Trinity College Dublin The College Historical Society Book Cover

Trinity College Dublin: The College Historical Society, Oratory and Debate 1770–2020

By: Patrick Geoghegan

Publication Date: March 2020


For 250 years, generations of Trinity College Dublin students have championed free debate through their involvement with the College Historical Society, or The Hist. In this arena of ambition, where opposing ideas are contested, members have pitted themselves against contemporaries, with many going on to have significant careers in Ireland and around the world.

Throughout its history the Society has debated the vital issues of the day, national and international – including Ireland’s political relationship with Britain, and peace in Northern Ireland, the fight against fascism and apartheid in South Africa, major social issues such as contraception, abortion, and marriage equality, and newer challenges like Brexit and climate change. The Hist has been acclaimed as a sphere of ideas as well as a school of oratory.

Professor Patrick Geoghegan brings the knowledge and insight of a distinguished scholar to his exploration of the debates and the debaters who shaped its history and of the impact of its members on life across the globe, from Theobald Wolfe Tone in the eighteenth century to Sally Rooney in the twenty-first. His vivid survey of Irish cultural endeavour examines the influence of the Society on writers, politicians, artists, lawyers, scientists and activists since its foundation in 1770.


Dr Patrick M. Geoghegan is a lecturer in the Department of History at Trinity College Dublin. He is the author of The Irish Act of Union and Robert Emmet: A Life and is the presenter of the award-winning radio programme, Talking History, on Newstalk.


1 review for Trinity College Dublin: The College Historical Society, Oratory and Debate 1770–2020

  1. Lilliput Press

    By providing a peaceful forum to speakers representing every shade of opinion, [The Hist] has been a place where great ideas have been contested and where national and international figures have been shaped.

    – Patrick Geoghegan, The Irish Times

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Weight 1.2 kg
Dimensions 170 × 250 mm
Publication Date

March 2020


Hardback, 432pp

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