Family Life

You need to head along to the UCD Festival 2019

The UCD Festival returns for a fourth year on Saturday, June 8 2019, with the biggest and most exciting schedule of multi-disciplinary events to date, including, talks, hands-on science, creative workshops, sporting events, live performances and lots of family fun returns to the Belfield campus for one day only. 

The UCD Festival is a FREE showcase event where one of the world’s leading universities throws open its doors to give everyone the opportunity to look behind the scenes and explore the very best that UCD has to offer. Attracting over 35,000 people to the Belfield campus over the last three years, the UCD Festival has become the University’s flagship public engagement event and is unique among Irish third level institutions. 

 This year, UCD is delighted to announce a very special addition to the Festival line-up – Pepper the Robot. Pepper is the world’s first social humanoid robot with the ability to recognise faces and basic human emotions. Pepper was optimised for human interaction and has the ability to engage with people through conversation and her touch screen. Come and meet Pepper, the Robot in Residence, at the UCD Innovation Academy.

 The UCD Festival highlights the innovation, creativity and research that happens on campus and aims to engage, connect and inspire audiences young and old in a day of hands-on fun. This year, the UCD Festival features a jam-packed programme of over 130 free events, bringing together the students, researchers, educators, thinkers and the local community for one day of celebration, discussion, reconnecting, learning, creative workshops and live performances.

 Just some of the highlights from the eight festival zones and over 130 events include:


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  • Explore, discover and have fun at the Science and Innovation Zone situated in the UCD O’Brien Centre for Science. Join Intel and UCD Discovery who are hosting fun experiments in the Outreach Lab throughout the day, there will be tornadoes, rockets, robots and maths battleships, while science takes to the stage with the Intel Scientific Sue performances. These are only some of the fun science activities taking place.
  • Help overcome global issues in Microsoft’s engineering and technology showcase at the Engineering and Technology Zone with interactive and hands-on activities such as ‘The Mindcraft Experience’, ‘Al for Good’ and ‘DreamSpace’. You can also discover the many roles of an engineer and get the chance to get hands-on and explore engineering activities in our children’s make & do area.
  • Consider yourself a bookworm? Join RTÉ broadcaster Rick O’Shea as he hosts an engaging conversation with author, Associate Professor Emilie Pine about Life Writing and Personal Testimony. He will also be joined by Professor Margaret Kelleher to discuss Writing History.
  • Immerse yourself in the Mind and Body zone which will offer a variety of interactive experiences throughout the day, including a series of informative emotional self-care talks from one of Ireland’s best-known psychotherapists, Enda Murphy who will also share some valuable mental health tools.
  • Children and young people will have the chance to roll up their sleeves and apply their creativity through a host of activities taking place in the new UCD Confucius Institute for  Ireland. Throughout the day festival goers of all ages can take part in free drop-in workshops showcasing key aspects of Chinese culture including calligraphy, tea-making, chess and traditional music.
  • Albert Einstein once said ‘Play is the highest form of research’ and the festival’s Inspiration Zone is the hub for guests to do just that. Take the opportunity to explore mechanics, engineer constructs and much more through the use of LEGO® Education.  Get creative with the kids in the free play zone for little ones or try build a robot with programmable LEGO® Education systems.
  • A firm festival favourite, the Family Fun zone will return again to the UCD Sport and Fitness Centre hosting a range of high-octane activities for the whole family to enjoy. There will be tennis coaching, rugby and GAA mini-drills at the sports zone and the hugely popular Festival Train makes a return.

The UCD Festival has something for everyone to enjoy while experiencing the excellent facilities on campus and people of all ages are invited to register for tickets to experience this unique festival of creativity, innovation and discovery.

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