Electric Picnic twist: UCD engineers to host Gathering-type BBQ for grads in Rose Garden

15 Aug 2013

The Rose Garden, a hidden 'gem' on the UCD campus. It is poised just up from the old running track, beside Belfield House, and near the engineering building. Image via UCD

Are you a graduate from University College Dublin (UCD)? Well, Saturday week, there will be a teddy bear’s picnic with a twist. UCD engineers are hosting an ‘Electric Picnic-type Gathering’ in the Belfield campus rose garden. All graduates, past and present, are being enticed to come along. And there will be an expo on show on the smart grid and cleaning up Ireland’s electricity infrastructure.

The UCD Engineering Graduates Association and UCD Engineering are organising the gathering for graduates, which they are calling a type of ‘Electric Picnic’ on the back of the upcoming Electric Picnic music and culture festival that’s just around the corner.

The engineers took it upon themselves to organise this gathering as they wanted to entice graduates working at home and abroad to return to their alma mater – especially if they have emigrated and are home to enjoy the fruits of Ireland’s summer this year.

Heart of Dublin 4

Future Human

Just off the N11 motorway, UCD is poised in the Dublin 4 area, nestled between Sydney Parade, RTÉ studios and St Vincent’s Hospital on one side; Stillorgan and Mount Merrion on another side; and Clonskeagh on yet another side. Belfield is around 4km away from the heart of Dublin City.

Rose Garden UCD

A hidden gem on the UCD campus: the rose garden. Image via UCD

The Rose Garden at UCD will be the venue for the barbecue, which will kick off at 4pm on Saturday, 24 August.

According to the organisers, there will be food, drink and general merriment at the picnic, as well as an exhibition on smart grids.

Cleaner electricity for Ireland to trade and pull out of recession?

The interdisciplinary Energy Needs Ireland 2013 (ENI) research group will be hosting this smart-grid expo. Researchers from the group are promising to showcase their findings on the best path to plot in order to one day achieve a cleaner, greener smart grid to help Ireland achieve energy security and to trade surplus electricity generated by wind and wave, firstly with the UK, and potentially with Europe.

“This is an opportunity for UCD to show our peers the world-class eminence in how smart electricity grids work to drive our economic recovery,” explained Mark O’Malley, director of the UCD Electricity Research Centre.

PJ Rudden, president of UCD Engineering Graduates Association, said that at next week’s event the university’s electrical engineering students will be aiming to communicate the advantages of interconnection of Ireland to the UK and the rest of Europe, as well as other aspects of the smart grid.

“It will also be a fantastic ‘Gathering’ event, with food and entertainment and an opportunity to catch up with old classmates and friends,” he said.

And, who knows, maybe alumnus rugby player Brian O’Driscoll will pop over from Clonskeagh to the gig. Another former student, actor Gabriel Byrne, might also come along to support this ‘Gathering’.

‘I am so happy, I am so happy. I loved my life’ – reportedly the dying words of poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (aged 44)

The spirit of one of UCD’s most famous alumni, James Joyce, might also make an appearance.

Or perhaps memories of the late English poet, Fr Gerard Manley Hopkins, who taught Greek and Latin at the university (Old Newman House campus, just off Stephen’s Green) will also grace the garden.

It is reported that Hopkins, who died in Newman House in Dublin of typhoid fever on 8 June 1889 at the age of 44, breathed as his last words: “I am so happy, I am so happy. I loved my life.”

UCD was founded in 1854 as the Catholic University of Ireland. At the minute, UCD is apparently Ireland’s largest university, and the island of Ireland’s second largest university.

Eircom is sponsoring the outdoor gala at UCD. It will cost adults €20 to attend, and €5 for children under 12.

See you there!

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic