Whether you’re highly superstitious or a hardened cynic, Trinity College Dublin boasts hundreds of years of history and odd goings on and it’s difficult to not come across the many myths that permeate it during your time there. Here are a few of my personal favourites.
Don’t walk under the Campanile. Probably the most highly respected of all of all of the college’s bizarre myths, even the most cynical of students are reluctant to test this one out. The legend goes that if you walk under the bell tower in Front Square and the bell tolls while you’re under it that you will fail your exams. I can honestly only say I ever knew one person who was silly enough to do this. And guess who failed Engineering Mathematics II that year? It’s a pretty big coincidence. This myth also probably explains why students always congregate around it on graduation day when they can finally take that short cut through campus without fear.
The underground wine cellar. So in an attempt to make Trinity College seem even more elitist, a rumour surfaces every time Trinity Ball rolls around that there is an underground wine cellar under Front Square. Supposedly the entrance to one is visible near the Buttery. They are thought to connect to the Royal College of Surgeons and were apparently used during the Easter Rising to transport ammunition. That aside, how many people are inexplicably missing for pre-drinks every year before Trinity Ball? And are AWOL and completely un-contactable before the headline act for that matter? Just saying.
That scholars can order a glass of brandy at their exams. There are a lot of above board benefits to anyone who manages to get a first in the Scholar exams held every year in January for Trinity’s elite: some fancy letters after your name, free carvery everyday in the Dining Hall and free accommodation on campus. However, there’s also a rumour that scholars are entitled to order a pint of stout during their exams. Although it’s never to my knowledge been tested out, perhaps it was started to give non-scholars a chance at achieving results in the same realm of the academic elite.
That you can access the roof of the Museum Building. Although many students very dubiously claim to have had cans there, I am pretty sure this one actually is true. People debate what exactly the codes are to get there, but once you are able to gain access to the roof of the Museum Building, it’s said to have some of the best views in the whole of Dublin city. And sure if you have trouble getting up to the top, the building was once featured in a terrible Minnie Driver film, Circle of Friends, so check it out.
That Scholars can be fined for not wearing a sword. This myth has been circulating as a result of scholars who actually try to exercise their rights to alcohol mid-exam who are given their Guinness. However the story goes that the college’s way of dealing with this archaic inconvenience is to fine the offending student for not wearing a sword. With free dinners and free accommodation these odd fines might actually explain why Scholars are never up at the bar in the Pav buying rounds of pints for their less intelligent friends.