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Love is in the Air at UCC

Writes Maebh McCarthy, Deputy News Editor

Valentine’s Day, which occurred on February 14th 2021 saw many couples taking to social media to share how University College Cork lent itself to forming the foundations for many relationships and love stories.

On the UCC social media pages, the story of UCC graduates, Vanessa and Seamus was shared. Originally from Ecuador, Vanessa was an international student who studied for her masters in International Public Policy and Diplomacy at UCC. Seamus did his masters in Government and Politics and therefore, the two students shared lectures in the O’Rahilly Building.

“It kind of became a ritual to go for a cup of coffee right before the lectures and then, during the lecturers Dr Liam Weeks and Dr Niall Duggan were always very engaging with their students. They were brilliant and would always ask us questions and our thoughts on the class subject and, in that way, I got to meet more of Seamus and his thoughts and opinions on politics. Since we share [that] mutual interest, we’re never bored.”

It has been over two years since Seamus and Vanessa finished their masters. Vanessa still works at UCC as a researcher on a “project to enhance the reputation of Cork as a smart region,” she explains. “I couldn’t be happier since I genuinely love Cork and its people.”

“While I am in a different building, when I have a chance, I take a few minutes to go to the Coffee Dock in the ORB to say “hi” to my former lecturers (now colleagues) and just to reminisce those happy days that led me to where I am now,” Vanessa added.

The alumni bridge, which links UCC to its ceremonial gate, has been a central feature of UCC to generations of students. Catherine and Philip Ryan from Aghada, Co. Cork, met at UCC in the 1960s and they were photographed as a young couple by the Evening Echo. Fifty years later, they were part of the unveiling of the Alumni Bridge in 2019. They shared how their love story was crafted by the surroundings of UCC.

Emily Gale, a lecturer in popular music studies at UCC was quoted by the Los Angeles Times recently in her analysis of the popular single ‘Driver’s Licence’ by Olivia Rodrigo in relation to modern love songs. Ms. Gale spoke of the popularity of ‘giving voice to the heightened emotions of late adolescence,’ which she says dates as far back as the 1840s. Founded in 1845, it is evident that finding love at UCC is just as long as a tradition.