Patricia Hawkins de Medina, BA 1964

From the bottom of the stairs going up:Maura O’Higgins; Mary O’Sullivan; Maura Laverty; Patricia Hawkins (me, in long dress), and Una Cafferty.  Don’t know names of all the escorts! Mine was Don Cooney (dentistry).  I think it was the 1961 Arts Ball


It always bemuses to read about the storm in a teacup regarding the wearing of trousers.  I wore dresses/skirts all my time in UCD, and indeed most of my life.  Few women look well in trousers, in my opinion.  Marlene Dietrich possibly being the exception! 


I don’t recall the male students demonstrating and protesting to be allowed to wear a dress or skirt.  

Do you know that Maura O’Higgins (in that photo) and I were the only two girls from our secondary school leaving certificate class that year who went on to U.C.D. Maura had been a day pupil and I a boarder at that school (Holy Faith in Glasnevin). At no point was U.C.D. or indeed any university ever mentioned to our sixth form, no more than if Ireland didn’t have such institutions. A university education wasn’t discussed at all as a possibility. I have often talked in the intervening years with past students and other people about this strange attitude. Mind you that school was a strange place anyhow when I was there and I have never been back. Forward and outward thinking would not have been on the schedule! There’s a book somewhere in me about that place.

If my father (himself a U.C.G. graduate) hadn’t announced that I was going to university I probably wouldn’t even have heard that a certain building stood in Earlsfort Terrace.


That said, there were a goodly number of women students then at U.C.D. and the first raft of soon-to-be nuns from the teaching orders, as B.A. had become a requisite for becoming a secondary teacher.

Those nuns sat by themselves in the front rows of the lecture halls, they were not allowed to talk to us women students, and not even look at the male students! It sounds mediaeval, doesn’t it? The poor things would scuttle off, we know not where, and I assume they had some kind of common-room of their own so that they wouldn’t be adversely affected and morally ruined by the likes of us.

The student nuns were not Professor Louis Roche’s favourite people and he really leaned on them, throughout the lecture, which kept him from leaning on the rest of us.

It would be very unusual for a woman to go into a pub back then. We didn’t drink, or certainly not beyond the odd glass of wine in our parents’ home. I thought I was living madly when a date brought me to a wine bar (so refined!) in Baggot Street. Was it Bartley Dunne’s?

I worked in London for the Summer in my final UCD year, and the atmosphere was so different. After work we could go into a bar, no one stared, and wonder of wonders, have a lager and lime.


We kept body and soul together thanks to a very large Chinese restaurant in Wicklow Street (called, I think, the International). Very affordable, and plentiful helpings. Long queues formed down the passageway into the restaurant and outside along Wicklow Street.

In the basement café in Earlsfort Terrace we crowded together, drank the absolutely dire coffee and talked at length about our plans to change the world!

My husband Carlos (RIP) and I got married in University Church (Stephen’s Green) in May 1984. Photos in Stephen’s Green. Brought back the past when I and fellow students would stroll around the green at lunchtime. And standing on those stairs in the Shelbourne, in that photo, did I ever dream I would be having our wedding dinner in the Shelbourne and that I would have married an Argentinian.

Anyhow those are just a few memories from the past.

Patricia Hawkins de Medina, BA 1964

Theresa Smith f.c.J., 1970

Some Memories of UCD at Belfield

When I began in September 1967, some FCJ Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus, were in their third year in Science. One had graduated and was doing further studies in chemistry.  Hence, I had help in finding my way around the campus.

The “lads” in Mathematical Physics were very friendly and many were a lot of fun. Fergus Conheady and Martin McGuire in particular asked me several questions one day during chemistry lab.  Finally I realized that they were not really looking for information but that they wanted to hear my Canadian accent.  I also recall Wallace Sheridan helping me with some words that were unfamiliar to me such as “decant”.

Sr. Maria Goretti (Catherine) Comerford from the Sisters of Mercy, Sr. Brigid O’Dea and Sr. Diego (Dorothy) McMahon of the St. Louis Sisters of Monahan, Sr. De Montfort (Brigid) Carroll of the St. John of God Sisters and Sr. Rosaria King of the Presentation Sisters were all good friends throughout the three years in Belfield.  Sr. Dorothy taught me my first Irish phrases which I practised over and over on the bus to say to the community when I got home. Dia dhuit a Mháthair and Oscloídh mé an doras dhuit.

One afternoon the chemistry lecture theatre was full and waiting for Dr. Gowan and Mr. Start to present their audiovisual. I imagine that those professors went on to develop more AV in the following years. What was amusing was one Dublin student calling out, “When is it gowan to start?”

Dr. Steirt, (spelling?) Dr. Hoey and Dr. Baird are professors I remember as being personally interested in the students. I enjoyed the maths lectures but am sorry that I do not remember the name of the man who taught us. Fr. Ciaran Ryan was the professor for first year Maths Physics and was extremely kind. He offered tutorials to help those of us who did not have experience with calculus and trigonometry. Sometime after we graduated, he was killed in an accident in the Swiss Alps. RIP.

These are some of my memories. Best wishes to all who were in UCD from 1967 to 1970.

Theresa Smith f.c.J.

(living at Sacred Heart Convent, Calgary, Alberta doing archival work, vocation promotion and serving as chair of the Assembly of Women Religious in the Diocese of Calgary)

Mary Fleming, MA, 2011

“My Graduation day. One of the proudest days of my life. My 87 year old father beamed from ear to ear. My husband and daughter looked on with delight. What more could one ask for.”

Emma Rynhart, BA, 2012

“All the friends I met, I met so many different people from different counties all studying different things! I have definitely made friends for life and I thank UCD for that!!”

BA Graduate, 2010

“Definitely the UCD ball. I went every year and the last year was the best, fun acts, good vibe and awesome weather. A great part of my UCD experience”

Aoife Lyons, BA, 2008

“Going to see Seamus Heaney in a lecture. I think it was supposed to be a first year English lecture but many students came from different years and subjects. He gave a great lecture on some of his works.”

BA Graduate, 2003

“Lots of memories but I always loved dinner (chips and fried eggs!) in the canteen!”

Nigel Quinlan, CDipSHWW, 2004

“Years flying by with lectures, tutorials, assignments and exams. Interesting discussions over dinners in the canteen followed by lectures until late. Great days.”