World class sporting facilities, infamous student bars and hidden toilets – student Niall Flynn gives us the inside scoop on UL! Introduce your university. I attend the University of Limerick. It’s campus that lies directly on the river Shannon. What’s the best thing about your university? The best thing about UL is the campus. All the lecture halls are within walking distance but not so far that you can’t be bothered going to lectures. Also, the campus has easily some of the best sports facilities in the country, as you can run the indoor running track if it’s raining or go swimming in one of the only 50m pools in Ireland. What’s the worst? The worst would probably have to be the distance from the city. If you need to get something in town it’s pretty far away and buses wouldn’t come as regularly as in, say, Dublin. Also the traffic is generally horrible and unavoidable as there is really only one way into town from the college. What’s the local area like? The college is in Castletroy, which is a very nice area of Limerick. There isn’t a major amount to do in the immediate area bar UniGolf and the Cinema, but it’s still nice. There is everything here though that any student would need if they were stuck – an Off-Licence, Aldi/ Lidl, a Dry Cleaner and of course, chippers. What about accommodation? Is it expensive? Accommodation is pretty much like any other college campus, there are different ones for different people. Student accommodation such as Plassey and Kilmurry Village for example are perfect for 1st and 2nd years, or just anyone who wants to go a bit wild in their college days. The likes of Thomond, Dromroe and Cappavilla then would be more suited for 3rd and 4th years as there would be a bit more space for ‘studying’. Plassey and Kilmurry would typically not be that expensive, roughly €3500 year, but you could be in a house with 7 other people. The remaining student villages then would generally be around €4500 year. Off campus, students can generally get decent enough deals. College Court is perfect for more or less any year in college. It’s literally a stone’s throw from the college and in almost most cases, closer than the campus accommodation. Prices here are cheap enough, usually between €55 and €65 a week, excluding bills. Further out are other places such as Groody Village and Brookfield Hall, which are a small bit more expensive than College Court, nicer, yet further away. Is part-time work easy to come by? Due to it being a student city, there is naturally huge demand for part-time work. However, places such as nightclubs will generally be hiring a glass collector or bar person from time to time. There are also a vast range of other businesses in the area, so if you get there early, it’s not impossible! What are the campus facilities like? For example: computers, banking and the library. Campus facilities are decent enough. There are computers in the Library, however they are usually packed full of 4th years all year and come exam time it’s almost impossible to get one. There are other computer facilities dotted around the college but they’re not as spacious and there will generally be classes or labs on in them. Wi-Fi access is quite poor throughout the college bar the Kemmy Business School. There are numerous banking points throughout the college that are central enough. What are the campus facilities like? Campus facilities are decent enough. There are computers in the Library, however they are usually packed full of 4th years all year and come exam time it’s almost impossible to get one. There are other computer facilities dotted around the college but they’re not as spacious and there will generally be classes or labs on in them. Wi-Fi access is quite poor throughout the college bar the Kemmy Business School. There are numerous banking points throughout the college that are central enough. What’s the food like? Is there a good variety? Is it expensive? There is a huge variety of food available to students. All the college bars do food for lunch that generally have decent portions and are around the €5 mark. Further afield then there are places that are famous to all UL college students. 4 Seasons pizza do great pizzas and great deals for students – pizza and a coke for €5! After this, the ever faithful chippers of Rios and Superdine will not only provide serious food, but they are the local stop after nights out in college nightclub The Lodge. What kind of sports facilities are there? The sports facilities in UL are world class. We have huge pitches for GAA, rugby, and soccer, as well as a 400m running track and other athletics facilities. Inside the sports arena then, there is a fully equipped gym as well as an elite gym for sporting professionals (swimming, Munster Rugby etc.). There is also the 50m swimming pool as well as an indoor running track, a 60m sprint track and 4 indoor soccer pitches. There is also ample space for basketball and tennis. Recently, the college has developed yet another world class facility on the opposite side of the campus with an all – weather, rugby, soccer and GAA pitch. Is there a wide range of clubs and societies? There are a huge amount of clubs and societies in the college that give everyone a chance to meet new people and try new things. These range from clubs like sky diving and equestrian, to societies like the poker society. What’s the story with the college/local bar? Is there a good atmosphere? Is it cheap? The college bar is the Stables. The food there is decent enough and there’s always a space to sit down. The staff are dead on and know how to get the student crowd going with different events, such as karaoke and themed nights. For drinking, the bar is a great place to go for a casual few. The beer garden is huge and has a really good atmosphere! The best night to go to the student bar is a Friday night, which is ‘international night’ and is mental – great for getting the night off to a good start! In terms of price, it’s also cheap enough with large bottles of cider going for €4.50 and certain pints of beer going for €3 so it’s pretty cheap. Aside from that the local nightclub is The Lodge, which is an experience in itself and is a must for all students. The drinks are cheap, the nightclub is cheap and the food afterward is cheap, but the craic is mighty! Going to The Lodge on a Sunday (known as the ‘Slodge’) is an essential must for every student. What advice would you offer to new students? Definitely get stuck into every club that you’re interested in. It’s a great way to meet new people. It might seem difficult, but come 4th year you will look back and say ‘I definitely could have known more people.’ Otherwise, the best advice would be to go to tutorials and take good notes. You don’t have to listen, but come exam time you don’t want to be rushing around looking for notes off people. Any other useful information you would like to add? Some tips: there are extra computers aside from inside the library that are located in the main building. There are also hidden toilets in the basement of the library which aren’t used as much. This sound funny but is actually pretty important once you’ve see the main ones!