Belfield comes alive this weekend as the UCD campus hosts its annual festival featuring an exciting programme with a packed schedule dedicated to a celebration of arts, science, and innovation. Now in its 8th year, The UCD Festival is a fun-filled event showcasing the very best of UCD through performances, engaging talks, hands-on science, and more.
With over over a hundred and thirty events to enjoy, this year’s event sees visitors treated to a programme of sensory friendly spaces and activities that includes interactive exhibits, performances and creative workshops, covering topics ranging from artificial intelligence and sustainability to robotics and Jazz music.
Saturday sees Irish music luminary Dónal Lunny joined on stage by students from the university’s trad music programme., while a fascinating lineup of talks features award-winning authors including Roddy Doyle, Lisa McInerney, Emilie Pine, Elaine Feeney, Nicole Flattery, Michael Magee and Karl Geary.
The festival boasts eight vibrant zones with activities such as yoga classes to be enjoyed at the Mind and Body Zone, a BBQ with live entertainment at the Family Fun Zone while the Discovery stage will host various cultural performances presented by university’s Student Societies. Budding writers can embark on a creative writing adventure with children’s author, Dave Rudden, or attend a creative writing workshop with Fighting Words.
As part of this year’s festival an inaugural charity run takes place in honour of one of the university’s most memorable characters, affectionately known by students as Old Man Belfield. The Michael Byrne Memorial Run honours the late Michael Byrne, who was a familiar face on the UCD campus for over 30 years, and passed away in 2011. Following his death the university established the Michael Byrne Community Fund. The fund’s activities include establishing a bursary for students who may not be able to afford accommodation.
The festival will draw to a close on Sunday with a special concert featuring a special collaboration between the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and The Delta Blues Project, with Academy Award Winning actor Morgan Freeman acting as honorary MC on the night. Ahead of the concert, musicians from The Delta Blues project are set to host a free workshop on Friday June 9, exploring the inner workings and history of the gritty and heartfelt Mississippi Delta Blues style of music including live musical demonstrations.
Working in collaboration with UCD’s EDI committee, festival organiser have created a range of sensory-friendly spaces and activities across the Belfield campus. A number of calm, sensory friendly, areas with low-level stimulation will be available to festival attendees, specifically developed to accommodate neurodivergent attendees. A programme of sensory friendly activities includes a sensory friendly bus, a silent disco and a neurodiverse friendly screening of The Super Mario Bros movie. Volunteers will be managing these spaces to ensure that they are a peaceful and welcoming refuge from the bustling festival activities.
The organisers have also arranged for some lovely artisan food to help fuel their busy programme of activities. The palate-pleasing crew at Irish Village Markets have brought together an international selection of culinary vendors, with a substantial food offering that includes authentic German sausages from Dublin Bratwurst, and classic Mexican fare from the inimitable Dos Burritos.
Festival goers can also look forward to succulent Irish made burgers and sausages courtesy of Irish Charcoal BBQ, with stunning Lebanese falafels from Pappa’s Falafels and tasty Korean BBQ Beef, Pork Belly, and sides from the always outstanding Jaru.
The UCD Festival will take place this weekend. All events taking place this Saturday, June 10, 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. Admission is Free.
For further details see festival.ucd/ie