The Trinity Twenty

By Rachel O’Leary, Faye Curran and Emer MoreauIllustrations by Wiktoria Witkowska

The coronavirus has put a stop to many things: freshers’ week, in-person lectures, one night stands and your hopes of ever finding true fulfillment. Our society has been pared back to its basics and we are left with only the fundamentals: healthcare, education and – of course – the Trinity 20, the very cornerstone of the way we live our lives today.

When historians look back at this time with shock, awe or wonder, we here at The University Times will be proud that we contributed to the understanding of this turbulent time by bringing to you, our ardent readers, the most carnal aspects of what it means to be human: gossip, drama and pure unadulterated snark.

Whether you’re a bitter hack who has spent years clawing their way through committee meeting after committee meeting only to fall at the last hurdle, or a more seasoned pro who made sure to get in our good books over the last few months, we have nothing to say but this: if you think being on this list makes you feel relevant yet strangely unfulfilled, just imagine how it feels to be the people who put it together.

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1 Eoin Hand

TCDSU President

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When Trinitones director Eoin Hand secured his spot as the all-powerful leader of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU), he decried that all of its council debates would henceforth take place in the style of Pitch Perfect-esque riff-offs. Vomit-inducing, perhaps, but how could you say no to that goofy grin and sumptuous Tipp drawl?

Hand’s mission for the year is simple: get those Hamilton students some microwaves, goddamnit! Communal kitchen appliances are a bad idea in a pandemic, you say? “Pshaw”, says Hand! Only problem now is that online lectures mean there won’t be anyone around to use them.

With no prior experience in the hellhole-of-hacks close-knit community that is TCDSU, Hand probably doesn’t even know what the Trinity Twenty is, and yet here he is atop the list. Regardless, now he is one of us, and has planted himself firmly in the union bubble.

Nowadays, you can find him in House Six, trying to emulate the sound of a microwave by beatboxing, occasionally venturing out to a student protest and declaring himself the most woke fella between here and the Rock of Cashel.

2 Jennifer Waters and Claire Stalhuth

Activists

Typical. Despite all of their activism on campus this year in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and during the Black Lives Matter movement, Waters and Stalhuth have been displaced from the top spot by none other than the very thing they sought to fight against: A Privileged White Male.

But what can we say? Did they fight on behalf of The People to secure microwaves for students in the Hamilton or, more impressively, single-handedly demand that a marquee in Botany Bay be erected for students to use in between all of those in-person lectures that they’re now not going to have? No, we didn’t think so.

The pair merely managed to galvanise the student voice and demand the introduction of a black studies module that will, conceivably, alter people’s historically racist and prejudiced perceptions of the world to this historic, at times immovable, institution.

3 Róisín Ní Haicéid

Founder of Banríon

As founder and frontwoman to Trinity’s latest indie band with a puzzling name, Ní Haicéid has landed on Dublin’s music scene and is ticking all the right boxes to fit in with her fellow alternative music colleagues. With a DIY EP created in a sitting room in Connemara, and song titles written exclusively in lowercase letters, this entry essentially just writes itself.

Ní Haicéid is a high-ranking member of the Arts Block corps, and her mysteriously captioned and posed-but-not-posed Instagram posts are the bread and butter of what it truly means to be part of the you-just-don’t-get-us gang. They’re fashionable – but ethically. They’re welcoming – but will cancel you at the drop of a hat. They’re peacekeepers – as long as the John Gunn vs Conns Cameras debate doesn’t begin. And honestly, despite how much it pains us, they’re just incredibly, incredibly cool.

When it comes to talent and zeal, this rising star has got both in tenfold. As a disability advocate, too, the buck does not stop for Ní Haicéid when it comes to pursuing the things she believes in: a quality needed for anyone with the self-belief to enter the creative scene in a city where the government is likely to demolish the venue while you’re performing in it.

4 Ivan Rakhmanin

Final-year Law and Political Science

After years of being deliberately snubbed, Ivan Rakhmanin has finally shoved his way onto the coveted Trinity Twenty list. A veteran of The University Times and devout member of the most intimidating society to ever grace campus, DUPA, Rakhmanin has had heads turning for the 15 years he has been a student here.

While his luscious black locks and mysteriously pronounced name (we mean really, surely there’s some mistake there), this Russian rockstar has been making waves on campus ever since he first strutted his stuff in those iconic black denim dungarees so many years ago.

Rakhmanin can seriously do it all. When he’s not toting one of his 15 DLSR cameras in hand – because apparently camera bags don’t exist – this middle-aged Lawpol student has managed to further his image of being Trinity’s ultimate bachelor by being the lead guitarist of Banríon.

With his indie band and hoard of DUPA hot girls in tow, Rakhmanin has ticked off every box of being a Manic Pixie Dream Boy. You may not fancy him, but your girlfriend definitely does, so maybe it’s time to invest in that point-and-shoot film camera if you want to compete with this handsome heartbreaker.

5 Rúmba

Grass-cutting machine

Oh how it trundles randomly back and forth! Up and down, and up again. Whoops – wait! – back up, missed a spot! There, there. Ouch! Curb.

It stole our hearts and our lawn, but we forgive it. Just watch it go, like a drunk eejit on a night out at Coppers. Shimmy-shimmy-shimmy bump-bump-bump. Crash! Tree trunk.

Rúmba’s rampage on Fellows Square is a feast for the senses, and if you squint hard enough, it would almost resemble Robot Wars, that robot combat television show, if there was a slow motion, R-rated version. Remember, where remote-controlled robots battled each other to the death in a metal cage? Lights flashing, flames raging, robots crashing into one another, ripping each other to shreds? Wait, back up. It would be great if we could change the settings back to whatever got it to destroy both the lawnmower and the actual handyman who used to push it before it steamrolled in. Oh, Rúmba, you bloodthirsty killer, you.

6 Kate Maher

PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY

You know how the old saying goes: “with great power comes little inclusivity.” This house is no different. But after a series of racist and arguably also sexist – and perhaps even objectively homophobic – unfortunate events, Kate Maher is here to change things.

This year’s Phil will be different – but like, for real this time, for sure. Gone are the days of questionable speakers and contentious topics of debate. This house believes gender is, at this point, probably just made up.

Kicking things off with a bang, Maher has established the new Egbert Udo Udoma Subcommittee in her plight to promote greater inclusivity, and let’s just say that our Facebook comments sections have never been more alive. Hoping to amplify the voices of racial minorities on campus, Maher is keen to revamp the face of the 337-year-old organisation – a task traditionally done with complete and utter ease.

This house wishes her nothing but good luck – and the occasional controversy for us to drain the absolute life out of for multiple news and opinion pieces.

7 Cormac Watson

EDITOR, THE UNIVERSITY TIMES

Editor, my dear Watson. As the old adage goes, those who can’t do, do journalism. And those who can’t do journalism do student journalism. And those who can’t do student journalism? Well, Trinity News still hasn’t responded to our requests for comment.

Endlessly chatty and oh so huggable, Watson wants you to know that he really, really just wants us all to get along. Watch this space: by the end of the year, the staff of The University Times and the Central Societies Committee will be best buds. But don’t be fooled by the charming exterior: Watson is the sleuth who sleeps all day and gossips – we mean, writes – all night, stopping only to pester the GAP to sponsor the paper with hoodies. Cormac Watson doesn’t have friends. He has sources. He’s constitutionally mandated to uncover the biggest beef on campus, whether it concerns the disappearance of the Rúmba or those stuffy people who apparently run Trinity (“the Fellas” or something), or to promise you that he really is a feminist, really.

As well as making the GAP popular again, Watson was practicing self isolation before it was cool, never leaving the paper’s office unless absolutely necessary. Does his annual holiday to Qatar count as necessary? We hear Trinity is all the rage over there these days.

8 Niamh Barry

FILMMAKER

When it comes to Trinity clout, Niamh Barry’s got it all. Got a niche interest? You bet your 120mm film she does! Interesting style? I’ll take your Tola Vintage fleece and raise you an ACAB homemade friendship bracelet!

From picture books to short films, this young creative has been featured in a number of our articles for her innovative work over the past four years. Not only is she keeping film alive, but also our rocky relationship with Dublin’s young artists (we promise DJs, we are really sorry). So, for that, we are eternally grateful.

Barry is a Trinity trailblazer, pioneering a genre of young documentary makers who think their intimate friendship groups are as interesting to the general public as they are to themselves. As a core member of the DUPA cult, Barry has reinvented what it means to be woke. You may think you’re woke, but are you Niamh Barry’s photo series of “Queer Hearts of Dublin” woke?

9 Gabrielle Fullam

Former Events Convenor, College Historical Society

Gabrielle Fullam is so excruciatingly impressive and assured that she fake-ran for the auditorship of the Hist last year and nobody wanted it to be a joke. “Oh? You mean, you’re not actually running?”, Hist hacks across the land asked wearily. “You mean you just really want to hammer that point home that inviting Nigel Farage to receive the society’s gold medal was just a tad questionable and that, yes – shock, horror! – enforcing a strict black-tie dress code is ever so slightly inaccessible?”

“Oh, why yes”, the Hist said, “we suppose we can see how using racial slurs can be, at times, how do you call it, racist”.

So, in light of its Gabi-inspired awakening, the society has gone off and completely reformed from the inside – yes, you guessed it – out. “Thanks Gabi, if it wasn’t for you – literally – we’d have taken another 250 years to see the error of our ways”, the group said in a statement. And then the Hist went off and lived happily ever after, introducing all of the proposals that Gabrielle outlined in her non-campaign campaign, failing to credit her for any of them or make anything in the way of a public formal apology to her! Haha! But they said to pass on their regards and mentioned that they love LOVE the Hands and Knees newsletter by the way!

10 Megan O’Connor

TCDSU EDUCATION OFFICER

Remember when Megan O’Connor was just a sprightly young sabbat-hopeful, donning orange campaign t-shirts and fighting that student fight? Ah, yes, so gone are the days … those sweet, blissful days. Everyone loves orange, right? Right? Last we heard she was shouting down the phone to [insert college officer and/or anyone with some amount of leverage in higher education here] about [insert (a) timetables (b) accommodation (c) futile student spaces (d) that €10 Cormac Watson promised to Revolut her for a sabbats bonding dinner (e) those bloody microwaves Hand promised his voters].

The gal, simply, can’t catch a break. This wasn’t what she signed up for. Nae! She just wanted to make sure that the Trinity Education Project maybe, kind of ran at least a little bit more smoothly than last year. “Is that too much to ask?!?!?!”, she asked us, with a crazed look in her eyes earlier today. Being the only non-presidential sabbat on this list is achievement enough for her, thank you very much, so she has a green light to not respond to your increasingly crazed emails about still not having a timetable until at least January.

If you do happen upon her in House Six, we’d advise you to give her a reassuring nod from a safe two metre distance – just far enough away that you’ll get a good head start when she inevitably chases you out of the building for asking her to fix Trinity’s non-system timetable system.

11 Lauren Boland

editor, trinity news

Earlier this year, Lauren Boland was elected to dedicate her life and soul to Trinity News, then immediately disappeared to write for TheJournal.ie for the summer. Now that she’s back and rearing to go, The University Times might actually have some competition for stories every once in a blue moon.

Trinity News, funded by Trinity Publications, prides itself on being the only source of independent news in Trinity, which seems to suggest that The University Times is in the pocket of TCDSU or something. The only way we’re beholden to TCDSU is Cormac Watson owing Megan O’Connor money for a Xian spice bag.

As far as we’re aware, Boland isn’t in the pocket of Trinity Publications, but as the Trinity News poll for last year’s sabbatical elections show, you’re not wrong until you’re wrong.

12 Ryan Baird

Irish International Rugby Player

We were really stuck for (male) rugby players this year so we managed to pull this one out of the woodwork. He comes nowhere near last year’s Jack Dunne – and that’s a low bar. But then again, what did you expect? This year is a shitshow compared to last year. Hailed as “one of the most promising talents to ever wear a DUFC shirt” by his mammy, if it wasn’t for Jack Dunne, we’re sure he would be the one and only promising talent. More importantly, though, if it wasn’t for our hatred of male rugby players bias, he might even have made it into the top 10. (That, and because we don’t have a shovel big enough to dig the bar 100ft underground – not yet, at least. We’re keeping a close eye on Done Deal.)

13 Bridget Moran

Avid Trinder/Trinfess Poster

What do Bridget Moran, your auntie Noreen and right-wing trolls all have in common? Ding, ding, ding – you guessed it: commenting incessantly on Facebook posts.

While many of us look back fondly on Trinder’s days of glory as a distant memory, the lonely hearts club is still alive and kicking for many of our fellow students, thanks to the backbreaking work of everyone’s favourite Agony Aunt, Bridget Moran.

Whether it’s a case of unrequited romance or just a library lover, this third-year medical student has got you covered, and where would our singles be without her? Who needs rom-coms or even therapy nowadays to teach us how to love and accept one another? It’s 2020 baby. We’re following Facebook comment-section advice blindly from now on!

But yes, we know what you’re thinking. The only thing sadder than sending a Trinder post in 2020 is responding to one. But think of it this way: you could be a lowly student journalist spending multiple hours fervently sifting through your fellow college peers’ social media accounts to make one quick-witted comment on a Trinity Twenty article. (Bridget please, just accept my follow request.)

14 James Johnston and Shane Kenneally

Co-Editors, The Piranha

James Johnston and Shane Kenneally. Yin and Yang. Lennon and McCartney. Dumb and Dumber.

The Piranha is Trinity’s satirical newspaper, offering searing criticism of the College community in the only language students understand: memes. It’s kind of like Waterford Whispers News, except it’s Trinity-specific, and, you know, not as funny.

Johnston and Kenneally will be on hand throughout the year to say the stuff that us serious publications cannot, much of which will take the form of inside jokes unintelligible to anyone outside the Graduates Memorial Building. But don’t worry, they cater for us plebeian outsiders too, with the same five jokes over and over again, swapping names of sabbatical officers and society heads as appropriate. Phil/Hist heads are self-righteously self righteous. Arts students are pretentiously pretentious. Boring Hamilton students are boring. Insert joke about the students’ union over-inflating its importance here. The real challenge is how Johnson and Kenneally will dress up these recycled digs for the pandemic age. Microsoft Paint, anyone?

15 Sophie Furlong Tighe

Editor, Icarus

If you can brand yourself entirely on your initials, you probably belong on this list. Well, that and if you spend hours each week doing free advertising on your Twitter for us here at The University Times. Loyal fans will know of The University Times’s loyalty package, where the platinum level includes personalised content (about the CSC), personalised newsletters (about the CSC) and a place on this list (at the expense of excluding the still-unelected CSC Chair). This platinum access is guaranteed for anyone who refreshes The University Times’s website more than 30 times per hour. And while we don’t have the exact figures for SFT, we can confirm it is unprecedentedly higher than our threshold.

As editor of Icarus, everyone’s favourite magazine to hate-read, SFT will have to finally grapple with the question: can you look down on everything when you yourself are involved in something? And just to confirm: yes, Sophie, this is our way of asking for your number. The CSC content is all foreplay.

16 Alex Clark

JCR President

In the years following this worldwide pandemic, certain men and women will be revered for their contributions to ensuring global safety. People will reminisce about world leaders who braved it through months of turmoil and celebrate celebrities who gave their all on charity Zoom calls.

We must remember, however, to honour those who truly gave up their lives for the betterment of society: doctors, nurses, care home workers, and above all else, Alex Clark, the JCR President.

While many have deliberated over the complexities of mask-wearing and correct sanitation, our dear Alex Clark has had to figure out how to allow incoming freshers to bump and grind to a Drake song from a safe social distance. You may have been stuck in a bed with a ventilator for a month and a half, but the JCR may have to prepare for the potential loss of Hall Ball for the second year in a row. Like, seriously we get that it’s hard, but get some perspective, would you?

Despite it all, we can’t imagine the JCR’s reign of terror will be irreversibly affected by government restrictions. With a leader like Alex Clark, incoming freshers need not worry. Traditions are traditions, and nothing can stop these passionate young dictators from forcing you to join the Overheard At Halls Facebook group just so you can never find one single thing funny about it. Long live never-ending themed events and JCR exclusive red hoodies. Take that virus!

17 Aisling Keller

Trinity Sailor

College students might be famously self pitiful, but sailor Aisling Keller’s story takes the biscuit: after securing Ireland’s place in the Olympics, the sailing gods determined that she wouldn’t be given a shot to take that place, and instead offered it to Rio silver medallist Annalise Murphy. Keller now finds herself in an unlikely position that’s also occupied by up-and-coming alt musicians: trying to convince the establishment to Just Give the Little Guys a Chance.

We’re not saying that the coronavirus pandemic was singlehandedly caused by an aggrieved Trinity sailor who decided that, if she couldn’t represent Ireland at the Olympics, no one could – but we’re not not saying it either. Tokyo 2020 might be off, but you can be damn sure that Keller will continue to train mercilessly in both dinghy sailing and hand-to-hand combat, lest she find herself alone in a room with Annalise Murphy anytime soon.

18 Aoife Breen

Final-year sociology and social policy

Aoife Breen, the creative director of The University Times Magazine is the double-edged-sword kind of person, who is both extremely cool and way too nice for you to hate her for it. Her luscious red locks could stop time, and legend has it she single-handedly made oversized jumpers fashionable.

As a founder of the pandemic-inspired POST magazine, which promised to shine a light on college students’ experience of the coronavirus times, Breen showed us all what we already knew to be true: one, that college students can never meet a deadline, and two, that your input on a subject matter is only interesting to your friends and not to anyone else.

Either way, she said that, if we didn’t put her on the list, she wouldn’t lay out our magazine and, as everyone is well aware, we here at The University Times are willing to compromise on principle, promise and posterity when it benefits us. Welcome to the list, Aoife. Now will you send us on those InDesign mockups you’ve been holding hostage?

19 Gráinne Ní Sheasnáin

Final-year English and History

Hello Twitter friends! I am delighted, honoured and [insert synonym from Thesaurus.com here] to announce that coming in at 19 on the Trinity Twenty is me – yes, really, little old me! – the Rachel Berry of Trinity Twitter! Golly gosh!

Never did I think that the self-congratulatory tweets generated by my personal 18th-century bot would gain me a place on this list, which I swear I didn’t even know existed till this morning! I suppose my little head is always buried too far in a little book (only 1,500 pages!) for me to notice this silly little list!

Although… I suppose my Twitter virality does mean that, maybe, I do deserve my place here. Just a tiny bit. I mean a viral tweet is one thing, but a viral tweet that I constantly reference and rehash? Why, that’s what the people flock to me for!

At least no one can claim I bought my way onto the list – my €3.50 cappuccino habit has made sure that that’s firmly out of the question!

20 Courtney McGrath

Co-founder of Ability co-op

This may come as a shock, so we advise you to lock up your wives and children now. Courtney McGrath, torchbearer of radical inclusion on campus is: [dramatic pause, drum roll, female scream] a BESS student. But before you stop reading this and run for your very lives, that’s not why she made it into this list. God forbid! We’re bad but we’re not that bad.

McGrath hides this deadly sin behind so many commitments to social causes that it’s hard to keep count. (But she can, because she’s a BESS student, remember?) If she’s not helping students with disabilities on campus or chairing TCD Sign Language Society, she’s off co-founding the uber-successful Ability Co-op during lockdown. We can’t count, nor keep up. Good thing she’s a BESS student and not us (thank god).

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