Trinity EngAGE/University of Third Age Open Forum Looks at Creative Ageing

Second Trinity EngAGE/U3A Open Forum held during Trinity Week in conjunction with Trinity Retirement Association Inaugural Meeting

Over 350 people attended the Trinity EngAGE/University of Third Age Open Forum in conjunction with the Trinity Retirement Association Inaugural Meeting which took place as part of Trinity Week’s ‘Science of Happiness’ series of events. The Forum featured a lecture ‘How ageing creativity mirrors creative ageing’, by Professor Desmond O’Neill, Professor in Medical Gerontology, Trinity College, and Consultant Physician in Geriatric Medicine, Tallaght Hospital. Professor O’Neill stressed that although collective ageing into later life is one of the greatest achievements of the 21st century, ageing is too frequently described in negative terms. Professor O’Neill also offered positive examples on development in later life for all.

Around 150 people representing U3A groups from Ballymun, Tallaght, Lucan, Dublin City, Blessington, Maynooth, Sutton and Baldoyle, Blackrock, Cavan and Waterford attended the event. Presiding over the event Professor Shane Allwright, Registrar said: “As a university, and especially as a city-centre university, our doors are open to visitors and to the community – not only for attending cultural and scientific and educational events, but increasingly for public debate and research and educational interaction.” Age Action, which coordinates the work of U3A groups in Ireland, was represented by its CEO Robin Webster.

Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast, who opened the event said: “Today’s Open Forum brings together Trinity EngAGE, our Centre for Research on Ageing, U3A, Age Action, and Trinity Retirement Association. These have a common vision: healthy, active ageing for all citizens, and we all have a stake in it. I am especially delighted that the Trinity Retirement Association, which is having its inaugural meeting later today, is participating in the event.”

He continued: “Trinity academics are leading the way in Ireland and internationally by delivering ground-breaking research in ageing across disciplines. It involves experts from the fields of biology, public health, medicine, informatics, macroeconomics, finance, urban planning, engineering, technologies, globalisation and migration, the law, sociology, business and philosophy. We hope the results of this research will find its way into our lives.” 

L-R are: Gretta Rabbittee, Lucan U3A; Margaret Fitzpatrick, Age Action; John Brodie, Active Virginians U3A; Professor Shane Allwright, Registrar; Dr Linde Lunney; Professor James Lunney, Head of School of Physics; Sarah Bowman, Director of Public Programmes, Trinity EngAGE; John Roche, Dublin City U3A.

About U3A

U3A is a learning circle or cooperative. Members learn from one another by sharing knowledge. U3A began in Toulouse, France in 1972, and there are now U3A’s all over the world. U3A in the UK operates under The Third Age Trust, and there are over 500 groups; it is a very active organisation with its own publication, U3A groups seem to be active in Northern Ireland whereas it is under-developed in Ireland, with only about a dozen active groups (see