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Trinity Talks

Every year Trinity plays host to a number of high profile and thought-provoking speakers.

We have curated a selection of these talks for you below. If you would like to highlight other talks you think would be of interest to our Trinity alumni and friends please let us know by contacting

Kate Bond takes us behind Inspiring Generations, Trinity's campaign to raise €400 million

Director of Advancement in Trinity Development and Alumni, Kate Bond, talks about what it is like to work on a campaign that aims to raise €400 million and inspire 150,000 volunteering hours, to help Trinity realise its vision and inspire many generations to come.

Listen to the podcast here

How do we explain the universe we observe? With Associate Professor Ruth Britto

Hailing from Harvard and MIT, Trinity's Ruth Britto could very well be the next scientist to discover a new principle of physics. Her research looks at the nature of our universe and what it is made of through mathematical equations. She even knows who feeds equations to Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory, but doesn't quite claim to be a fan of the show. Listen in to try and get a grasp on what this amazing theoretical physicist does on a day to day basis.

Listen to the podcast here

The Gig Economy and Flexible Working - Kady O'Connell Mason Hayes & Curran

Mason Hayes & Curran and Trinity Business Alumni hosted a seminar focusing on The Gig Economy and Flexible Working on Tuesday, 30 April 2019. Speaker Kady O'Connell, Senior Associate, Mason Hayes & Curran, discusses whether employment law is keeping up with this new way of working..

Watch this video here

The Gig Economy and Flexible Working - Professor Andrew Burke

Mason Hayes & Curran and Trinity Business Alumni hosted a seminar focusing on The Gig Economy and Flexible Working on Tuesday, 30 April 2019. Speaker Andrew Burke, Dean of Trinity Business School, discusses the benefits of a flexible workforce for innovation and fast growing enterprises.

Watch this video here

Talking sustainability on campus and in life

What is our campus doing to become more sustainable? A lot apparantly, and there is always more that can be done by both large organisations and us as individuals. Trinity's Sustainability Advisor Michele Hallahan gives us some "quick wins" and suggestions on how to chip in. Trinity was recently named 28th best university in the world when it comes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. (THE 2019)

Listen to the podcast here

An inside look at managing the famously popular Book of Kells and Long Room

Anne-Marie Diffley is the Visitor Services Manager for the Book of Kells and Long Room, which were visited by a record one million guests last year. People come from all over to see the Book of Kells, the famous 9th century manuscript of the four gospels. Its fame comes from the remarkable artwork that has since permeated Irish society. Visitors come for the Book, but the lasting impression by far is from the Long Room, which houses 200,000 of the library's oldest books. In this episode, she divulges what VIP visits are like and lets us in on what other lesser known treasures are hidden amongst the books and busts.

Listen to the podcast here

Interview with Associate Professor in Genetics and Neuroscience Kevin Mitchell

Assoc Prof Kevin Mitchell discusses the science behind how characteristics such as sociability, aggression and narcissism are more nature and less nurture. We don't mould our children as much as we think we do, scientifically speaking. He touches on genomic prediction in fetuses and how companies are cashing in on the public's desire to test their own.

Listen to the podcast here

Brexit Special

The Trinity Long Room Hub have created a podcast series called‘Brexit Special’, highlighting some of the 'Behind the Headlines' discussions in Trinity which began in May 2016, before the fateful vote by British citizens to leave the European Union.

The Trinity Long Room Hub Behind the Headlines series is supported by the John Pollard Foundation.

Listen to this podcast series here

Independence, Nationalism and Democracy

The exiled former president of the Government of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont  discussed the right to self-determination in Europe at a public lecture in February on “Independence, Nationalism and Democracy” hosted by the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy and Trinity Research in Social Sciences (TRiSS).

Movements for independence have become an increasingly prominent feature on Europe’s political landscape over recent years but what challenges do seceding nations face and what are the potential gains in terms of policy autonomy and political sovereignty? These and other fundamental issues related to contemporary European secession were considered by an expert panel of speakers comprising Carles Puigdemont along with Trinity social scientists, Dr Marvin Suesse, Dr Michelle D’Arcy and Dr Emanuel Coman. The event, which attracted a large audience, was chaired by Professor Gail McElroy, Head of the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy.

Watch this lecture here

Northern Ireland - from Peace talks to Brexit deals

To mark the anniversary of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement and Bloody Sunday, TRISS held an event on January 30th in the Emmet Theatre. The speakers included Dearbhail McDonald - Group Business Editor of Independent News and Media, Prof. Etain Tannam from the School of Religion, Professor Paul Arthur (University of Ulster) - a pioneering academic in this area and Daithi O’Ceallaigh who is a former Ambassador to the UK, Finland and Estonia, and the UN in Geneva and co-editor of Britain and Europe: The Endgame.

Listen to the podcast here

A Bridge to the Future: From Curse of Fatalism to The Era of Mind

A lecture by Prof Ian Robertson, author of The Stress Test (2016) as part of the Trinity Long Room Hub 'What does it Mean to be Human in the 21st Century? ' lecture series. Prof Robertson first argues that a uniquely human quality is the ability to imagine things that have not happened or existed before, and to work purposefully towards realising them. Second, he argues that humanity’s potential to imagine and realise the future is being limited by a fatalism that lies in three historical eras of thinking. He goes on to discuss The Eras of God, Physics and Biology, The Era of Mind and Materialism.

Listen to the podcast here

Schrödinger at 75 - the Future of Biology

In 2018, Trinity welcomed five Nobel Prize-winners and some of the world’s most brilliant science minds to speak at the Schrödinger at 75 – the Future of Biology meetingThis international meeting took its inspiration from an iconic moment in history that changed the course of science when Erwin Schrödinger delivered his paradigm-shifting What is Life? lectures in Trinity in 1943.

Seventy-five years ago, the basis of heredity was the urgent unsolved question. But after speaking of an ‘aperiodic crystal’ to describe what genes were made of, Schrödinger’s lectures had a tremendous impact on the development of molecular biology, including a major influence on the discovery of DNA’s double helix. That opened the door to huge scientific progress, with a billion and one secrets slowly prised from DNA and the genes that had previously been shrouded.

Fast-forward to 2018 and the burning issues of science today were on the agenda at Schrödinger at 75. Over 20 talks took place across the two days, featuring Nobel Prize-winners and world-leading scientists. including renowned philosopher, Professor Daniel Dennett, who delivered the keynote address on the Future of Life, and Professor Christoph Koch, who gave the Schrödinger Lecture on the Future of Consciousness.

Watch the 'Schrödinger at 75 – the Future of Biology' talks

Developing a Career as a Non-Executive Director

David W. Duffy, founder of The Governance Company, experienced board member and author of “A Practical Guide for Company Directors” delivered a masterclass on developing a career as a Non-Executive Director (NED) to Trinity Business Alumni members. NEDs are vital to an organisation for corporate governance reasons, bringing specialist expertise, valuable insights and independence. David spoke on the practical implications for anyone considering a career as a NED at this sold-out seminar.

Watch 'Developing a Career as a Non-Executive Director'

In Conversation with Catherine Corless

As a family historian researching in her own time and without any university affiliation, Catherine Corless has worked on a particular, and shameful, aspect of Irish history, namely the “Mother and Baby Homes”. Her work in gathering information on the institution in Tuam, Co. Galway, has revealed patterns of the mistreatment of individuals, both adult women and their infants, under de facto incarceration. Though local people may have been aware of the conditions, the absence of records and hard data allowed the hierarchy of these institutions and the state to ignore or deny the extent or even the existence of the mistreatment and incarceration. Catherine Corless meticulously collected records of births, deaths and burials, which ultimately lead to the uncovering of a mass grave in the location of the septic tank system. This meant that the shameful history of the institution could no longer be ignored.

Catherine Corless’s has shed light on this Irish institution, while establishing an all too familiar pattern that was not unique to Tuam. Her work has been key to forcing the recognition of the mistreatment of innocent individuals in these institutions and as such is an important agent of social change in Ireland.

Catherine was interviewed by Professor of Genetics at Trinity College Dublin, Aoife Mc Lysaght.

Listen to 'In Conversation with Catherine Corless'

What it means to be human in the 21st Century

What does it mean to be human in the 21st century? This was the central question at the latest Behind the Headlines discussion to explore the human experience of today. This series covers a broad range of talks traversing the humanities, sciences, arts and social sciences, this event is an unmissable snapshot of human progress; who we are, where we are, and where we’re going.

The Behind the Headlines series is supported by the John Pollard Foundation.

Listen to the 'What it means to be human in the 21st Century' podcast

"Why make movies?": In conversation with Lenny Abrahamson

Trinity graduate Lenny Abrahamson is one of Ireland's most celebrated film directors. Oscar-nominated for Room (2015), he made his name with a trilogy of Irish-set films: Adam & Paul (2004), Garage (2007) and What Richard Did (2012). He continued his exploration of society's outsiders and misfits with Frank (2014) before attaining a global reputation with Room. His most recent film was the Gothic release, The Little Stranger (2018). Abrahamson also directed the three-part RTÉ drama, Prosperity (2007) and in 2016 contributed to the Hulu-financed drama series, Chance.

In this podcast, Lenny Abrahamson sits down with Head of Film Studies, Associate Prof. Ruth Barton to discuss why film-makers make movies.

Listen to the "Why Make Movies" podcast

Out of the Ashes - The Library of Alexandria: Rebirth and Revolution

The inaugural lecture of the new three year lecture series 'Out of the Ashes' was presented by Ismail Serageldin, Founding Director Emeritus, Bibliotheca Alexandrina on 'The Library of Alexandria: Rebirth and Revolution'.

The Ancient Library of Alexandria, established in 288 BC, captured the imagination of the world and remains one of the greatest adventures of the human intellect. It became the greatest library of the age, assembling almost every possible written text known at the time until a series of fires destroyed the ancient library and by 400 AD it was no more. But its memory continued to haunt the world. 1600 years later it was revived on the same spot. The new, Reborn Bibliotheca Alexandrina annually receives around 900,000 visitors and holds around 1,100 events and its websites receive close to three million hits a day. It is a wonderful validation of libraries in a time of change. But in the revolutionary turmoil of this region, what will become of this reborn Bibliotheca Alexandrina? Will it survive?

Listen to the 'Out of the Ashes' podcast

60 Years Since the Discovery of Burkitt Lymphoma

On 24 September, the opening day of Cancer Week, Professor Owen P. Smith gave a lecture “60 years since the discovery of Burkitt Lymphoma” at Trinity.

Denis Parsons Burkitt (1911-1993), a surgeon and research scientist, a household name in the medical profession, received his BA in 1933 and graduated from Trinity as a physician in 1935. In Africa he developed exceptional observational and analytical skills which led him to develop a successful treatment for the commonest childhood cancer in Sub Saharan Africa – Burkitt lymphoma. His contributions to cancer remain salient today, and his discoveries continue to generate new research.

Listen to Professor Smith's lecture here

'In Defence of Horror' - A lecture by Darryl Jones

As part of our Alumni Weekend 2018, Professor Darryl Jones from Trinity's Department of English presented a lecture titled 'In Defence of Horror'. Professor Jones's main area of research and expertise lies in the area of popular literature, particularly in the fields of horror fiction and film, and of Victorian and Edwardian adventure fiction. He has published and edited many studies in these areas, including his 'Collected Ghost Stories of M. R. James' (2011), and his 'Horror Stories: Classic Tales from Hoffmann to Hodgson' (2014).

Listen to the 'In Defence of Horror' podcast

Ten years on from the Irish banking crisis what has changed?

September 2018 marks ten years since the controversial guarantee of the Irish banks by the government, which would lead to the €64m bailout of the banks, and was followed by an unprecedented collapse in property prices, the loss of sovereignty in the form of the 2010 bailout of Ireland by the IMF/ECB/EU ‘Troika’, and deep and prolonged economic recession. Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute hosted a free public discussion to examine the changes wrought in the Irish financial, business and cultural landscapes by those events and asked: has enough changed in the last 10 years?  Entitled ‘The Banking Crisis – A Decade On’, the discussion featured speakers drawn from the world of politics, banking, journalism and academia.

This talk was organised by Trinity's Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute as part of its 'Behind the Headlines' series supported by the Pollard Foundation, more information on upcoming events can be found on the Long Room Hub website.

Listen to the 'Behind the Headlines' podcast

‘The biggest riddle of them all: What is Life?' - Professor Luke O'Neill at the Trinity Alumni Weekend 2018

Keynote lecture by Professor Luke O’Neill, Chair of Biochemistry, Fellow of the Royal Society. One of Ireland’s most eminent scientists, Professor O’Neill is a world authority on the molecular basis for inflammation and inflammatory diseases. In his talk, marking the 75th anniversary of a series of visionary public lectures “What is Life?” by Nobel laureate, physicist Erwin Schrödinger, delivered in Trinity College Dublin in 1943, Professor O’Neill will share the current understanding of what life is, from its origins 4.2 billion years ago to what the future might hold for us as a species

View Luke O'Neill's Talk

'How can Earth prepare us for Mars?' - Dr Mary Bourke at the Trinity Alumni Weekend 2018

This lecture by Mary Bourke, professor in the Department of Geography, Trinity , explores how extreme environments on Earth help us understand Mars and other terrestrial bodies in our solar system. Mary is director of the Earth and Planetary Surface Processes Group and her research interests lie in the area of extremes. Her goal is to better understand geomorphic processes in extreme environments (deserts on Earth and on Mars) and during extreme events (like floods or mass wasting).

View Mary Bourke's Talk

Blockchain Masterclass - hosted by the TBA on 18/7/18

The Trinity Business Alumni presents an MBA masterclass on: Everything you wanted to know about Blockchain but didn’t know who to ask. Anthony Day, COO of Deloitte’s EMEA Blockchain Lab shares his experience of working with Blockchain and other disruptive technologies and illustrates how Blockchain is changing industries and value chains worldwide.

View Anthony Day's Talk

'Managing the Machines' - Professor Genevieve Bell on 11/7/18

Professor Genevieve Bell presents the inaugural talk of the series on ‘Managing the Machines’. Professor Bell is an anthropologist, technologist and futurist, and is best known for her work at the intersection of cultural practice and technology development. She has spent over 15 years at Intel where she was promoted to Vice President for Strategy and was also elected as a senior fellow, the first female to achieve this position in the company. She now heads up a new institute at the Australian National University called the Autonomy, Agency and Assurance (3A) Institute, launched in September 2017 focusing on building a new applied science around the management of artificial intelligence, data, technology and their impact on humanity.

This is the inaugural talk of a new public lecture series 'What does it mean to be human?' organised by Trinity's Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute, more information on upcoming events can be found on the Long Room Hub website.

View Professor Bell's talk

Henry Grattan Lecture by Former President Professor Mary McAleese on 25/6/18

On 25th June the Embassy of Ireland London hosted the sixth annual Henry Grattan Lecture in partnership with Trinity College Dublin, featuring former President Professor Mary McAleese in conversation with RTÉ's northern editor Tommie Gorman on the subject ‘Ireland-UK relations – past, present and future’.

Listen to the talk here

Hillary Rodham Clinton Lecture at Trinity on 22/6/18

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former US Secretary of State, gave a public lecture in Trinity College Dublin on Friday 22 June. The lecture was followed by a conversation with the Chancellor of the University, Mary Robinson during which Secretary Clinton explored her views on democracy, women in politics and the current challenges facing American society. Secretary Clinton was in Dublin on the occasion of being awarded with an honorary degree at Trinity College Dublin.

View the lecture here

Computer Science: Then and Now on 19/6/18

This event opened with a tribute to Professor John Byrne by Professor Jane Grimson, Fellow Emeritus and Pro-Chancellor of the University. Affectionately remembered as ‘Prof Byrne, the father of computing in Ireland’ we heard about his pioneering work in introducing Computer Science as an academic discipline in Ireland and how he has influenced so many world scholars and leaders.

The second part of the evening was an address from Professor Carol O’Sullivan who highlighted the exciting activities within the School and the cutting-edge research and associated spin-offs. She looked at the future of computing and ways that Alumni can get involved in shaping that future.

View Professor Jane Grimson's talk

View Professor Carol O'Sullivan's talk

Trinity Tech Series – Engaging with Research and Innovation on 14/6/18

The Trinity Tech Series aims to bring alumni and leading Trinity researchers from multiple disciplines together to showcase current work, discuss future trends and explore opportunities for engagement and collaboration.

In this inaugural lecture Professor Luke O’Neill, Chair of Biochemistry and entrepreneur, is in conversation with:

• Dr Conor Harkin – Proverum, an early stage medical device company developing an innovative medical device technology to treat prostate gland issues

• Lucy O Keeffe – CroiValve, an early stage medical device company focused on developing a minimally invasive device for the treatment of a heart condition

• Dr Matthew Campbell – Principal Investigator and Entrepreneur, Smurfit Institute of Genetics

View the inaugural Tech Series talk

'The Future of Europe and its Borders'- Sophie Marie Hingst on 17/1/18

Sophie Hingst has just finished a Ph.D. in history. Over the autumn of 2017 the Financial Times held an international essay competition on ‘The Future of Europe’. Sophie won the competition with an essay on Edmund Burke, which you can read here.   Sophie then formed part of a ‘Behind the Headlines’ panel discussion alongside Janan Ganesh and Sarah Hill (from the FT) and Rory Montgomery, a fellow Trinity graduate and Ireland’s chief Brexit negotiator.  That evening Sophie humanised borders as she told the story of how borders had shaped the life of her grandmother, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, of her father and of herself. You can listen to her story at 38:40 minutes into this podcast of the event. 

This talk was organised by Trinity's Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute as part of its 'Behind the Headlines' series supported by the Pollard Foundation, more information on upcoming events can be found on the Long Room Hub website.

Listen to the 'Behind the Headlines' podcast

'Sometimes it Matters Who is in Power' - Professor Margaret MacMillan on 26/10/17

In 2017 we were delighted to welcome Margaret MacMillan, Professor of International History at the University of Oxford and a leading intellectual as well as a bestselling author for the annual Edmund Burke Lecture.  In her talk entitled ‘Sometimes it Matters Who is in Power’ she considered the critical role played by powerful leaders in transforming the path of history – a topic just as important today as it was in the time of Edmund Burke. 

This talk was organised by Trinity's Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute as part of the annual Edmund Burke Lecture Series supported by a generous endowment in honour of Padraic Fallon, more information on upcoming events can be found on the Long Room Hub website.

Listen to Professor McMillan's lecture

'From the Frontline: An Eyewitness Account from the Middle East' - Robert Fisk on 11/11/16

On Thursday, 3 November 2016, award winning writer and journalist Dr Robert Fisk gave the Trinity Long Room Hub Annual Edmund Burke Lecture 2016.

This talk was organised by Trinity's Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute as part of the annual Edmund Burke Lecture Series supported by a generous endowment in honour of Padraic Fallon, more information on upcoming events can be found on the Long Room Hub website.

Listen to Robert Fisk's lecture

The Edmund Burke Lecture series

About the Edmund Buke Lecture series: To mark the university’s deep and lasting connection to Edmund Burke, and to express the inspiration his life and work as a public intellectual offer to us, we instituted a prestigious Annual Edmund Burke lecture, supported by a generous endowment in honour of Padraic Fallon.  It is delivered annually by a leading public intellectual of our time on a topic that engages with the challenges facing us today.

This lecture series is organised by Trinity's Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute supported by a generous endowment in honour of Padraic Fallon, more information on upcoming events can be found on the Long Room Hub website.

Listen to previous Edmund Burke lectures