UCD Societies: Past, Present and Future

Joining countless societies during Freshers Week just for the goody bags, attending L&H debates with the promise of free pizza, or racing at dawn to put up posters at the Library concourse. Who could forget UCD Societies?

There are currently over 80 Societies and 50 Sports Clubs at UCD, each a unique group that offers experiences to complement academic life. Societies are prime places for students to find their niche; where they forge friendships, discover new passions, and even spot a possible career path they may have never considered. As members of a Society, they can feel part of something as they connect with others through shared interests… and matching hoodies!


Take a moment to explore UCD Societies’…


The very first UCD Society, the Literary & Historical Society, was founded in 1855 by John Henry Newman who believed that there was more to university than just studying for a degree. He said real growth comes from people coming together, asking questions, challenging convention, discussing big ideas, and stepping out of their comfort zones. One of the Society’s most famous members from this era was James Joyce, who presented his paper “Drama and Life” before a crowd of assembled members in 1900. Most of UCD’s Societies, including the UCD Students’ Union itself, trace their roots to the L&H!



Countless alumni such as Dramsoc’s Brenda Fricker and Neil Jordan, The University Observer’s founder Dara Ó Briain, and Politics Society Auditor Martina Fitzgerald credit UCD Societies as the spark which ignited their careers. Today, the UCD Societies scene continues to grow and frame positive university experiences for students.

How has participation in UCD Societies shaped your life today? The UCD Societies History & Memories Project was recently established to create a central archive collection for each Society through connecting with alumni members. Why not share your photos and stories with them today?



Each UCD Society is student-centered and supported by values of democracy, inclusiveness, citizenship and social awareness. Want to know what the current generation is interested in or concerned about? There is no shortage of insight to be gained from Societies’ committees and members; they are change leaders and trend setters. You can find them on social media and many have a presence on the UCD Alumni Network, too.

Over the years, Societies’ reach has stretched beyond the UCD community as students, staff, alumni and friends of UCD all get involved. Things might have changed a bit during that time, so instead of finding them on the front page of The Irish Times, these days you might find them trending on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.


Read more about the impact of UCD Societies in UCD Connections.