The National Maidens Debating Competition…

April 3, 2009

National Maidens is the biggest novice debating competition in Ireland, where first years from all major institutions compete individually. Its location rotates each year, so every university in Ireland has a chance to host the contest. This year it came to Trinity, where it was co-hosted by the Phil and our friends in the Hist, and took place on Friday the 2nd and Saturday the 3rd of April. The Phil’s freshers performed strongly, with Andrew Linn and Shauna Maguire both reaching the semi-finals. Ultimately, the final – on the topic of microchipping individuals at birth – was won by Dearbhla O’Gorman from UCD’s Literary and Historical Society, with the runner-up prize going to UCC Philosoph’s John Beechinor. The competition was of a very high standard, and all speakers are to be congratulated!


Phil’s ‘Philander Magazine’ shortlisted for the Student Media Awards

April 2, 2009

The Phil annually produces a magazine for its members ‘the Philander‘ which advertises the socity’s activities to new members. This year’s Philander Magazine was shortlisted for the 2009 Student Media awards in the categories of ‘Best Magazine’ and ‘Best Society Publication’. Congradulations are due to the society Librarian David Adamson who designed and edited the magazine over the summer whilst in San Francisco. His thanks are extended to society Registrar Kiera Healy for her extensive contribution, the Phil council (led by former society Treasurer Cearbhall Maguire) for their fundraising efforts and ordinary members Caroline O’Leary, Kate Tarlton and Michael O’Hare for their input and the time they spent proof reading the magazine.

Freshers Impressions…

April 1, 2009

On the Thursday 2nd of April, Freshers’ Impressions took place in Pacino’s on Suffolk Street. At this annual event, the Phil’s first years have a chance to practise their public speaking in a relaxed environment, making brief speeches about their experiences with the society. Older members also make speeches, passing on anecdotes from years gone by. To celebrate our heritage as a paper-reading society, Alannah nic Phaidin, who came to Trinity on an exchange programme from the University of Florida, presented a brief, humorous paper about her time in the Phil. Over the course of an extremely enjoyable evening, freshers, members of council and ordinary members of the society shared their favourite Phil stories. We’d like to congratulate Alannah for her excellent paper, and thank our friends at Pacino’s for their hospitality.

Neil Strauss addresses The Phil…

March 30, 2009

On Tuesday the 30th March, hundreds of eager students squeezed into the chamber of the GMB to hear author Neil Strauss (who also goes by the pen names of Style and Chris Powels) address the society. Strauss is a writer, journalist and ghost writer, known for his best-selling book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. He also regularly writes for the New York Times and is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone Magazine. The

Strauss told ous about the experiences behind his acclaimed book, The Game, in which he tells the tale of his two year transformation from ‘AFC’ (average frustrated chump) into legendary pickup artist Style. The book made a month-long appearance in the New York Times best sellers list and reached number 1 position on immediately after its release in the US.

Neil hung around the GMB for over an hour afterwards, meeting eager young fans and signing copies of his latest book ‘Emergency’.

Success for The Phil at the DCU IV…

March 27, 2009

The DCU Open took place on the 27th and 28th of March, and the Phil performed strongly. Ruth Faller (ex-President) reached the final of the competition as part of a composite team, ultimately losing on a very tight split decision. In the interests of speaker development, most of the Phil’s more experienced debaters spoke with novices from the society, helping them learn more about debating. This was the last intervarsity of the year, marking the end of what has been a hugely successful year for our competitive debating. Congratulations to all of the Phil’s speakers!

Victory for The Phil at the Limerick IV…

March 7, 2009

The Phil is proud to announce victory at the Limerick IV, which took place on the 7th and 8th of March. The team of Kiera Healy (Registrar) and Edward Gaffney (ex-Secretary) won the competition, defeating world-class speakers in the final debate on the topic of Israel and Palestine, with Kiera also being awarded the prize for best speaker in the final. This marks the Phil’s first victory at an intervarsity competition in recent years, and combined with our performances at Oxford, Cambridge and the World Debating Championships, makes this the most successful year ever for competitive debating in the society! Congratulations are also due to the teams of Brian O’Beirne (ex-Registrar) and Shauna Maguire, and Jonathan Wyse (Debates Convenor) and Andrew Linn, both of whom reached the semi-finals.

The Trials of Oscar Wilde…

March 4, 2009

The Trials of Oscar Wilde

On Thursday the 4th of March, the Phil once again hosted the re-enactment of the Trials of Oscar Wilde. The original performance of the trials towards the end of last year was a massive sucess and a true credit to the students who had tirelessly organised it. To see pictures of last year’s performance, click here.

Oscar Wilde was one of the most renowned student of Trinity College (and during his time at Trinity, he was a member of the society). Wilde’s trials, led to his two year imprisonment in Reading gaol for ‘acts of gross indecency’.

The re-enactment was written by ordinary members, Marianne Cassidy and Davey Kelleher using transcripts from the original trial. The performance took place in the period settings of the GMB and encouraged audience interaction. Upon arrival, each member of the audience was treated like a jury member, and presented with a ‘book of evidence’ containing copies of the letters, poems and prose originally used to convict Wilde. Each member of the audience was also presented with a carnation (Wilde’s favourite flower – he was said to never leave his house without one).

Since the productions original performance, it was approached by the organisers of the Ennis Literary Festival, where it was performed in the Ennis Courthouse on Saturday the 6th March.

To read media coverage of the event, click here: Irish Times, Irish Herald.

The Trials of Oscar Wilde


The Catholic Sexuality Debate…

February 25, 2009

The final Thursday night debate of the year was about the sexual teachings of the Catholic church, and was arranged by our committee of dedicated freshers, the SLR. The first years ran every aspect of the debate, selecting the motion – “That This House Believes that the Sexual Teachings of the Catholic Church are Justified by Fact and Logic” – inviting guests, designing and printing posters and programmes, taking photographs and even writing the minutes of the society’s previous meeting, which were presented by fresher David Barrett, who took on the role of Registrar for the evening. It was a very successful evening, with guest speakers including Senator David Norris, Father Edmund Grace, and Dr Matlock, the inventor of laser vaginal rejuvenation surgery. They were joined by student speakers Patrick Kerr, James Doyle, Keith Grehan and Shauna Maguire, while several maidens made their first chamber speeches, including Hannah Cogan, and Anna Cosgrave. Congratulations to the SLR committee on an incredibly successful and thoroughly enjoyable debate! The photographs of the event were taken by fresher photographer Keith Grehan.

The Mahaffy’s Memorial Debating Competition…

February 18, 2009

The annual JP Mahaffy Memorial Debating Competition, a one-day contest for novice speakers, took place on February the 18th. Eight of the top fresher teams in Trinity College competed for the prestigious trophy, with rounds taking place during the day before a grand final in the Chamber. In the final, the teams of Eoin O’Liathain and Alannah nic Phaidin, Ciaran Parkin and Chris Benedik, Shauna Maguire and Sam Mealy, and Anthony McDonald and Kate Oliver, faced off on the motion “TTH would punish people who transmitted HIV”, with Shauna and Sam eventually emerging victorious, and Ciaran being named as Best Speaker in the Final.

Congratulations to the winners, and to all the participants!

Blood Thursday and Defense of the Indefensible

February 18, 2009

Blood Thursday

Blood Thursday is an annual event held by the Phil involving an afternoon blood drive followed by a light-hearted evening of jokingly debating on motions deemed indefensible. This year, it took place on Thursday the 18th of February, and we were pleased to find that more people than ever were willing to donate blood. Afterwards, we returned to the Conversation Room in the GMB, where speakers proposed giving the losing candidate in the US presidential election the consolation prize of Canada, awarding the Honorary Patronage of the society to the Auditor of our rivals ‘the Hist’, making the elderly race each other with only the winners receiving benefits, and other ludicrous motions.