Where to? Your city-by-city guide to student life
from nightlife to sporting and cultural activities, every college's identity is shaped, in part, by its host city. Here's what some of the cities have to offer
Plassey House and quadrangle at the University of Limerick
Galway Mayo Institute of Technolgy
Cork Institute of Technology library
The student centre at University Colege Cork
An embarrassment of social riches to be plundered in the nation’s capital, so let’s begin in the very middle: Trinity College Dublin.
What’s hot? Trinity is in the heart of the city, with a variety of hot spots to choose from for lunch or a night out. Of course, you will probably become a creature of habit and find your own regular place. It’s not all about the life outside the walls of Trinity. The campus is filled with benches, couches and even windowsills that you can make your own. Even the library can be a good social spot during busy periods, but try not to talk too loudly.
What’s not? There is no student centre here, which can be a pain. Even though students make do with all the corners college has to offer, a student centre would make social interactions a lot less scattered and fragmented.
Where to hang out: On campus students hang around the arts block, the JCR, the Pav and society rooms. On nice days they venture outdoors to the cricket pitch and Fellows Square. Off campus, each student would have their own preference, but MacTurcails, Doyles, the Gingerman and the Longstone are regular haunts.
Where to eat: It’s all about the burrito wars between Tolteca, Burritos and Blues, and Pablo Piccante’s. Everyone goes to KC Peaches and O’Briens for sandwiches, Costa for coffee, Captain America’s for a long lunch and Yum Thai for a quick lunch.
What to avoid: Avoid Avoca at 1pm, fast-food restaurants and places that have meal deals that cost more than €8 – you’re a student, remember.
(We know it’s not in Dublin, but it is in Dublin’s orbit)
What’s hot? Even though Maynooth is very handy to Dublin, you may never need to hop on that train. The town of Maynooth is a unique university town: you can feel the student atmosphere through the buzz around its bars and cafes.
What’s not? If you left an oppressive small town in search of anonymity, you won’t
necessarily find it in this university town.
Where to hang out: The students’ union venue and bar is one of the main sources of entertainment and activities, with all sorts of acts passing through the doors for half the price of regular shows. Acts in the past have included Calvin Harris, Bressie, Kodaline and Tinchy Stryder. The Union has also hosted comedy gigs with big names such as Des Bishop and Neil Delamere. Downtown Maynooth also has a number of pubs and clubs with bands and entertainment. Students also regularly take the opportunity of late night trips to Tesco, which is open 24 hours. The new library is a very popular option, with bean bags and couches; Starbucks in the foyer is also a hit. Phoenix, the student restaurant, and Chill are popular options for people looking for a bite to eat. Unfortunately, there’s no cinema. The closest is at Liffey Valley.
Where to eat: On the north campus the Phoenix restaurant, in the SU Chill, the John Hume building has an O’Brien’s sandwich bar and the arts block has a very handy coffee station – if you are bringing in your lunch there is a common room with wifi and plenty of seats. Head over to the south campus and you’ll find yourself in the impressive, old-world charms of Pugin Hall.
What to avoid: It used to be hard to get a cheap lunch in Maynooth, but, under pressure from students, establishments both on and off the campus have lowered their prices somewhat. You’ll need to shop around, though.
What’s hot? The new UCD student centre, “Ireland’s favourite building” (winner of the Public Choice Award in this year’s Irish Architecture Awards, voted for by the public), has a 3D cinema showing everything from blockbusters to arthouse movies, a theatre, debating chamber, radio hub, societies spaces, gym, fitness classes and an Olympic sized pool.
What’s not? The often-remixed dance music played in the gym.
Where to hang out: The Global Lounge: an indoor entertainment hub whose wall of screens beams in over 350 international TV stations, and is often home to life-size gaming nights with Xbox Kinect.
Where to eat: Pulse cafe in the health sciences centre has great hot and cold food options.
What to avoid: The queues outside the door of Reader’s Deli in the library building at five past one.
Dublin City University
What’s hot? It’s handy enough to the city centre but not so handy that students want to traipse in every week – as a result there’s a pretty good scene on campus. Clubs and societies are big deal in DCU – from drama and dance to tea and Harry Potter. There’s also a huge venue on campus that holds up to 1,800 people being entertained by the likes of Kodaline, Des Bishop and Calvin Harris.
What’s not? Paying €2.25 for the bus into town. The library’s location at the end of campus, so close yet so far away.
Where to hang out: Students mainly hang out in the Nubar, the canteen, the Mezz and the students’ union.
Where to eat: The canteen/restaurant is pretty good value and there are cafes in most buildings dotted around campus. Aside from multiple on-campus restaurants like the canteen and Nubar, off campus there is Weldons Bar on the Ballymun Road as well as Andersons just down the road off Griffith Avenue.
What to avoid: Avoid getting the bus at rush hour. Avoid walking to the Omni shopping centre when it’s raining. Avoid getting the 16 when you need to get the 16a.
What’s hot? There is a pub, club, bar and restaurant on the doorstep of every single campus. Getting involved in a club or society is also a good way to try new things without spending lots of money. Make a note of DIT’s clubs and societies sign-up week: September 23rd- 27th, 2013.
What’s not? DIT will next year start the move to the Grangegorman campus, so there could be some uncertainty about where to hang out during the changeover. At the moment though, students at a DIT campus can use facilities at other campuses in the city (like Fit2Go gyms in Bolton Street and Kevin Street).
Where to hang out Most campuses have a student area. DIT Aungier Street has a good-sized students’ union common area with pool tables, table tennis, PCs and a shop. There’s Cafe Java just upstairs.