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Information for Invited Guests

Graduate Conferrings

The general information below tells you all you need to know to ensure that your visit to the University on graduation day will be both enjoyable and memorable. The Brief History of Conferrings page includes interesting background information on conferring ceremonies attire and the significance of the mace.

The ceremonies are held in the University Concert Hall in the Foundation Building. Please be seated in the Concert Hall half an hour before the commencement of whichever ceremony you are attending.

Refer to the map of the campus, which includes car parks. You enter the Foundation Building by the East entrance, across the courtyard from UL's Main Reception. Be sure to have your invitation with you.

The Foundation Building has international-standard access facilities for people with disabilities. Additional facilities for guests include wheelchair positions and companion seats in the Concert Hall auditorium.

Please complete and submit the online special seating requirement form in advance of the ceremonies so that we can provide you with the services you need. Replacement tickets will be left for you to collect on the day of the conferring at the Information/Ticket Desk located in UL's Main Reception area.

Guests should wear smart/formal dress suitable for the occasion. Men should wear a suit or jacket and tie. Women should wear a smart dress or suit (skirt and jacket or trouser suit).

Points to be observed on the day:

  • Each ticket admits one adult guest. Children under 14 years will not be admitted.
  • You are expected to be in your seat 30 minutes before the ceremony begins. If you have not occupied your seat at this time, the seat will be reallocated and you will be seated in the Viewing Room.
  • You are requested not to leave your seat during the ceremony.
  • Please applaud each graduand as they receive their parchment. You may take photographs or film during the ceremony but only from your seat.
  • Please ensure that your mobile phone is switched off during the ceremony.
  • At the end of the ceremony, you are kindly requested not to leave the auditorium until the academic procession has exited.
  • Academic procession
  • The President convenes a meeting of the University for conferring academic awards.
  • The Vice President Academic Affairs & Student Engagement presides over the ceremony.
  • The Dean delivers a welcome address.
  • The Dean presents the graduands, and the graduands are called to receive their award.
  • The President confers the awards.
  • The President confers special distinction awards.
  • The President delivers a conferring address.
  • The academic procession and new graduates retire.

Tea, coffee and canapés will be served in the Foundation Building Atrium immediately after each conferring ceremony.

Snack services will be available throughout the day on campus.

Lunch and dinner will be available at the following restaurants on campus:

East Room at Plassey House Tel:  353 (0) 61 202186
Pavilion Restaurant Tel:  353 (0) 61 213369
River Bistro Tel:  353 (0) 86 0477153

Please contact the restaurants directly to make a reservation. 

Academic Dress

The origins of academic dress date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, when universities were beginning to emerge. The dress of the scholar, both student and teacher, was that of the monk.

The academic robe can be traced back to the Council of Oxford in 1222 when the local bishop decreed that all clergy should wear a closed flowing robe then worn by lay people. Both Oxford and Cambridge adopted this practice and continued with it even when the clerical garb changed. In 1895, formal standards were agreed for US universities, which continue to this day. The colour used in US academic dress is indicative of the subject to which the degree pertains. This same uniformity does not apply on this side of the Atlantic. You will find it very difficult to identify a pattern or consistency when staff are assembled on stage.

The hood was intended to serve as a cover for the tonsured head of the cleric. Caps began to be used at a later time. You will notice that some academics wear caps while others do not, depending on the custom at the particular university at which the degree was conferred on them.

Based on the award level, University of Limerick robes vary as follows:

  • Certificate, Diploma and Graduate Diploma Awards: Black bachelor degree robe, with striped epitoge over the left shoulder. The number of stripes denotes the level of award, e.g. Certificate: two stripes, etc.
  • Bachelor Degree Award: Black bachelor degree robe with short sleeves. The hood is v-necked and fully lined with the relevant award colour at the back.
  • Master Degree Award: Black bachelor degree robe with long sleeves. The hood is v-necked, lined with white and surrounded by a band of the relevant award colour.
  • Doctoral Degree Award: Red robe with v-necked hood, maroon in colour.

Click here for detailed information on the colour of UL hoods with respect to award level.

The Significance of the Mace

In medieval times the mace was a weapon of war; it was a heavy staff or club made wholly or partly from metal and was used for breaking armour. In France in the 13th century, the mace was carried by the king's bodyguard and began to acquire a ceremonial function as a symbol of all kinds of secular power. Nowadays, the President hands the parchments to the graduands across the mace.