The College Historical Society is, according to the College Calendar and Historical record, the oldest and original collegiate student society. The Society has been the premier intellectual forum in Ireland and has been at the forefront of college life since its inception in 1770. As well as providing the scene for Edmund Burke, Theobald Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet’s first steps into political debate, the Society has played a part in the formative years of great Irish writers such as Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde, and Samuel Beckett, all former members. Having been addressed by figures such as Winston Churchill and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Hist is the venue for important speeches in Trinity College.
As the world’s oldest undergraduate society, the Hist set the model for debating societies throughout the British Isles and United States; in Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale. In February 1815, Hist committee members travelled to Cambridge University to assist the foundation of their debating union, a society which exists to this day as one of the Hist’s corresponding societies.
Meeting each Wednesday for 250 years, the Hist has debates many of the most important questions in Irish society and global politics. We has hosted many of the worlds most important intellectuals and influential figures who have addressed and been questioned by our members, and we have provided a social venue through which they can be both challenged in their beliefs and challenge those of others.
Over the next year, the Hist will celebrate two and a half centuries of excellence in debate, discourse, and oratory. The Society will commemorate the 250th anniversary of its foundation with a program of special events – Hist250. The program aims to exhibit the Society’s auspicious history as well as illustrate its continuing relevance. We would be delighted if you could join us in this special year for the Society.
The Hist has a long history, spanning all the way back to the Burke’s Club established in 1747, to today.
Like all lasting institutions, the Hist has a set of laws in place to ensure the Hist is governed smoothly and with integrity.
Read about our connections to fellow debating societies such as the Oxford and Cambridge Union.
The Graduate Memorial Buildings
The Graduates Memorial Building (GMB) is a neo-Gothic Victorian building, in Trinity College Dublin designed by Sir Thomas Drew in 1897.
The Graduates’ Memorial Building (the GMB), located just off Front Square, is the home of the College Historical Society. The Building boasts many amenities such as a spectacular Debating Chamber, which has hosted many memorable debates; a Conversation Room, perfect for relaxing between (or instead of) lectures; and the Committee Room, where the administrative business of the Society is conducted.
Below is a description of the rooms located in the GMB…
The Chamber is the central room of the GMB, and the location of all our Wednesday night debates. Entering the imposing room, you will notice the high ceilings, extensive decorations and a large gallery of paintings.
the conversation room
The Conversation Room is the large room on the first floor of the GMB. Our weekly receptions after the Wednesday night debates are held in here.
The Recreation Room
Located on the third floor of the GMB, this room is great casual place to to relax and contemplate, to meet friends or to eat lunch, with couches, tables and fun games.
The Resource Room
At the top of the GMB, the Resource Room is a quiet study space containing the Hist’s library. If you would like to borrow a book, please contact our Librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org.