Literary and Historical Society (University College Dublin)
|President||Dr. Hugh Brady|
Committee Members of the Literary and Historical Society, 159th Session
|Honorary Treasurer||Sorcha Kinder|
|Honorary Librarian||Rob Mac Carthy|
|Honorary Public Relations Officers||Jack Walsh & Thomas Williams|
|Honorary Correspondence Secretary||Niamh McCarthy|
|Honorary Record Secretary||Luke Sheeran-Purcell|
|Honorary Debates Convenors||Eoin MacLachlan, Valerie Tierney, Sean Totterdell|
|Honorary Social Secretary||Ciara Walsh|
The Literary and Historical Society (L&H) is the oldest debating society in University College, Dublin (UCD), and is . Founded in 1855 by Father John Henry Newman (the future Cardinal Newman), it is one of the most prestigious and well-known student societies in Ireland. The society has over 5,100 enrolled members and is the largest student society in UCD.
House debates 
The Society gathers once a week to debate a topic of the day. This is the main activity of the society, and typically takes place on Wednesday evenings in the college's lecture theatres. Personalities central to the topic being discussed are invited to enlighten the house with knowledge and arguments specific to the motion. The porn debate and battle of the sexes debates in 2007 attracted the largest crowds to ever attend an L&H debate. Attendance at house debates varies weekly, with debates attracting between 20 and 300 people. Motions have ranged from those concerning the death penalty and abortion to pornography and the existence of God.
Guest speakers and L&H accolades 
The L&H also regularly invites speakers outside of debates. These speakers have included actor Roger Moore, linguist Noam Chomsky, Irish politician John Hume, writer Bill Bryson, economist John Nash and British politician Robin Cook. Guests range from academics to activists, and sometimes controversial figures.
The Society awards Honorary Fellowships and James Joyce Awards to individuals who have "contributed significantly to a field of human endeavour". Recipients of either of the two awards include F. W. De Klerk, Rev. Jesse Jackson., Noam Chomsky and Prime Minister of Australia John Howard, actor Ralph Fiennes, actor Will Ferrell, Harry Potter author JK Rowling, former UN Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix, celebrated novelist Bill Bryson, former England soccer captain Gary Lineker, The Beatles' producer George Martin, Monty Python member Michael Palin and writer Salman Rushdie.
UCD Vice Presidents' Cup IV 
The Vice Presidents' Cup is one of the longest running and most prestigious IVs on the Irish debating circuit, as well as being one of the largest with up to 80 teams in recent years.[vague] It draws teams from across the IONA circuit, alongside European and American teams. It is uniquely acclaimed for a remarkably high level of competitors and adjudicators, and continues to increase its numbers and quality annually.
Occurring in the last week of October each year, its place on the calendar makes it the opening event of the Worlds preparation season.
|Year||Winning Team||Top Speaker on Tab||Chief Adjudicator|
|2011||Catherine Murphy and John Engle (TCD Hist)||Catherine Murphy||Sam Block and Stephen Boyle|
|2010||Niamh Ni Mhaoileoin and Ctolm Denny (TCD Hist)||Niamh Ni Mhaoileoin (TCD Hist)/Doug Cochran (Cambridge)||Gregg O'Neill and Ruth Faller|
|2009||Catherine Murphy and Huw Duffy (TCD Hist)||Eoghan Casey (Kings Inns)||Will Jones and Marguerite Carter|
|2008||Anne Byrne and Josephine Curry (TCD Hist)||Brian O'Beirne (TCD Phil)/Brendan Bruen (Kings Inns)||Declan Bruton and Noel McGrath|
|2007||Shane Farragher and John Moriarty (TCD Hist)||Brian O'Beirne (TCD Phil)||Ciaran Lawlor|
|2006||David Boughton and Ciaran Denny (TCD Hist)||Jess Prince (Oxford)/David Kenny (TCD Hist)||Derek Lande|
|2005||Barry Glynn and Morgan Shelley (Kings Inns)||Sam Collins (ULU)||Paul Brady|
|2004||Richard Osborne and Alexis Hearnden (Inner Temple)||Richard Osborne (Inner Temple)||Jeremy Brier|
The Strauss Ball 
Each year, the Society hosts UCD's only white tie ball, the Strauss Ball. Each lady attending is given a dance card, which they fill with ten different names. After waltzes with each person on the card, the orchestra moves aside for the DJ. The Society also hosts various nightclub events throughout the year.
Competitive debating 
The L&H enjoys success as one of the stronger Irish debating institutions. The Society has won a number of international debating competitions and has enjoyed dominance in The Irish Times and Mace debating competitions as well as international and national intervarsities. The Society has attended the World Universities Debating Championship, and progressed further and has sent teams as far afield as Asia, Australia, Africa and North America. In 1987 & 2006, UCD hosted the World Universities Debating Championship.
The Society also promotes and organises competitive debating in schools across Ireland through the Schools' Mace, the Leinster Schools Debating Competition and the Junior Schools Debating Competition which reach secondary schools throughout the country.
The L&H was founded in 1855, a year after the foundation of the Catholic University of Ireland, the precursor to UCD. Both the university and the debating society were founded by Father John Henry Newman (future Cardinal Newman). One of the Society's most famous members from this era was James Joyce, who presented his paper "Drama and Life" before a crowd of assembled members in 1900. Conor Cruise O'Brien served as Vice President of the Society during his time in UCD.
Most of the College's societies, including the UCD Student Union itself can trace their roots to the L&H.
Earlsfort years 
Before the university moved to Belfield, the debates were held on Saturday nights in the Physics Theatre, in Earlsfort Terrace. Here, the popularity and renown of the L&H flourished and the Society first became known on a national scale. Quite often, events occurring at the Society's debates made front page news in the national press.
At various occasions, college authorities and external bodies attempted to shut the Society down, most memorably in 1961, when the L&H was suspended by UCD authorities. No such attempts have been successful.
On the Belfield campus 
In 1972, the Society again relocated, this time to UCD's Belfield campus, where the majority of students now studied. Since this time the Society has grown in size and popularity and continues to be the 'bearpit' for debate that it was renowned for since the 1950s.
Centennial and sesquicentennial histories 
A 150th Anniversary book, edited by Frank Callanan SC, has been published to update James Meenan’s centenary history of the society, published in 1955. The book, together with the reprinted centenary history, details the complete story of Ireland's most famous debating society and comprises a range of articles by various personalities from the L&H's past on the last 50 years of the Society.
Auditor and committee 
The L&H is run by a committee of enrolled members, each with a specific portfolio of responsibilities. The committee is chosen by the Auditor, who is elected on a yearly basis by the enrolled membership of the Society. The Auditor is the head of the committee and responsible for the general running of the Society. Each Session begins in or around the beginning of the month of March, on the date of the annual AGM. The new Auditor for the coming year is appointed at this meeting, either as the result of an election from the enrolled membership or, in cases where a single candidate is unopposed, by nomination.
Previously in the 153rd session of the Society recorded record membership for any University society in Europe. The membership exceeded 5,000 members, surpassing by several hundred the previous record also set by the L&H in its 150th session. The most recent 158th session of the society yet again broke this record making it the university's largest ever society.
President and vice presidents 
These roles are largely ceremonial. The President of the L&H is Dr. Hugh Brady, the President of UCD. There are a number of vice-presidents, mostly made up of former members.
The Society has received an increased amount of funding in recent years, due to corporate sponsorship and college contributions.The Society receives far less funding from College authorities than its yearly calendar of events demands, and as such seeks corporate sponsorship to cover the costs of each Session.
See also 
- The Literary and Historical Society - Whoes Who?
- irishtimes.com - The Irish Times - November 11, 2004 - Use of Shannon puts Ireland in line of fire, says Jesse Jackson
- irishtimes.com - The Irish Times - January 01, 2008 - Joyce award for Ferrell who will catch up on his reading
- irishtimes.com - The Irish Times - November 02, 2008 - Author has starstruck students under her spell
- irishtimes.com - The Irish Times - September 27, 2008 - Martinmania: students celebrate The Beatles' producer
- independent.ie - The Irish Independent - March 27, 2008 - Back to his roots Students honour Palin
- irishtimes.com - The Irish Times - October 09, 2008 - Salmon Rushdie honoured at UCD
- "University of Toronto wins world debating finals". The Irish Times. January 1, 2006.
- Callanan, Frank (21, December 2008). "Conor Cruise O'Brien". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2011-01-17.