Royal College of Science for Ireland

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Royal College of Science for Ireland
Coláiste Ríoga Eolaíocht Éireann
Active 1865–1926
Type Public
Location Dublin, Ireland

The Royal College of Science for Ireland (Irish: Coláiste Ríoga Eolaíocht Éireann) was created as a result of a decision of HM Treasury in 1865 to merge a number of science-oriented education bodies including the Museum of Irish Industry and Government School of Science applied to Mining and the Arts. It was originally based at 51 St. Stephen's Green but moved in the early twentieth century to a new building, the Royal College of Science in Merrion Street, designed by Sir Aston Webb, who also designed the new facade for Buckingham Palace.

The second headquarters of the RCSI, in Merrion Street.
The building is now the headquarters of the Irish government.

The creation of the RCSI resulted from a report in 1864 of a Parliamentary Select Committee, which had recommended that a College of Science should be founded for Ireland. The Rosse Commission of 1866 outlined the scope and functions of the proposed college.

On 11 September 1867 its mission statement was outlined as

“The object of the Royal College of Science is to supply as far as practicable a Complete Course of instruction in Science applicable to the Industrial Arts, especially those which may be classed broadly under the heads of Mining, Agriculture, Engineering, and Manufactures, and to aid in the instruction of Teachers for the local Schools of Science”

Its role was later extended to include “Mining, Engineering, and Manufactures, and in Physics and Natural Science” (RCSI Directory…for the Session 1898–99, RCSI/254). The RCSI had chairs of Mining and Mineralogy, Physics, Chemistry, Zoology, Botany, Geology, Applied Mathematics and Mechanism, Descriptive Geometry and Engineering.

In 1926 the RCSI was absorbed into University College Dublin (UCD), where it became the UCD Science and Engineering faculties. In 1964 the Physics Department of the Science Faculty became the first in UCD to move from its Earlsfort Terrace location to the new campus in Belfield. The Engineering School comprising the Departments of Agricultural Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering remained in Merrion Street until its move to the Belfield campus in 1989.

Its former headquarters in Merrion Street is now part of the Irish Government Buildings.


  • The College of Science for Ireland: Its Origin and Development, with Notes on Similar Institutions in Other Countries, and a Bibliography of the Work Published by the Staff and Students (1900–1923) (Dublin: The University Press for the College of Science Association, 1923)
  • Shane McCorristine. 'IVRLA Research Report: Reconstructing Irish Science; The Library of the Royal College of Science (1867-1926)’, Research_Online@UCD (2010): 1-16.

Coordinates: 53°20′21″N 6°15′15″W / 53.339282°N 6.254187°W / 53.339282; -6.254187