The Hist wins Guinness World Record for longest debate marathon

Posted on: 23 October 2023

The student debate went on for  27 hours, 58 minutes, with eight speakers, addressing 26 motions run back to back, all under careful supervision of Guinness World Records.

And they did it!

Trinity College Dublin's "Hist" student debating society, already officially the world's oldest, is celebrating its second Guinness World Record of 2023, this time for the longest ever team debate marathon.

A group of students celebrating

The student debate, which began on Sunday morning in the GMB, went on for 27 hours, 58 minutes  with 26 motions run back to back, all under careful supervision. Only brief breaks were allowed.

Motions included "Is Luxury beneficial to Society?", "That a System of Proportional Representation is desirable" and "That Record-Breaking Competitions are Absurd". 

Despite the marathon length of the talks, the student speakers were animated and enthusiastic right to the end. A few minutes after the last debate ended, a representative from Guinness World Records declared that the attempt had been successful.

The Hist auditor Áine Kennedy said: "We're thrilled to have broken our second Guinness World Record. We are exceptionally proud of the speakers, organisers and volunteers - it was a huge team effort and it was so encouraging to see the level of support from students , the College and our alumni. Everyone at the Hist is just delighted but I think any celebrations will have to be put off until we all have a big sleep."

The Hist was officially recognised by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest student society just last month.

The 253-year-old debating society took two years to prove its longevity.

To achieve the recognition, photographic evidence had to be provided, as well as proof it had been in operation without interruption since its establishment.

Founded on March 21, 1770, the debating society was set up to pursue “speeching, reading, writing and arguing, in Morality, History, Criticism, Politics, and all the useful branches of philosophy”.

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Catherine O’Mahony | Media Relations |