Trinity College’s new agricultural society is like ‘no udder’

TCD’s agricultural society bills itself as “like no udder”.

Founded 12 months ago by: Eimhear Shortall; Conor Stapleton; Nathan O Bradaigh; Donal O Siodhachain; Michael Ryan; Michael McAndrew; Clare Colgan; Brendan Kelleher; and James O’ Connor, it is a farming-focused group that is taking off in the city centre.

The Dublin University (DU) Agricultural Society, or AgSoc as it is commonly known, was set up by the group of first years after a few short months of their arrival on campus.

It aims to: promote agriculture; develop an understanding for those interested in agri business; provide a platform for agricultural activities; and encourage an appreciation of the importance of agriculture.

Conor Stapleton – who is from a dairy farm in Vicarstown, Co. Laois, and who is studying medicine – was one of the driving forces.

“Hailing from all parts of the country, the members of this group identified the lack of an outlet for people from farming backgrounds to meet – and thought that something should be done to change that.

We wanted to create a space for people from the country to meet and make friends, which can be a big help for those moving to the ‘big smoke’ for the first time.

“This began the formal process of attaining college recognition for what was to become AgSoc. The forming of the society was met with a positive response across the campus,” said Conor, who was last year’s treasurer and is now taking over as chairperson.

“With over 200 members since its formation, the society is going from strength to strength. One of the main highlights of this year was the mobile farm on campus. With the help of Wooly Ward’s farm, llamas, pigs, hens and rabbits all paid a visit to the college community,” said Conor.

Activities over the past year included: a trip to the National Ploughing Championships; a visit to the organic gardens at Aras an Uachtarain; a walk and talk with Teagasc; and an agriculture-related debate.

A farming background isn’t required to join – all students are encouraged to attend events. “There are a good few members from the cities of Ireland and even members from overseas who are studying in the college, especially America,” Conor said.

“Next year we hope to go on a tour to see some of the farms of Ireland, have more speakers to the college and we hope to see the return of the farm to campus.”

The committee members for the coming year are: Conor Stapleton, chairperson; Robert Lynch, secretary; Eimhear Shortall, PRO; Nathan O Bradaigh; Donal o Siodhachain; Michael Ryan; Fergal Guihen, treasurer; and Emily Kennedy, events. Anyone interested in learning more about the society can view the group’s Facebook page here.