Competitive Debating

The L&H provides a number of opportunities for speakers to get involved, both within the University, and in external competitions. For details on the competitions run within UCD, simply select an option from the "Internal Competitions" tab, or click here. The society also hosts a number of competitions which welcome speakers from other institutions to debate in UCD. Details of these competitions can be found under the Intervarsities tab, or simply by clicking here.

The L&H sends speakers to a number of competitions throughout the calendar year, the details of which are found on this page. We hope you will sign up for as many of these competitions as you wish, by emailing our Competitions Convenor, Sarah, at She would also be pleased to answer any questions you have about anything to do with anything mentioned below, or any queries you have about how to get involved in competitive debating.

The Irish Times National Debating Championship

The Irish Times is the largest and most prestigious prepared debating competition in Ireland, as well as the longest running, having come into existance in the 1960s.

In this competition speakers speak in teams of two, with four teams on each side of the motion in the first round. The speakers debate a topic or motion which is given to them approximately two weeks before the round takes place. They are given their position in the debate and the side they are speaking on, and then may prepare their speeches prior to the round.

Coaching will be available to inexperienced speakers who are interested in taking part in the competition, but are unsure as to how to structure a speech, unsure as to the motion given, or as to the formalities of how a debate works.

The L&H were the runners-up in The Irish Times in 2011/12.

The Irish Mace

The Irish Mace is a more recently established prepared debating competition, which is run in conjunction with the English Speaking Union in the United Kingdom. Winners of the Irish Mace go on to represent Ireland in the International Mace Final, an extremely prestigious honour for any speaker.

This competition follows a similar format to the Irish Times, with speakers speaking in teams of two, but with only two teams on each side. In the first round speakers are given the motion and prepare both sides, though in later rounds teams are given their position and motion. Motions, once again, are released approximately a fortnight before the round.

A workshop will be given as to the format of this competition, and coaching will be provided, offering speakers help with the presentation and content of their speeches, with details to follow closer to the time.

The L&H are the reigning champions of the Irish Mace.

Inter-Varsity Debating Competitions

The society sends teams to a number of inter-varsity competitions throughout the year. These competitions, referred to as IVs, take place over the course of a weekend, with speakers participating in 5 debates over two days, followed by the top teams progressing to the knockout stages. In this format speakers are given the motion only 15 minutes before the debate begins - which may sound intimidating, but is actually exhilerating and fun (as everyone's in the same boat!).

These competitions offer a great chance to go away, similar to a class trip, with socials on the Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as offering a chance to see great places, a bonding experience with other members of the society, and a great way to make new friends. The society has sent teams to Cork, Galway, and further afield to London, Edinburgh and Paris in previous years, and promises the same this year!

There are a number of IV's scheduled for the first semester, which the L&H will be sending teams to - to sign up simply email Sarah, our Competitions Officer, at

Edinburgh Cup

The Edinburgh Cup will be taking place on 6th-7th October, making it one of the first competitions of the year, and is hosted by the University of Edinburgh. This tournament is a mid-sized tournament, and as it is close to the beginning of the academic year there will be many inexperienced teams from a variety of British institutions; meaning if you're new to debating, you won't be alone. As many of you know from class trips, Edinburgh is a beautiful city, and has fantastic nightlife. With two socials provided by the competition, it's a great opportunity for a weekend away, and to get involved with the society, and debating, right from the beginning of the year.

SOAS Inter-Varsity

This is the first large-competition of the academic year, taking place in early October. The host University for this competition is the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. This means a weekend spent in London, subsidised by the society, and don't worry - the debates won't require any specific knowledge about Oriental or African Studies! The SOAS IV is a large competition with many new speakers taking part, and with quarter-final, semi-final and final stages, offers speakers a great opportunity to take part in and watch some great debating over the weekend. In previous years this has been one of the most enjoyable competitions, the University provides generous socials, and subsidised food and drink, with the chance to explore London in our spare time. It really is a great reason to get involved!
Details as to the specific dates will be updated shortly.

Cork Inter-Varsity

The Cork IV takes place in the first week of December each year, providing an excellent escape from exam stresses, in favour of more fun pursuits! This IV has a reputation for fantastic food, drink and socials, with karaoke and Christmas roasts being among the many selling points of this competition. The IV boasts an added bonus for 'Novice' speakers (those in their first year of College debating), a Novice Final, meaning the opportunity to mark yourselves out among your peers!
More details to follow once they are announced.

To sign up simply contact our Competitions Officer, Helen, at