Caoimhin and Sophie judging the finals of the Galway Open 2019

Caoimhin and Sophie judging the finals of the Galway Open 2019

Read this page if you want to know more about debating, what activities the Hist does to promote debating and how to get started.

If you would like to learn more about debating or about our fresher outreach, talk to Sophie Furlong Tighe, our RecSec or Caoimhin Hamill, our DC.


One of the easiest ways to get involved with the Hist is to sign up for Maidens! The Hist Maidens Competition is a competition we run every year for first time college debaters. It starts early in the first term with laid back rounds of debating each week, with a focus on learning the ropes of debating in a comfortable enviroment and having fun!

There are five of these rounds and you can do one every week. We understand it’s probably your first time debating, so we focus on learning the basic rules, and making sure everyone is comfortable. We then move to quarter finals and semifinals before culminating in our grand Hist Maidens final. Everyone is invited to come, dress up and bang the table with us!

We’ll send you on hints and tips in our weekly emails when we send you on the schedule for rounds, and workshops will be run throughout the term to help you get your bearings. Maidens is a competition focused on development, so we have loads of experienced people giving you feedback and helping out! Obviously it's great in terms of critical thinking skills of logic and public speaking but really the best thing about Maidens is the friends you make and fun you have!


Debating can seem intimidating, but nobody expects you to know everything when you start! To make sure everyone is in an environment they feel comfortable asking questions we will be running an Intro to debating workshop during Freshers Week with a few fun activities.

We'll have weekly beginner training sessions throughout the course of the year. The time of these will be decided by a poll taken in Hist Freshers. This is a great way to meet new people, have a good time, and find out if you enjoy debating.

Chamber Debating

The Hist hosts a weekly chamber debate every Wednesday evening during term time. The debates cover a wide range of topics, from politics, the arts and STEM subjects. First time speakers aka Maidens are welcomed and are given preference in debate sign-ups. Furthermore, first time speakers in chamber had Maidens Rights, which means they will not be offered any points of information. Waving this right would give you a massive amount of applause, which is a nice way to start your speech.

If you would like to learn more about chamber debating, talk to Jack Synnott, our CorrSec who organises our Chamber debates.

Tips & Resources

The most common style of debating used around the world is the British Parliamentary format. The speakers are judged on the quality of their arguments, not the form in which they are delivered. A motion and side are given to each team at the start of each debate. There are four teams in each debate, two on proposition and opposition respectively. They are then given time to prepare before speaking.

To learn more about BP Debating, you can read:

British Partliamentary Debating Guide for Beginners