Modelled on the deadly competition featured in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the first competition of three was hosted by UCC’s Harry Potter Society.
Founding members Kelly Coyle and Ellen McCarthy were stunned when more than 1,000 students signed up for their society and queued for a ‘sorting ceremony’ in September.
Their committee has organised numerous events since, including a yule ball. “We’re planning on releasing an edition of The Daily Prophet [the newspaper in JK Rowling’s books] to give out on campus,” said society president and proud Griffindor Ellen McCarthy.
“Next year we plan to go to Leavesden Studios. It’s amazing, you can actually walk into the Great Hall or wander down Diagon Alley.”
Teams from NUI Galway, Dublin City University (DCU) and Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, hopped on their broomsticks to come to Cork to hunt down a magical dragon — society member Cathal O’Mahony — and trick him out of his magical golden egg.
DCU’s Harry Potter society has 350 members, 22 of whom came to Cork for the first round of the Triwizard Tournament, and they are hosting the next round.
“We’re here to win,” Gabor Romhanyi, 20, an economics student, said.
Aidan McInerney, 20, studies communications. He’s also the captain of DCU’s Quidditch team.
He explained the many inventive ways around the sadly lacking magical element of the game of Quidditch in the Mggle world.
“Well, unfortunately we can’t actually fly,” Aidan said. “So the three chasers just have to keep their broomsticks in place as best they can while they run around with the quaffle [ball]. Then there’s a seeker looking for the Golden Snitch.”
In the Harry Potter books, the snitch is an impish magical flying golden ball with wings, seemingly with a mind of its own; it hides and zooms around the place and the ‘seeker’ has to end the game by catching it.
“The snitch is actually a person with a golden ball tied onto them,” Aidan said. “They can do anything they want at all; they can tackle other players, run and hide… It’s quite a spectacle.”
“Ah, well. One of our lads nearly got in there but it was DCU in the end,” UCC’s Ellen said. “But the next round will be underwater and two of our lads are lifeguards so hopefully we’ll have an advantage.”