What: A week-long special series of events to mark 250 years of the College Historical Society of Trinity College Dublin, more commonly known as The Hist. Hist250 Week will run from March 2nd to 6th and will tackle the big questions of our time. Expert speakers will address issues such the climate crisis, sustainable development, the European project post-Brexit, and the future of Ireland.
The week will be officially opened by President Michael D Higgins on Monday March 2nd at 8pm in the Examination Hall with an address following the Edmund Burke International Student Debate. The week will close with the launch by the Chancellor of the University Professor Mary McAleese of the first full history of the Society by Professor Patrick Geoghegan and a Hist250 exhibition in the Long Room, Trinity College Library, on Friday March 6th at 6pm. This will be followed by the Hist250 Gala Dinner in the Dining Hall.
Key speakers during the week include:
- Chief Justice Frank Clarke on Tuesday March 3rd on Tuesday March 3rd at 8.30pm in the Examination Hall
- Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, former Presidents of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and Romano Prodi, former President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, and former Secretary-General of the European Commission Catherine Day on Wednesday March 4th at 1pm in the Edmund Burke Theatre.
- Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Oxford and Director of the International Growth Centre Sir Paul Collier, former Secretary-General of Amnesty International and Executive Director of Greenpeace from 2009 – 2015 Kumi Naidoo and former President of Ireland Professor Mary Robinson on Thursday March 5th at 6.15pm in the Graduate Memorial Building.
On Friday March 6th newly commissioned portraits by Mick O’Dea RHA will be introduced and unveiled. The portraits are of Dr Mary Harney, ex Auditor; Dr Frederick Boland, ex-President; Dr Conor Cruise O’Brien, ex-President; Dr Owen Sheehy Skeffington, Gold Medallist; and Dr Jaja Wachuku, Silver Medallist.
Programme: Full details of the programme are at: https://www.tcdhist.com/hist250. Most of these events are free and open to the public. Please register via the links in the programme
About the College Historical Society:
The College Historical Society met for the first time on the 21st March 1770, almost exactly 250 years ago. Inspired by Edmund Burke’s Club of 1747, the Hist was founded to cultivate “History, Oratory, and Composition”. From that time, members of the Hist have been prominent leaders in politics, in literature, and other fields.
The Irish Rebellion of 1798 was led by Wolfe Tone (Auditor 1785), and that of 1803 led by Robert Emmet, another member of the Society. Other members included Young Irelanders Thomas Davis (Auditor 1838) and John Blake Dillon (President 1840). Isaac Butt (Auditor 1834) was the first leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party. Edward Carson (Librarian 1876), was a founder of the Unionist Party, while Douglas Hyde (Medallist in Oratory 1887 and History 1888, President of the Hist) founded the Gaelic League and became the first President of Ireland. It’s clear that Hist members were active across all sides and divides, joined by the common desire to improve themselves and wider society.
The Hist also attracted many writers and scholars: from Charles Maturin, Thomas Moore, Sheridan Le Fanu and Bram Stoker to Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett. The historian William Lecky (Medallist in Oratory in 1859) represented Trinity in the House of Commons and Sir William Rowan Hamilton MRIA, attended many meetings in the 1840s when he was a Fellow and Professor of Astronomy. For 250 years the Hist has explored all the major questions of the day challenging the minds of its members, who in turn challenged the ideas of visiting speakers. It has vindicated Thomas Davis’s claim for The Utility of Debating Societies in Remedying the Defects of a University Education. Hist250 aims to celebrate and reflect on this rich history and sustain the Society’s legacy into the future.