Aula Maxima – hard to love, harder to hate

Those reading no doubt have many different degrees of experience with the building on Maynooth University’s south campus that we all know as Aula Maxima.  To some it may be a building to walk past on the way to and from the rhetoric and logic houses and to some it may be the lecture venue with a risk of hypothermia on a winter’s Tuesday morning. To me personally, as the title of this article suggests, it is something that I both like and dislike at the same time for a number of reasons.

To begin I will be slightly negative, the Aula Maxima is an old building and in many ways feels like that when you are seated in it. The building is cold, has a constant echo that makes you think university stress is affecting your mental state more than it should be and the seats have no tables so you generally leave with sore knees, but difficult as it might be for some I will try to put these complaints aside for a moment. Aula maxima is also a building with much history and on a more obvious level space. The word ‘Aula Maxima’ translated into English means Great Hall and many universities across the country have one by the same name.

Both UCC and NUIG also have an ‘Aula Maxima’, both of which are old buildings that suffer the same annoying problems as the one in Maynooth University. Interestingly, the Maynooth Aula Maxima was built first, showing perhaps that our university served as an example of how to build a campus to later colleges. The Aula Maxima then seems to be involved in the expansion of Universities in Ireland. Through this the ‘Aula’ suddenly seems much more important than before.

After reading this article I hope that those of you who might have had problems with the Aula Maxima come to appreciate that it was once an important building and to those of you who must attend it, I hope it gets nicer in the second term.