickets priced at €35, it was an absolute steal, especially as there was seemingly endless pizza for the night. I mean massive pizzas: 20-inch boxes. The highlights of the night for me were the artists who performed: it ranged from DJs such as the talented Puzzy Wrangler, to drag queens Pluto and Viper, to rap artist Ahmed, With Love.

Pharmacy Ball 

Organised by the DUPSA committee, the Pharmacy Ball took place on March 3 in Clontarf Castle. This black-tie event hosted the theme of “A Night in Hollywood”, with table props, a sweet cart, a photo booth, and even a red carpet. With tickets at €60, ball-goers claimed the food was average at best, but the music made up for it. A band called Waxies played classic sing-along tunes before a DJ took over and played until late. There were plenty of photo opportunities to be had, with a professional photographer, a fairy light wall and LED letters spelling “TCD” to pose beside.

Source: Katie McGoldrick

Snow Ball 

March 4 saw a reunion of skiers as DU Snowsports hosted the Snow Ball. Located at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Dublin, attendees were encouraged to dress for the wedding-themed night. We saw a range of outfits, from crazy aunts in fancy headpieces, to a group of unplanned bridesmaids matching in the classic pink Zara dress. A lucky couple was voted to be the bride and groom, and they got to cut a fancy tiered wedding cake. From what I can remember, the food was very mediocre, with a mere tomato and some cheese thrown on top for starters. After devouring the minimalistic feast, we scrambled to the dance floor to listen to Jack Joyce and the Beanstalks play before DUDJ took over for the remainder of the night. 

If you’re reading this and you haven’t yet attended a ball, fear not! There are several yet to happen. If you’re lucky enough you might be whisked off to the Radisson Blu to attend the Red and Black Ball: this black-tie event will be happening on March 19th, with DUDJ providing the tunes. If rugby isn’t your thing, the STEM Ball is happening on the 15th of March at Mount Wolseley Hotel in Carlow. And we can’t forget the famous Trinity Ball, which is taking place on April 22nd!