UCD’s Northern Society is a new Society aimed at promoting and spreading the positives of Northern Ireland and its culture. I sat down with NorthSoc Auditor Shannon Bas to find out what’s on offer for their members this year.
‘[NorthSoc’s] main purpose is to depoliticise the image of Northern Ireland,’ Shannon explains. The events will be ‘cultural and social.’ The purpose is ‘to raise awareness of the more positive parts of Northern Ireland – the country, tourism, music, sports.’ The group wants to allow people from Northern Ireland to meet and socialise. About half the committee are natives of the North and found the transtition coming to the south difficult socially and logistically. NorthSoc aims to help out students experiencing this.
So how did Shannon, a French student from just outside Paris, become the head of a society that promotes the culture of Northern Ireland? About a year ago, Shannon was on the committee of the Hispanic Society as Public Relations Officer. It was there she met Jason McKillen and Ryan Bradley, two lads from Northern Ireland studying Politics & Spanish. Shannon went on to say: ‘eventually all three of us resigned from the Hispanic Society due to political reasons and mismanagement – it just didn’t work out.’
It was from there that the opportunity arose for a new student society. Later that year, the two lads along with a number of other students officially formed NorthSoc. Shannon joined initially as an OCM and later was elected Auditor at the NorthSoc AGM.
That brings us up to now, right ahead of a year full of ambitious plans for the newly fledging society. With regards to political topics, when questioned on whether they will hold any events on current topics such as Brexit, Shannon responded ‘No Brexit or political events.’ She suggested the possibility of a collaboration with another society on such topics, but they ‘wouldn’t take any sides, it would just be to inform people of the position of Northern Ireland, just informative. What we have planned for the moment is only cultural and social.’
Some examples of events to expect over the coming weeks are Northern Irish Comedy Gig, trips to see Northern Irish bands and musicians, Trip to Derry (planned for around week 7 or 8) – before the trip they plan to watch the first two seasons of Derry Girls as a group at events with drinks, for rugby fans: on the 20th December Leinster vs Ulster will play in Dublin. During Semester 2 the group is hoping to organise an trip to Belfast and Antrim. The weekend should comprise a historical and social visit to Belfast, followed by a Game of Thrones style tour to the Giants Causeway in Antrim.
Conor Capplis – Editor