First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon visits Trinity College Dublin

Posted on: 29 November 2016

The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, visited Trinity College Dublin where she was awarded a gold medal by students of the student debating society, the Philosophical Society, and gave a speech to a packed audience of Trinity students and staff.

Welcoming the First Minister, Trinity Provost & President, Patrick Prendergast, said: “We are honoured by the First Minister’s visit to Trinity College Dublin, Ireland's leading university.  We have close links with Scotland in higher education. We have Scottish staff teaching here and students attending the university. We also enjoy extensive collaboration in research, especially in the histories and the humanities with major Scottish universities such as Aberdeen and St Andrews among others."

"These ties are especially important at a time when Brexit has presented so many challenges for us, on both sides of the water. This is a time for us to redouble our efforts to work together in Trinity, and in the higher education sector in Ireland and Scotland.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Trinity College is internationally recognised as a world leading university with a reputation for providing a top-quality education and receiving the Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage from the Philosophical Society is a huge honour. Given our close proximity, Scotland and Ireland have a long tradition of collaboration in higher education and I look forward to working together to strengthen these ties even further.”

“The education I received at Dreghorn Primary and Greenwood Academy in Ayrshire and at Glasgow University is a major reason why I’m the First Minister of Scotland and this has reinforced my personal belief that every young person growing up should receive a world class education.”

In receiving the Gold Medal, she joins a distinguished list of University Philosophical Society Honorary Patrons including more recently the US Vice President, Joe Biden.

The President of the Philosophical Society, Matthew Nuding, said: “We are delighted to be awarding the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, the Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage of our Society. This award is given to exceptional individuals who have excelled in their given fields — in this case, for the First Minister's excellence in politics and public affairs. A principled and compassionate leader, she is prepared to stand up for justice, tolerance and humanity. She remains an inspiration to young people all over the world.”

Following the award of the Gold Medal by the students, the First Minister visited the Library of Trinity College Dublin to see its famous Long Room in the 18th century Old Library building. It is home to famous manuscripts such as the Book of Kells and Book of Durrow, but also to a series of literary collections of global renown. 

The First Minister was shown the Book of Kells, the 9th century gospel manuscript, famous for its beautifully intricate decoration and representative of Ireland as a seat of art and learning. It was particularly relevant for the First Minister’s visit, as the precious manuscript was written in the monastery of Iona founded by St Colum Cille on the island of Mull in Western Scotland. Following a Viking raid on the island, the Columban monks came to Ireland.

During the tour of the Long Room, the First Minister also met with Scottish students studying at Trinity, who are members of the student society, the Caledonian Society.

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