The ‘unofficial guide’ to UCD for new ag students

Over 300 young farmers will start agricultural science in UCD this year. But what advice can former graduates offer to the next generation?

Interacting with the ‘Natives’

For those not familiar with Dublin, you will soon realise that the capital has multiple accents.

At first, you will be looking around for a translator, but don’t worry though, the natives are friendly folk and you will soon catch on to the different dialects.

Be careful of the Range Rover drivers though, they may seem agricultural but the only mart they attend is Donnybrook Fair. Please note approaching these individuals to speak about the price of cattle is a ‘no-no’.

Don’t spend the grant all in one week!

Please, please, please do not give Joe Duffy further reason to complain about ‘country folk’ getting the grant ahead of the city slickers.

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Use your grant wisely; the chicken fillet rolls and Guinness will still be around at the end of the year, but your grant may not.

Put it to good use and prepare a budget and make sure you have the price of the bus home after your first week in the ‘big shmoke’.

Try not to wear your county colours every day (and stand out as an absolute muck savage)

More difficult for some than others, but if you want to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb in the ‘burbs around UCD, this advice should be considered.

For those who find it difficult to wean themselves away from the county strip, many nightclubs in Dublin organise ‘County Colour’ nights where you can wear your colours with pride.

A few unscrupulous characters from counties known for poorer land types will abandon their county colours to pledge their allegiance to Waterford or Tipperary!


The best advice is to get a place early. It’s never a good idea waiting until the last minute or you may well end up on a couch or in a garage for the year.

Try and find accommodation as close to UCD as possible.

Clonskeagh, Stillorgan, Donnybrook or Goatstown are generally best – less money spent on buses and more for beer.

Most importantly, never hesitate to contact someone who has been there and done that.

They will be quick to offer advice on where to live and may even know of unadvertised vacancies in properties (such as Dualla) that have been in ag students’ hands for years.

Join Agsoc (other societies are available, but none are as good!)

If you are looking to find a boyfriend/girlfriend, drinking buddies or even like-minded people to talk about the price of lamb, you are sure to find them in the Ag Society.

And when you’ve joined, the mystery tour is a must. What mother wouldn’t love the idea of having no idea where there darling child is? In fact, you will be lucky to have an idea yourself!

AgSoc offers young farmers with an appetite for milk the ideal event – the milk race. The idea of consuming copious volumes may seem unheralded, but the craic will be mighty.

Join a sports club

You’re about to start the unhealthiest period of your life, so give your body a chance and join a sports club.

You’ll need the exercise to work off some of the chicken fillet rolls. An added bonus is that a good Gaelic footballer is loved in Coppers!

If you are lucky enough you could win an All-Ireland title in Fresher C, which is a cross between Junior C and death dodging.

Chicken fillet rolls and mammy’s dinner

700 chicken fillet rolls, 150 pizzas and countless takeaways will really make you appreciate mammy’s dinner – make sure you go home and let her know by raiding the presses on a Sunday evening.

The lunch-time rush to Centra is akin to the loaves and fishes and you will find yourself picking your jaw up off the floor with the efficiency at which chicken fillet rolls are dished out.

For those with a larger single farm payments, other establishments are available (see Donnybrook Fair above).

Nathan Carter and his Wagon Wheel

One thing you are guaranteed to learn during your time in UCD are the words of ‘Wagon Wheel’.

On occasion, UCD ag students on tour traveled to see the Liverpool-native perform.

However, plan your route carefully to avoid any marts on the way home. The sight of a ram grazing the front lawn may not go down too well with your landlord…or at least past students have found.


As for how much studying you should be doing during the year, UCD ags have a reputation to use the library for just two weeks each year, and much to the annoyance of other students…hog the photocopier for these two weeks also.


First year exams may seem daunting but, don’t worry, we have a man on the inside in the form of Dr. Alan Hunter.

This man is a legend amongst past UCD students as he runs the show at the RDS (exam show that is, not the Horse Show).

His advice prior to your exams will ease you into the process and don’t be surprised if the only thing you remember from the exam will be his comical comments, which include:

There will be inspections on random desks….Remember we will be coming up from behind.

“When you go to the bathroom you will be asked to turn out your pockets. Make sure it’s just your pockets that come out.”

Peer Mentor And Orientation

If UCD still seems incredibly daunting, don’t worry there are supports in place to ensure that you settle into third-level education. The peer mentors will act as your guides during your first year in college.

UCD is a big campus but the peer mentors, who will guide you through the campus, will show you how to read your timetable and arrange meetings to make sure you’re getting on okay.

These meetings will also allow you get to know people in your year and make friends.