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UCD Festival 2023 Announces Programme

Fashion designer and skater Grainne Binns at the programme launch for The UCD Festival 2023. Image Marc O'Sullivan

The programme for the UCD Festival 2023 has just been announced. On Saturday, 10 June, the Belfield campus will come alive with a unique programme of over 130 events — from dazzling live performances to masterclasses, interactive science displays, creative workshops and family-friendly activities galore. All of the UCD Festival events on Saturday, 10 June are free for the public to attend, with BBQ’s, bands, walk-around performers and activities for all ages to enjoy. On Sunday, 11 June, the festival will close with a spectacular concert featuring American jazz and blues legends from The Delta Blues Project in collaboration with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. Tickets for the event are priced from €22.50.

Among the programme highlights, attendees can experience an array of inspirational talks with award-winning authors Roddy Doyle, Lisa McInerney, Emilie Pine, Elaine Feeney, and Nicole Flattery. Michael Magee and Karl Geary will also be on campus to captivate audiences in conversation while beloved children’s author Dave Rudden hosts a creative workshop that's sure to light up the imaginations of budding writers! Fighting Words will be hosting a mentoring session in creative writing for children, and to commemorate the centenary of the end of the Irish Civil War, a poetry writing workshop will take place inspired by original documents held in the UCD Archives.

For music fans, blues musicians from The Delta Blues Project Anthony ‘Big-A’ Sherrod and Jacqueline "Jaxx" Nassar invite festival goers to discover the inner workings, wonders and history of the gritty and heartfelt Mississippi Delta Blues style of music. The workshop will include live musical demonstrations and a pre-recorded introduction to the history of the Delta Blues by the acclaimed Clarksdale blues historian Roger Stolle.

Speaking at the the programme launch, UCD Festival organiser Sheila Morris encouraged visitors to come and be inspired:

“Unlock the secrets of a world-leading university this summer at the UCD Festival! As well as an incredibly fun day out, this free event is your chance to discover hidden talents, explore research breakthroughs, delve into artistic expression, and engage with world class academics, researchers and authors. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage with specialists in the fields of science, technology, health and culture; be inspired and join us for an extraordinary celebration of UCD's educational excellence”.

Festival Zones

Head to the festival’s Family Fun Zone to tuck into a delicious BBQ while being entertained by the magicians, jugglers and bands. Elsewhere on campus, at the festival’s Discovery Zone, you can travel back in time at the UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture, or join Christine’s Upcycling Workshop, for tips and tricks on how to dress more sustainably. Don't miss the fantastic workshops and talks offering themes ranging from communicating, and insect hotels to Chinese arts and crafts demonstrations.

The UCD O’Brien Centre for Science is the Science, Innovation, Engineering and Technology centre of activity for the UCD Festival. Take time out to have a selfie taken with Pepper the Humanoid Robot. Get ready to immerse yourself in the Intel Science and Innovation Zone! Explore hands-on experiments with UCD Explore’s Phil Smyth, and interact with exhibits where you can experience being a Vet for the Day, prepare for surgery, and even deliver new puppies into the world! At the Soil to Society stand, budding scientists can learn about the bioeconomy, explore the importance of soil for producing quality dairy, and even become a researcher by examining soil and grass samples. And don't forget to try your hand at milking a cow!

Are you curious about how things work? Well then, check out the festival’s Medtronic Engineering & Technology Hub. This wonderland for junior engineers and budding inventors will offer hands-on exhibits and demonstrations in everything from 3D-printing to robotics. Get ready to be inspired in an immersive showcase!

For some much-needed self-care, don't miss the festival's Mind & Body Area, where you can learn practical tips for improving your physical and mental well-being. Try a Yoga Class, Pliates, or participate in a mindfulness workshop. Lastly, at the festival’s Culture Zone, immerse yourself in the boundless world of UCD’s arts & humanities collections, with readings, exhibitions, and workshops in the James Joyce Library.

The UCD Festival will take place on Saturday, 10 June from 12-6 pm. The festival will be preceded at 11 am by the inaugural Michael Byrne Memorial Run, the first charity run to be held on the new UCD Running Track in honour of the university's dear friend, 'Old Man Belfield', who sadly passed away in January 2021. All events on Saturday, 10 June are free but booking may be required for some events. The UCD Belfield campus is served by the 11, 39a, 46a, 47, 142, 145 and 155 bus routes and is located within walking distance of Sydney Parade Dart station.

For the full festival programme visit:

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