Feb 28, 2024

The Revival of Trinity TV

A conversation with Rowena Breen and Ciara Munnelly, the students behind the society's resurgence

Eliora AbramsonSocieties Editor
Sinéad Baker for The University Times

In light of their recent revival of Trinity TV, I sat down with Rowena Breen, a third-year Philosophy and English student and Ciara Munnelly, a third-year English and German student, the secretary and chairperson of the society. 

When asked to describe Trinity TV, Breen tells me, “A good way of explaining it is that campus life is captured in a lot of ways”. She cites the Fashion Society (Fashion Soc) and Trinity FM (TFM) before continuing, “Trinity TV is a good way of documenting campus in a way that isn’t really being specifically documented”. It’s different from Dublin University Film Society (DU Film), she says, in that Trinity TV makes short films. Munnelly adds that Trinity TV isn’t only about interviewing chairpeople of societies, “but just a random guy who’s at the Pav on a Friday night” as well. In this way, Breen describes it as a kind of capsule, explaining that they make videos “not with any particular theme in mind but just getting a feel for what’s happening in Trinity in 2024”.  

The history of Trinity TV is long-winded and I get a debrief from Breen and Munnelly who tell me the society was set up in 2009 before it was struck with a “very famous scandal” in 2011. “People can research it” Breen tells me, before Munnelly adds: “so that’s what Trinity TV was known for in 2011. Everyone sort of stepped away. That’s not why it died though. People just seemed to have lost interest…it just kind of fizzled.” On the process of getting the society back on its feet, Breen tells me, “we had our meeting in a Berkeley study room, because we couldn’t book a room because we didn’t have a society email. We pretty much spent the entire meeting talking about ideas and getting excited. Everyone just got really excited and realised there was potential for a cool framework to stuff”. After this came an EGM and they were able to get started (along with their very own society email, Munnelly notes).


On the challenges of reviving Trinity TV, Breen describes the process as being akin to “pushing a boulder up a hill while everyone is kicking you in the face”. Munnelly adds, “everyone’s new to it because we all just joined together and all became committee members together”. Breen states that she’s been involved with societies before but never one that is just barely alive. She explains it’s quite hard to keep such committees afloat, saying “if you make a wrong turn or take your foot off the engine, people will leave”. It hasn’t all been challenges though, and Breen and Munnelly note their recent accomplishments, the biggest of which they name as the engagement. Breen says “we have people coming up to us asking to collaborate which is actually really fun because it just means people are aware that we’re here”. She adds that, “it’s a nice idea for it to be a society that has status in Trinity”. Both Munnelly and Breen say that engagement and getting Trinity students interested cannot be overstated and it is what needs to be focused on to keep Trinity TV alive and thriving. 

Breen and Munnelly have high hopes and big plans for Trinity TV. Munnelly tells me they’re going to try to start biweekly TV screenings because “ at the end of the day everyone loves TV”. She jokes, “that’s why I’m chairperson, because I have no other hobbies”. She also tells me of their plans for a Trinity TV talent show, before adding “well more like a freak show”. She explains that they would have people send in videos of “literally anything, little vignettes into lives” and then compile them into a big video at the end of the year. Breen states, “there is only one January of 2024 at Trinity. So if we can capture the talent, the weirdness, and the vibes of Trinity as it is in this current moment, document it and put it out there so people can watch it back, that would be a real accomplishment”. Munnelly compares their work to a yearbook and they laugh as they describe they hope to show what they call the “dark underbelly” of Trinity that doesn’t often get captured.

A society in which fun seems prioritised, I ask Breen and Munnelly to share an anecdote or two of their time so far with Trinity TV. Munnelly tells me of the time they were having a karaoke event that ended up being double booked with an 18th birthday party. She says, “it was supposed to be an 80s themed karaoke night and it just turned into these girls screaming. I felt like the floor was going to fall down”. Breen tells me her favourite moments are the committee meetings. She explains, “people turn up time and time again. We never find ourselves alone in a room. People come and have ideas because they want to participate. It’s just so heartening”. 

I then ask Breen and Munnelly what kind of Trinity student should join Trinity TV. Breen wants to appeal to those who have “a sense that this time is fleeting”. She insists, “we’ll help you out. We’ll find what you need for this project and we’ll help you see it out and make it happen. Because we just want people who are passionate”. Munnelly adds that she’s always looking for film students, due to their ability to edit. However, they add, they had met with Engineering students just the day before the interview and that they want to work with anyone who has a passion for editing. To get involved, all you have to do is email them at [email protected] or message their instagram (@trinitytvtcd). Their YouTube is TrinityTVtcd, on which videos dating over 10 years back can be found along with new ones from recent months. Breen and Munnelly’s enthusiasm for the society is evident and their desire for it to succeed is tangible, making it incredibly easy to root for them and the revival of Trinity TV.

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