UCC Philosophical Society

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UCC Philosophical Society
Logo of the UCC Philosophical Society.png
Founded 1850
University University College Cork
Website UCCPhilosoph.com

Officers of the University Philosophical Society, 167th Session

Auditor Cian Luddy
External Vice-Auditor Mairéad Lordan
Internal Vice-Auditor Jack Hennessy
Public Relations Officer Tiernan McDermott
Webmistress Chelsea Cunningham
Development Officer Eoin O'Sullivan
Finance Officer Caroline Kinsella
Schools Convenor Beth Mallen
Recording Secretary Ross O' Donoghue.
IV Convenor Orla Lynch
First Year Rep Roisín Cronin

The UCC Philosophical Society, Commonly known as the Philosoph,[1] is the largest debating society at University College Cork, Ireland. The Philosoph was founded in 1850, making it the oldest society at UCC.[2] The Society carries out a number of functions, including weekly debates with high-profile guest speakers, participating in debating competitions, running workshops for the students of UCC to develop their public speaking skills and running debating competitions and workshops for schoolchildren (including the Denny Schools Debating Competition). In the 1960s Seán MacBride SC and Nobel Peace Prize winner called the Philosoph "the centre of independent thought in Ireland" when discussing the state of the nation.[3] It has been a feature of scholarly life in Cork for generations.

In 1986 Siobhán Lankford and Brian Hassett won the World University Debating Championship at Fordham University.

Weekly House Meetings[edit]

House meetings of the society are held every Monday evening during UCC's term time at 7.30pm, in Kane G19 - though larger meetings are sometimes moved elsewhere.[4] The meetings usually begin with the reading of minutes of the previous meeting, followed by the main debate and ending with the room being opened to the floor from private members time.

UCC Quadrangle


The University Philosophical Society has hosted many esteemed and prestigious guests throughout the various sessions. Guests have included Judge Maureen Harding Clark of the International Criminal Court, Iar-Thaoiseach Dr.Garret FitzGerald, Gerry Adams, Michael Foot MP, Adrian Hardiman, Catherine McGuinness, Michael McDowell Teachta Dála, Seamus Mallon, Sen. David Norris, Iar-Thaoiseach Liam Cosgrave, Princess Anna Radziwiłł, Noam Chomsky, Eoin Colfer, Erskine Childers, George Galloway (who walked out mid-debate) Nobel Laureates Mairead Corrigan and Seán MacBride

Famous members[edit]

The list of former Auditors includes Sean O Riada, Eoin "The Pope" O' Mahony , Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Ralph G Sutton SC. Former Presidents include Charles Haughey. See List of Auditors Auditor RC Webster won TV's Brain of Britain. Other members include Prof. Donnchadh Ó Corráin of UCC, Prof.. Kieran Healy of the University of Arizona, Dr Kieran Holland of the University of California, Colm O'Cinnéide [1] No other Irish Debating Society can boast that one of its former committee members has had a #1 hit in the Irish singles charts. Former Recording Secretary Brendan O' Connor achieved this feat with "Who's in the House?", continuing the long established tradition of eccentrics in the Philosoph.

Internal Debating Competitions[edit]

The society runs several internal debating competitions each year. These consist of:

  • The George Boole Internal Maiden Speaker's Competition (or "Maidens"); for first-time speakers in college held in collaboration with The UCC Law Society
  • The Lord Mayor's Gold Medal (individual competition).
  • The Philosoph Mace ; a team competition.

In addition, the Society funds speakers in competitions throughout Ireland and internationally. A number of Intervarsity competitions are hosted throughout Ireland and the UK which the society participates in such as the UCD Vice-President's Cup, the Oxford Union and Cambridge Union Intervarsities and the National Law Debates in Galway. The Society also enters the John Smith Memorial Mace and the Irish Times competition.

Internationally, the society participates in the World Universities Debating Competition and the European Universities Debating Competition. The society has enjoyed considerable success in international debating, with a team EUDC Semi-Finals and two teams in the World University Debating Championship Quarter-Finals in the past, while Auditor of the society for 2006/07, Diarmuid Early, won the Irish Times final in February 2006.

As well as participating in competitions, the Society has a good record of hosting competitions. It became the first Irish Society to host the European Universities Debating Championships in 2005, with what is widely considered to have been the best Championships to date. It has also held the World University Debating Championships in 1996 and the John Smith Memorial Mace Final in 2003.

The Philosoph hosted the 2009 World University Debating Championship in partnership with The UCC Law Society. Additionally, the society hosts its own Inter-Varsity each December. It dates back to the Mercier Cup of the 1970s whose winners include Charles Kennedy.

The Cork Invitational[edit]

Renowned for the quality of its social events and friendly and relaxed atmosphere, the Cork IV is the largest IV in Ireland, hosting 80 teams in 2014. It was also the first Irish Intervarsity to break to quarter-finals as a result of the large number of teams. The Cork IV has grown to become one of the largest and most popular intervarsities in the UK and Ireland.

While the society has played host to several intervarsity competitions, the Cork IV in its current incarnation has been hosted since the mid-1990s. The IV is traditionally held on the first weekend of December, though semesterisation in other Irish universities led to consideration of a move to an earlier date in recent years. It is the last Irish IV before the World Universities’ Debating Championships and the first Irish IV of the year for Ireland’s largest University, UCD, facts which add to the large numbers of teams that enter. Interestingly, until 2007 the Novice Final had only ever been won by teams with at least one former Irish World Schools’ (WSDC) speaker on the team.

The IV takes place over 2 days (Friday evening and all day Saturday) and consists of 5 preliminary rounds of debating, with 8 teams traditionally progressing to Semi-Finals (16 to Quarter-Finals in 2005). The Grand Final traditionally takes place in the Aula Maxima in UCC in what is considered one of the best settings for an IV final in Ireland. In 2007 the Final was held in a candle lit Honan Chapel and in 2008 it was held in Boole 4.

The Cork IV picks up on a Christmas theme; on the Friday night after two rounds of debating everyone can try their hand at karaoke and also the Christmas jumper competition. Every year there is a fantastic candlelit Christmas dinner on the Saturday night before the grand final. The competition includes a novice break, an ESL break and an open break, thus making it the perfect preparation for Worlds. After the final debaters get a taste of Cork City, visiting one of the top venues in town every year. The competition is held on UCC campus, which is centrally located and a short walk from the city center and hostels.

Committee of the 167th Session[edit]

  1. Auditor: Cian Luddy
  2. External Vice-Auditor: Mairead Lordan
  3. Internal Vice-Auditor: Jack Hennessy
  4. Webmistress : Chelsea Cunningham
  5. Finance Officer : Caroline Kinsella
  6. Social Secretary: Ciaran Daly
  7. PRO: Tiernan McDermott
  8. Schools Convenor: Beth Mallen
  9. Recording Secretary: Ross O Donoghue
  10. IV Convenor: Orla Lynch
  11. Development Officer: Eoin O'Sullivan
  12. First Year Rep: Roisín Cronin

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Maume's History - UCC Philosophical Society". uccphilosoph.com. Retrieved 2015-04-07. 
  2. ^ "Maume's History - UCC Philosophical Society". uccphilosoph.com. Retrieved 2015-04-07. 
  3. ^ Hall, Denise (2012-05-17). "Getting To Grips With The Bigger Questions - Irish Examiner". Retrieved 2015-04-07. 
  4. ^ "House Meetings - UCC Philosophical Society". Retrieved 2015-04-07. 

External links[edit]