Allow me to enlighten you all on a number of changes I have seen within the town and campus of Maynooth University.
Back in my day, when I was in first year, we were awaiting the extension of the library being built. I can’t emphasize how ironic it is being a building like the library that is meant to be quiet and all you can hear is construction equipment at full blast. It was also the last year that Tesco stayed open for 24 hours. Nothing handier than going for a 2am McFlurry at McDonalds, looking out the window thinking “ Jeez I actually need milk and bread for tomorrow” and having the option to do so.
Most pubs of Maynooth have stayed the same like The Roost and Brady’s, along with the same bands and songs you would hear. Yet the building next to Bank of Ireland has rotated between Mantra, Cathedral now Mischief. Ultimately the same club with a different name in my opinion. Pizza Dog was originally Abrakebabra. For some reason drunk students gradually took off each letter of the sign. Even had a friend that had one of them sitting in their apartment with no idea how it got there.
For my first and second year, I had the absolute privilege of using the pool on south campus, which was one of the oldest in door pools in Ireland. It wasn’t an amazing pool but a pool on campus was still pretty sweet. I used to start my Monday mornings by going to the early bird session at 7.30 till 8.30 then dry off before my Music lecture next door. The pool was unfortunately shut down two years ago due to health regulations. Yet the student body were still not happy when the university made this call. As it took away a facility for all the water based clubs such as MUCK, and Aqautics, took away the student job of life-guarding it, and also kids in the local area learning to swim.
Speaking of facilities no longer there, I must mention again the Bunker which was one of the most ideal locations for commuters, matures, and more. I already wrote an awareness article on it, and we still walk pass the Ground Zero outside Arts Block for where it once stood. Similar to the Pool the building did have to go, yet the memories of it will never be forgotten.
Before we had Subway in JH , we had an Obrien’s. Before we had Maynooth Coffee in Arts Block we had Bewelley’s. I remember the day Starbucks opened in the library and the buzz of it was all over campus. It was all the talk on social media that day. Slight changes in one way but still noticeable. I remember when there was just a big field where the new campus housing now towers above all. Seen the astro turf behind Phoenix get seriously developed.
The Common Room, which is now the subject of great debate between the Student Body and the University. I have seen some wonderful events happen there. Last year Welfare and Equality Officer Siona Cahill, held most of Soul Fest inside it with arts, crafts, and music performances. Seen charity efforts like the 24 Juggleathon, the 24 Chatathon, Lit and Deb’s Poety Slam and more.
Seeing the SU be re-branded with the slogan “Add Color to your experience” which we still use today. Declan the bar man said “it looks like a crèche”. Seen many faces go in and out the Maynooth Student’s Union, except the Mary’s who have been here a long enough time. I saw them change the constitution of the SU with a large scale referendum. Had the pleasure of working for the SU and even met celebrities like Coolio, Cascada, and the Rubber Bandits . Seen the SU at controversial moments like the infamous “Stripper Gate”, but also wonderful moments like donating over 25 grand the suicide awareness charity SOSAD(Save Our Sons and Daughters). The SU is also going through many changes. Seen new Clubs and Societies start up, and old societies fade only be resurrected years later.
This campus has gone through so much growth since I was a first year, and is still expanding. I don’t agree with a lot of decisions the University just made and I hope solutions can be made to tackle on going issues, like there being lack of faculties on campus for students to eat lunch, the on-going housing crisis. As I leave the campus I do wish it the best, and I hope that those going into jobs like the SU Sabbat team, the Senate the Student Body will be able to achieve the facilities it’s students need. After all, students is what really keeps the University going and it can’t function if Students needs are not met.