Sep 4, 2018

The Trinity Twenty

By Jake Gilchrist, Aoife Kearins and Matthew MurphyIllustrations by Jack Smyth

We’re back, baby. Like a bout of freshers’ flu, the Trinity 20 returns once again, despite our ongoing bafflement as to its continued popularity. This year we received a record number of messages from College’s narcissists asking when it was coming out (for the record, anyone who asked was immediately cut from the list). Listed below are roughly 20 people we feel are worthy of both toasting and roasting, representing the biggest and best names on campus. Whether as driven and dedicated activists, sporting inspirations or contributors to the Emmy-worthy drama saga that is the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU), each of these people have earned their spot on this list on merit, or because they successfully paid Russian hackers enough money to interfere with our voting system. Either way, they’re worth taking notes from.

1 Oisin Vince Coulter

GSU President

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The first time Oisín Vince Coulter set foot on campus, the editors of this newspaper were still doing their Drumcondras. But, the legend goes, Coulter had a dream. Beardless, scarfless and with none of the staggering pomposity that is now his trademark, he vowed to himself that he would one day “rule this campus”. And, by hook or by crook (more by crook, if we’re honest), that is what he has managed to do.

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Roughly 32 years later, Coulter is now the President of the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU). Ostensibly a representative body for jaded postgraduates, The University Times can exclusively reveal that since June the body has been acting as Coulter’s personal propaganda machine. Shrouding the College in an enormous plume of mind-altering chemicals – otherwise known as the smoke from thousands of Lucky Stripes – Coulter reportedly learned at Lenin’s knee about how to construct a cult of personality. And it’s working. Coulter, we’ve been instructed in a diktat from the GSU, is to be known henceforth as “The Gardener of Postgraduate Happiness”. And with an NKVD-style army of zealous followers at his disposal (would it surprise you to hear Shane De Rís was a member?), we’re certainly not going to argue. His goals this year include single-handedly solving the housing crisis, implementing Socialism in one College and quietly disposing of the smoke-free Trinity brigade in the dead of night (you’ve been warned). It’s been a long, long time coming, but for Coulter, it’s good to be King.

2 David Flood

TCDSU Ents Officer

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We get it. Surfing is cool. Having long hair is also apparently cool, making David Flood probably one of the most totally rad people on campus. Returning from a summer that was partly spent hiking through the wilderness in Scotland alone (this is in fact completely accurate and not just a joke about what wavy surfer boys do during their holidays), this year’s ents officer will have to do without his yearly trip to Morocco to “look up at the stars and think about what the universe holds man”, but will presumably compensate by making every fifth event wave-themed instead.

A man so chill that time seems to stand still around him, Flood will hope to make a splash right away this freshers’ week with six events instead of the usual five – a veritable garden of Eden. His tag-a-friend Facebook competition motto of “I’m feeling #freshtodeath with” will not, you sense, be making it into the Moana 2 script, although given that Flood has reportedly been offered the lead role, you’d never know. Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union’s (TCDSU) finance department, however, will need to keep a close eye on its resident self-styled maverick. Quizzed on the affordability of his ideas, Flood was recently heard to proclaim “talk is cheap man, but the good times aren’t”.

3 Laura Beston

TCDSU Disabilities Officer

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If the Trinity 20 was based not on College influence but on global Twitter entertainment value, then our order would read: 1. @LauraBeston1, 2. @realDonaldTrump. With a social media presence better (and of far more value) than an intoxicated Elon Musk, Laura Beston would be on the list even if her presence was limited solely to online. Luckily for us though, she is also deeply involved in Trinity’s growing activist movement. A constant fixture at last year’s Take Back Trinity protests, she should be commended for her never-say-die attitude, as well as for bravely overcoming the limitations placed upon her by the thickest Mayo accent this side of the Connacht border – or anywhere else for that matter – to lead campaigns for good wherever she finds them.

TCDSU Disabilities Officer for the year ahead, Beston will once again be seeking to make Trinity a better place. Less glamorously, she also happens to be Deputy Sports Editor of Trinity News, a position we assume she only took on in order to further what is by now a dangerous obsession with constantly shouting “Mayo for Sam” at the top of her lungs. In all, we’re pretty sure we haven’t yet seen the Best of Beston. Keep those tweets going Laura. Keep ‘em going.

4 Shane De Rís

TCDSU President

It’s fitting that Shane De Rís’s first mention in this year’s Trinity 20 came contained within the entry of his friend, mentor and father-figure Oisín Vince Coulter. However, Ricey boy, as he loves being called, assures The University Times that he is in fact an important figure in his own right, and that the role of TCDSU President will in fact involve more than him standing outside House Six, pretending to inhale and listening to an exhaustive explanation why it is that Trotsky’s relevance remains undimmed today.

On the contrary, De Rís insists he has plenty of plans for his year as TCDSU President, after narrowly defeating a meme page to the role. The unending black hole of Dublin’s accommodation crisis will command much of his attention, as will the need to steer a steady course through a higher education funding deadlock that shows no sign of abating. Couple these issues with a crippling addiction to horrendous maroon jumpers and other assorted pastel clothing and you have yourself a very interesting year indeed. De Rís, though, as the only one in TCDSU with any idea how to run TCDSU, promises he is on top of everything. Although he’s hardly likely to say anything else, with Coulter’s hand gripping his shoulder.

5 Kate Fahy

Law Soc Auditor

The most fashionable thing we at The University Times have ever done was when we realised that the 2002 Ireland jersey we had been religiously wearing had accidentally come back into style thanks to a Japanese fashion student (see Trinity News’s sports section for further details. That’s the type of thing they like to cover over there). These aren’t, however, problems Kate Fahy faces, with her last fashion disaster likely to have come during said World Cup. As Auditor of Law Soc, the founder of the Styled by Sisters blog takes leadership of a society to whose core demographic of privately-educated Law Heads with annoying accents has been added an influx of fiercely rural fourth-year reps with annoying accents. Coalition of chaos, anyone?

“Fashionable Republican” is usually a phrase you hear as often as “Trinity’s superb administration”, but Fahy is all about subverting stereotypes. To prepare for a long year of leading Law Soc, Fahy – and this is a genuine thing – completed the Bray-Greystones Cliff Walk in heels, which instantly makes her tougher than you. Unsurprising, however, from a woman who grew up in the depths of smuggling country on the Tyrone/Donegal border. With Fahy’s family in the farming business, we hear the Buttery got a great deal on its dairy products this year. After all, you can’t put dye in milk.

6 Conor Reddy and Seán Egan

Take Back Trinity and Students for Justice in Palestine

Mention an iconic duo consisting of Seán and Conor and most minds will turn straight to Seán & Conor Price, those Irish brothers who captured the hearts of the nation when they took part in X Factor. For our own Sean and Conor, Price is what captures in a nutshell the essence of Dublin’s housing crisis, and if those X-Factor twins had any class at all they’d change their name, or at least learn “The Internationale”, the filthy neoliberals, because everyone knows pop culture is a capitalist construct anyway.

They haven’t accepted our friend requests, replied to our e-cards or let us follow their instas, but we live in hope that someday this duo will do us the honour of acknowledging our existence. During their time in Trinity, Reddy and Egan have set themselves apart from other students by foregoing tearing up the town in favour of tearing down posters all over campus. Their contempt for the pro-life movement is matched only by their dislike for this very publication, a dislike manifested in views, comments and other engagement with our platform, which helps us out a lot with the Facebook algorithm. Cheers for that, guys. Keep it up, vive la revolution, and please reply to our messages? We just want to talk.

7 Jessie Dolliver

Chair, Botany Society

The only person who could put “sustainable fashion zine”, “excited” and “capitalist system” in the same tweet and not be mercilessly mocked, Jessie Dolliver has proven throughout her time in Trinity that she’s not like you or me. After a year of being at the forefront of every activist group on campus, Dolliver shows no sign of slowing down this year, with a LinkedIn profile that would make anyone despair at the state of their lives – albeit containing some rather bizarre skills such as puppeteering production. It remains to be seen if these will be put into use in another year of pulling strings all over campus. A prominent member of the All-Ireland Student Activist Network AKA What Are We Angry About Today Dot Com, after success campaigning with repeal, fossil fuel divestment and Aramark off our campus, this year Dolliver plans to take on direct provision. Rumour has it her post-graduation plans involve a solo trip to the ozone layer to physically sew it all up, and if anyone can succeed in that aim, it’s surely this girl – as long as she remembers that this would not be the time to use biodegradable thread.

8 Eleanor O’Mahony

Editor, The University Times

Eleanor O’Mahony is the first independently elected editor of The University Times not to have run unopposed, having overcome stiff competition in the form of Michael McDermott’s Spiderman-based super-campaign. For O’Mahony, however, Trinity’s biggest Russophile, the very concept of a “contested election” is an alien one. Interestingly, McDermott’s interest in the role did wane quickly during the election period, although O’Mahony maintains this had nothing to do with the “visit” her Russian “friends” paid to his house. We’re certainly not saying anything.

Despite juggling a busy part-time job personally advertising Dublin’s extortionately priced student accommodation complexes, O’Mahony has plenty of plans to ensure that The University Times remains in pole position for another “hotly contested” student newspaper of the year award, and has already risked life, limb and journalistic integrity by reporting on House Six’s bigger-than-usual rat problem. The jokes write themselves. With Take Back Trinity set to return as Dublin’s hottest dance contest and growing reports of Coulter roaming the halls of House Six muttering to himself about the revolution, O’Mahony can already smell her next journalistic award. Anybody know what’s the Russian for Pulitzer?

9 Michael McDermott

Founder, Trinity Collidge Facebook page

Michael McDermott says the highlight of his time in Trinity was The University Times’s coverage of his performance during his bid for this year’s TCDSU presidency and editorship of this newspaper (his campaign for the latter revolved around more Spiderman content, something we plan to do our best to honour this year). We can only imagine, therefore, how ecstatic he’ll be when he sees his name in our Trinity 20. It’s no exaggeration to suggest that he’ll feel like a legitimate celebrity. Breathe, Michael. You deserve this.

Despite this list placing him – again – below Shane De Rís, McDermott’s influence on campus is certainly on the up. In the age of memes, Trinity Collidge is the icon for College-related satirical commentary, and Michael McDermott is the brains behind it all. After a campaign that went from “joke” to “serious” in a way that still baffles him, McDermott’s fame exploded further in April when Trinity Collidge became integral to students’ protests against the supplemental exam fee proposal. We even wrote an article about it, and not just for the clicks. Back this year for his PhD, McDermott’s pen remains as sharp as his wardrobe is shabby (something he himself is proud of, we’re not just having a go). And yes, we know he’s funnier than us, before anyone can say it.

10 Niamh Lynch

Editor, Trinity News

As Editor of Trinity News (a publication famous for being Ireland’s oldest and most decrepit student newspaper), Niamh Lynch has big plans, and they don’t just revolve around copying us – although that too. Her office, which we always assumed was just an empty broom closet given the absence of any evidence of human life, has recently become a hive of activity, as Trinity News’s crack team of intrepid reporters plan exactly what freebies they will lure freshers with this year.

Dodgy burrito vouchers aside, Lynch will doubtless be all over Take Back Trinity again this year, mainly because 95 per cent of her staff are members of the group, but also due to quality sourcing and objective journalism. As a history student, Lynch knows all about the values of the free press, and there is no case at all to be made that she helms a newspaper most readily analogous to Pravda. The growing commercialisation of College will also be put under the spotlight, and certainly not as a vehicle through which Lynch and her motley crew can express their rabidly left-wing opinions. Journalism, eh?

11 Ben Ó Coimin

JCR President

This year’s JCR President, Ben Ó Coimín, is the latest in a long line of straight, white males putting their surnames into Irish in order to pretend they’re part of a minority. With an election campaign centred almost entirely around the hysterical confusion of the Trinity Education Project, it remains to be seen if Ó Coimín will be equipped to deal with the trials and tribulations triggered by his ego of Truly Epic Proportions. With a dubious choice of degree, an even more dubious haircut and a gaze fixed firmly on the stratosphere, Ó Coimin seemingly has all the qualities required to succeed in his role. Hey, if Shane De Rís can do it…

Election time is always full of scandal, but what truly made last year’s JCR Hunger Games special was the inclusion of an interesting tactic by O Coimin himself, with the release of his election single “I Want To Be Your President”. Backed by a ukulele, this tune won the hearts of the electorate by showing the Trinity Hall community that O Coimín was just like them: full of notions.

12 Sorcha Ryder

President of the Phil

Sorcha Ryder is this year’s head of the University Philosophical Society (the Phil). For all you freshers, that’s the one without the odd fixation on inviting fascists to speak, and no proven record of financial impropriety – emphasis on “proven”. Extortion is more the Phil’s scene, a society better than any other at the semi-enthusiastic, semi-threatening freshers’ week sales pitch to which so many first years succumb every year. There’s €4 you’ll never see again, but at least you no longer have to avoid those creepy eyes that stare right into your soul as they explain to you exactly why debating isn’t actually boring at all.

As a McDonald’s employee, Ryder will have learned many skills that will certainly stand her in good stead as Phil top dog, most usefully – given the Phil’s ongoing rat problem – the ability to ruthlessly dispose of rodents. With Paddy P’s hired goons private security now well versed in the art of locking students inside a variety of campus buildings, Sorcha can avail of their services as she kettles this year’s committee inside the Graduates Memorial Building (GMB), threatening them with violence, blackmail and the end of their job prospects in PWC as she continues to search for the infamous rat.

13 Shubhangi Karmakar

Founder, Repealist

Unless you spent the last year in a cave – no judgements from us, we hear the Hamilton is lovely this time of year – you will have seen the fruits of Karmakar’s labour adorning the neck of any self-respecting repeal activist. The Anna Cosgrave of the neckwear business, Karmakar made sure we got bodily autonomy and looked damn fine doing so. When she isn’t busy saving women everywhere, Shubhangi is saving literal lives. No, we’re not talking about her career in medicine. Rather her joyous Twitter feed, which is followed by the good, great and ugly (we’re looking at you TCDSU) of Irish social life.

While her dedication to self-care makes you want to hug yourself, she will need to adopt a hard line this year as treasurer of the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) in order to ensure OVC doesn’t spend the entire budget on keffiyehs. An almost impossible task all in all, but if anyone can save us from this new trend, it’s Karmakar.

14 Colm Hogan

FINAL YEAR law and French

This year’s poster boy for Trinity Sport, Colm Hogan has already been made to feature in 20 promotional photoshoots over the summer, all of which have featured the captain of Dublin University Football Club (DUFC) standing with his arms folded and his legs as far apart as DUFC’s rugby shorts allow. It must be tough for Hogan to juggle the photoshoots with his summer internship at PwC – his involvement with the PwC-sponsored Irish under-20s can’t have helped his application at all. Seriously, what a crazy coincidence. However, after a year in Toulouse, Hogan returns to take on the mantle of captaincy, as the side look to survive another year in the top flight of Irish rugby. It will not be an easy task for a man whose blood runs Munster red. Perhaps head coach Tony Smeeth will allow Hogan to inspire his teammates with his own personal rendition of “La Marseillaise”. Marchons, marchons!

15 Marie Louise O’Callaghan

CEO, Student Managed Fund

After we sat down to plan our ideal CV, we realised that we’d in fact just replicated Marie Louise O’Callaghan’s. Back after a year in Paris – which you definitely wouldn’t be able to tell from her Facebook profile as only one in every eight photos features an iconic Parisian monument – she returns to Trinity where she will act as CEO of Trinity big boys investing in stuff club Student Management Fund (SMF). Having previously served as head of the Women in Business Network, she will now become the first female CEO of the society. She deserves huge praise for this, but will warrant even more if she maintains SMF’s investment strategy – its third biggest portfolio allocation is currently in Apache. It may not look like it from the over-zoomed and greyscale headshots on their website, but it is comforting to know that even students like Marie Louise still have a soft spot for takeaway pizza.

16 Chris Meaney

Ents Officer, Cumann Gaelach

This list wouldn’t be complete without our token Gaelgeoir, but this year marks a departure from tradition: this is the first time our token Gaeilge guy can’t actually speak Irish. Chris “tá craiceáilte orm” Meaney is this year’s Cumann Gaelach Ents Officer. Despite not having enough Irish to get back onto Scéim, he remains the Cumann’s resident cool guy by being the mastermind behind the wildly successful Samhain and rejecting Irish grammar. With a personality almost entirely composed of cans in the Pav, “tá mé Chris” is the personification of sesh culture, and thought Modh Coinníollach was someone he met in the smoking area. If anyone is going to make Irish accessible and “down with the kids”, surely it’s this guy. As long as he can ignore the reproachful eyes of Douglas Hyde following him around campus, a lone tear running down his cheek, as Chris once again refuses to acknowledge that verb tenses exist outside of English.

17 Luke Rynne Cullen

Founder, Applaud Events

Luke Rynne Cullen hasn’t changed his clothes in six months now as he bounces, suit-clad, from meeting to meeting trying to grow his TES Dragons’ Den-winning company, Applaud. Rumour has it he named it after what he expects you to do if he walks past you in the Arts Block, though given that he apparently attended one lecture all last year, good luck spotting him. Currently in Trinity’s Launchbox accelerator, Cullen’s company aims to create a platform to help with booking musicians for an event, an ingenious way of masking the fact that he will be engaging in the shameless self-promotion of acts he is involved in without respite. With a poster of Hozier in his room that he prays to every night before he goes to sleep, the Auditor of Trinity Orchestra has done the nearly impossible in convincing national media (if not students) that his orchestra is in fact cool. We know. And as a key member of David Flood’s ents brigade, it seems Cullen is only just starting to build up to his grand crescendo.

18 Mary Kate Slattery

FINAL-YEAR Law

The Trinity 20 now has more lawyers than an episode of Suits, but as numerous members of this list will doubtless tell you, all journalists are spineless representatives of the corporate class, bent on furthering the agendas and careers of the capitalists of tomorrow. Also Mary Kate Slattery threatened to punch us if we didn’t put her on the list, and given her inexorable rise through the big bad world of boxing (documented exhaustively – and exhaustingly – on the Instagram of one of Trinity’s biggest influencers, if you’re interested), we were never going to say no. Besides, the link between law and Mary Kate Slattery is about as strong as the link between The University Times and the gym – non-existent, we’re never there. As a genuinely inspiring figure, you could argue that Slattery has no place on this list, but Fulfill Nutrition promised us €500 to put her on and we’re not in a position to be refusing that kind of cash.

19 Andy Keenan

Director, Trinitones

Andy Keenan likes to think of himself as some sort of messianic figure, his Trinitones a merry band of post-ironic disciples (Keenan has no idea what that means, but it certainly sounds good in his head). We prefer to think of him, however, as more akin to a poor man’s pied piper. When he skipped into Trinity he attempted, with all the charisma of a failed candidate for communications and marketing, to summon around him his own singing troupe. “Boys, boys”, he cried gaily at a rapidly emptying Arts Block, “come with me and let us divine the gods with our sweet voices”. Given, however, that he was using his mouth as a clarinet and his outfit made him look like he was attending his first teenage disco, Keenan achieved little success. If you can’t beat them, he decided, audition for them until they get so sick of your wheedling that they give in and let you join. And that is how Andy Keenan became director of the Trinitones.

20 Lauren McDonals

Chair, Trinity Musical Theatre Society

Freshers take heed, because at the head of Trinity Musical Theatre Society (TMT) sits Queen Mothy, the Sesh Moth, occasionally – and erroneously – known as Lauren McDonald. Yet to be knocked off her perch, this wine mom has perfected the art of recording Attenborough-length Snapchat documentaries of her nights out, as she leads her equally wild crew of friendly Northerners on a conquest of Dublin’s nightclubs. Rumours abound that this devotee of the sesh is in fact a fourth-year law student, though this is unconfirmed and sightings of her at lectures remain equally fantastical. Now entering final year, McDonald is the proud recipient of a record number of letters from a law school still trying to figure out where the hell she’s been for the last three years. Using her carefully-curated social media as a source, our guess would be using her student loan to keep Belfast’s nightlife alive.

Correction: 18:17, September 4th, 2018
An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated that Jessie Dolliver is the Chair of Bio Soc. In fact, she is the Chair of Botany Society.

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