University College Dublin

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University College Dublin
An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath
UCD Dublin.png
Latin: Universitas Collegium apud Dublinum
Motto Ad Astra
Cothrom Féinne
Motto in English
To the stars
Fair play
Established 18 May 1854, 1880, 1908
President Professor Andrew J. Deeks
Registrar Professor Mark Rogers
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 30,870 (2012/2013) [1]
Undergraduates 17,330 (2012/2013)[1]
Postgraduates 9,125 (2012/2013)[1]
Location Dublin, Ireland
Campus Urban, 148 hectares (370 acres)
Affiliations AMBA
Universitas 21

University College Dublin (also known as UCD) (Irish: An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath (COBÁC)), formally known as University College Dublin – National University of Ireland, Dublin (Irish: An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath - Ollscoil na hÉireann, Baile Átha Cliath) is Ireland's largest university, with over 1,300 faculty and 30,000 students.[2] It is located in Dublin, the Irish capital.

The university originates in a body founded in 1854 as the Catholic University of Ireland with John Henry Newman as the first rector, re-formed in 1880 and chartered in its own right in 1908. The Universities Act, 1997 renamed the constituent university as the "National University of Ireland, Dublin", and a ministerial order of 1998 renamed the institution as "University College Dublin - National University of Ireland, Dublin".[3]

Originally located in the centre of the metropolis, most of the university's faculties have since been relocated to a 147-hectare (360-acre) park campus at Belfield, four kilometres to the south of the city.


The university can trace its history to the institution founded in 1854 as the Catholic University of Ireland, was established as UCD in 1880 under the auspices of the Royal University, and received its charter in 1908.

Blessed John Henry Newman, first rector of the University

Catholic University of Ireland[edit]

Newman house, St Stephen's Green, Dublin. The original location of UCD.
The Gardens located behind Earlsfort Terrace donated and renamed in his honour by UCD in 1908

In the years following Catholic Emancipation in Ireland, a movement led by Dr Paul Cullen, Archbishop of Armagh and, later, Archbishop of Dublin (and later created a Cardinal), attempted to provide for the first time in Ireland higher-level education that was both accessible to Irish Catholics and taught by fellow-Catholics. In the 19th century, the question of denominational education in Ireland was a contentious one. It had divided Daniel O'Connell and the Young Ireland Movement for many years. The Catholic Hierarchy wanted to counteract the "Godless Colleges" established in Galway, Belfast and Cork and to provide a Catholic alternative to Trinity College, Dublin. Trinity was Anglican in its origins and, though Catholics had studied there since the 1780s, Trinity had maintained a religious test that excluded them from membership of the college's governing bodies (see Denis Caulfield Heron). In 1850 at the Synod of Thurles it was decided to open a Catholic University.

As a result of these efforts a new Catholic University of Ireland was opened in 1854 and Dr John Henry Newman was appointed as its first rector. Newman had been an integral figure in the Oxford Movement in the 19th Century. The Catholic University opened its doors on the feast of St Malachy, 3 November 1854. On that day the names of seventeen students were entered on the register and Newman gave the students an address "What are we here for" and prophesied that in later years they would look back with pride on the day. The university opened with three houses: 86 St Stephen's Green, which was known as St Patrick's or University House, under the care of The Rev. Dr Michael Flannery; 16 Harcourt Street, known as St Lawrence's under the care of The Rev. Dr James Quinn, who also had his school there; and Newman's own house, 6 Harcourt Street, known as St Mary's under Newman's personal supervision.

Amongst the first students enrolled it included the grandson of Daniel O’Connell. Another included William O'Shea who would go onto become a Captain in the British Army and was central to the divorce crises which brought down Charles Stewart Parnell's career in trying to establish Home Rule for Ireland. O'Shea though clashed with Newman and left to go to Trinity, however, after one year. Of the eight original students in Newman's own home, two were Irish, two English, two Scottish and two French. Among them were a French viscount, and Irish baronet Sir Reginald Barnewall, the son of a French countess, the grandson of a Scottish marquis, and the son of an English lord. Later were added to his care two Belgian princes and a Polish count. Many were attracted to the University on the basis of the reputation of Newman.

As a private university the Catholic University was never given a royal charter, and so was unable to award recognized degrees and suffered from chronic financial difficulties. Newman left the university in 1857 and it subsequently went into a serious decline. Dr Bartholomew Woodlock appointed Rector and served until he became Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise in 1879. In this period he attempted to secure a site of 34 acres at Clonliffe West but the scheme collapsed when expansion of the railway system on the north side of Dublin cut across the site. He then turned his attention to expanding along St Stephen's Green and over these years bought from No. 82 to 87.

This trend was reversed in 1880 with the establishment of the Royal University of Ireland. The Royal Universities charter entitled all Irish students to sit the Universities examinations and receive its degrees. Although in many respects the Catholic University can be viewed as a failure, the future University College inherited substantial assets from it including a successful medical school (Cecilia Street) and two beautiful buildings, Newman House on St Stephen's Green and the adjoining University Church.[4]

Foundation of University College, Dublin[edit]

Government Buildings, Dublin. The former location of the UCD science and engineering faculties. Opened by King George V in 1905

In order to avail of the benefits of the Royal University of Ireland arrangement, the Catholic University was re-formed as University College, Dublin. The college rapidly attracted many of the best students and academics in Ireland including Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins and James Joyce and quickly began to outperform the other three colleges in the Royal University system - in the fifteen years before the establishment of the National University the number of first class distinctions in Arts awarded by the Royal University to University College was 702 compared with a total of 486 awarded to the combined Queen's Colleges of Belfast, Galway and Cork. Many of the college’s staff and students during this period would later contribute substantially to the formation and development of the future Irish state, the most famous being Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, Patrick Pearse, Hugh Kennedy, Eoin MacNeill, Kevin O'Higgins, Tom Kettle, James Ryan, Douglas Hyde and John A. Costello. Student unrest occurred during this period, especially during loyalist speeches by the Chancellor, The 12th Earl of Meath, and the playing of "God Save the King" at conferring ceremonies.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, one of the leading Victorian poets of the 19th Century, Professor of Greek and Latin

In 1908, the Royal University was dissolved and a new National University of Ireland founded to replace it. This new University was brought into existence with three constituent University Colleges - Dublin, Galway and Cork. By this time the college campus consisted of a number of locations in and around St Stephens Green in Dublin's city centre, the main sites being Earlsfort Terrace, Cecilia Street, College of Science Merrion Street, and Newman House on St Stephen's Green. Following the establishment of the NUI, Dr. D. J. Coffey, M.B.(RUI), Professor of Physiology, Catholic University Medical School, became the first president of UCD. Under the Universities Act, 1997, University College Dublin was established as a constituent university within the National University of Ireland framework.

UCD and the Irish War of Independence[edit]

The Tierny (Administration) and Newman (Arts) Buildings, Belfield campus, UCD.

In 1913 in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteers, Eoin MacNeill, professor of early Irish history (who viewed the movement as a threat to the Home Rule movement), called for the formation of an Irish nationalist force to counteract it. The Irish Volunteers were formed later that year and MacNeill was elected its Chief-of-staff. At the outbreak of World War I in view of the Home Rule Act 1914 the majority of the volunteers opted to support the British war effort, including many UCD staff and students. Many of those who opposed this move later participated in the Easter Rising.

In this way UCD was a reflection of the Irish nationalist community in general, with several staff and students participating in the rising, such as Patrick Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh, Michael Hayes and James Ryan, and a smaller number, including Tom Kettle and Willie Redmond, fighting for the British in World War I during the same period.

Many UCD staff, students and alumni fought in the Irish War of Independence that followed the rising. Following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty four UCD graduates joined the government of the Irish Free State.

The university's graduates have since had a large impact on Irish political life - four of the nine Presidents of Ireland and six of the thirteen Taoisigh have been either former staff or graduates.

Move to Belfield[edit]

UCD graduates, 15 July 1944
'Noah's egg' outside the Veterinary School by Rachel Joynt (2004)

By the early 1940s the College had become the largest third level institution in the state. In an effort to cope with the increased numbers unsuccessful attempts were made to expand the existing city centre campus. It was finally decided that the best solution would be to move the College to a much larger greenfield site outside of the city centre and create a modern campus university. This move started in the early 1960s when the faculty of science moved to the new 1.4 square kilometres (350 acres) park campus at Belfield in a suburb on the south side of Dublin. The Belfield campus has since developed into a complex of modern buildings and inherited Georgian town houses, accommodating the colleges of the University as well as its student residences and many leisure and sporting facilities. One of UCD's previous locations, the Royal College of Science on Merrion Street is now the location of the renovated Irish Government Building, where the Department of the Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) is situated. University College Dublin had also a site in Glasnevin for much of the last century, the Albert Agricultural College, the southern part of which is now occupied by Dublin City University, the northern part is where Ballymun town is located.[5]


  • 1854 - The Catholic University of Ireland opens with Blessed John Henry Newman as the first rector. It is located on St Stephen's Green.
  • 1855 - The Catholic University Medical School was opened in 1855 in Cecilia Street.
  • 1856 - University Church was opened in 1856. Apart from religious services it was used also for public university functions and occasions such as the opening of academic sessions and the making of awards.
  • 1861 - Dr Bartholomew Woodlock appointed Rector and served until he became Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise in 1879.
  • 1879 - Monsignor Henry Neville, Dean of Cork appointed Rector (while still retaining his role as Parish Priest in a Cork parish).
  • 1880 - The University Education (Ireland) Act 1879 brought in by Disraeli's government led to the establishment of the Royal University of Ireland (incorporated by charter in 1880) which was a non-teaching, degree-awarding institution.
  • 1882/83 - The Catholic University reorganized in order to avail of the indirect endowment from the state through the Royal University of Ireland. The St Stephen's Green institution was renamed University College and its management was transferred to the Jesuits.
  • 1883-1888 - Fr William Delany SJ appointed first president of University College.
  • 1908 - Irish Universities Act brought into being the National University of Ireland with its constituent University Colleges - Dublin, Galway and Cork, and led to the demise of the Royal University and the Jesuit-run University College. Dr Denis Coffey appointed first president of reformed UCD. Coffey was to hold the position for 30 years. The Medical School in Cecilia Street became the UCD Medical Faculty. The campus covers, Earlsfort Terrace, Cecilia Street, College of Science Merrion Street, Albert College Glasnevin and St Stephen's Green.
  • 1908 - The Faculty of Commerce established.
  • 1911 - Land donated by Lord Iveagh helps the university expand in Earlsfort Terrace/Hatch Street/ St Stephen's Green. Iveagh Gardens are a part of this donation.
  • 1913 - University Park, Terenure became the base of UCD sports clubs between 1913 and 1934 - although the landlord would not sell the site to the university.
  • 1916 - A number of junior staff and students participated in the Easter Rising.
  • 1926- University Education (Agriculture and Dairy Science) Act transferred the Royal College of Science in Merrion Street and Albert Agricultural College in Glasnevin to UCD.
  • 1933 - Belfield House on 44 acres is bought for sporting purposes.
  • 1940 - Dr Arthur Conway appointed president. During this period various plans were developed but failed to succeed to expand along Iveagh Gardens, Hatch Street and Earlsfort Terrace.
  • 1964 - Dr Jeremiah Hogan appointed president (1964–1972). Science moves into new campus at Belfield. UCD becomes the first University in Europe to launch a MBA programme.
  • 1967 - Minister for Education, Donogh O'Malley, proposes plan to merge UCD and Trinity.
  • 1969-1970 - Faculties of Commerce, Arts and Law move to Belfield.
  • 1972 - Dr Thomas Murphy appointed president (1972–1985).
  • 1973 - The Library (Now known as the James Joyce Library) opens.
  • 1980 - Richview and 17.4 acres bought. Architecture moves in there.
  • 1981 - Sports Complex opens.
  • 1986 - Dr Patrick Masterson appointed president. (1986–1993)
  • 1990 - Engineering building opens. Most, but not all of the Earlsfort terrace, Engineering department moves to Belfield.
  • 1990 - Carysfort College, Blackrock on 19 acres bought and is the location of the Smurfit Graduate School of Business. First student village (Belgrove) opened.
  • 1992 - Second student village (Merville) opened. The Centre for Film Studies established.
  • 1993 - Dr Art Cosgrove appointed president (1994–2003).
  • 1994 - O'Reilly Hall opened.
  • 2003 - NovaUCD, a 110 million Euro Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre opened. The purpose-built centre was funded by a public/private partnership. UCD purchased the Philips site and buildings adjacent to the Belfield campus at Clonskeagh, to facilitate the relocation of the Departments of Civil and Agricultural & Food Engineering from Earlsfort Terrace, bringing more of the remaining off campus elements of the University to Belfield.
  • 2004 - Dr Hugh Brady appointed president. UCD celebrates 150th Anniversary.
  • 2006 - UCD Horizons begins.
  • 2007 - With the completion of the final phase of the Health Sciences Building, the last of the departments remaining at Earlsfort terrace relocate to Belfield.
  • 2009 - Innovation Alliance announced between Trinity and UCD.
  • 2010 - NCAD and UCD forge stronger links. The two institutions will form an academic alliance with new joint courses and research across common areas of interest. NCAD will become a recognised college of UCD. NCAD will remain on its current site and retaining institutional autonomy.
  • 2012 - Expanded Student and Sports Centre opened containing an Olympic Swimming pool, cinema and a new gym.
  • 2012 - UCD became embroiled in controversy over its sudden closure and destruction of the athletics track and field facilities beside Belfield House less than a day later. The track had been funded and built using private funding.[6]
  • 2013 - Sutherland School of Law to open to replace Roebuck castle for the Law faculty at the South-Western end of the campus.
  • 2014 - Prof. Andrew J. Deeks appointed President, the first Australian to hold the highest office in an Irish university.


Colleges and schools[edit]

The biological and geological sciences building of the Science Centre, Belfield campus, UCD.
Health Sciences building, Belfield campus, UCD.
Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, Blackrock
UCD Quinn School Of Business

The University consists of five colleges, their associated schools (34 in total) and eighteen research institutes and centres. Each college also has its own Graduate School, for postgraduates.

List of colleges and their respective schools:

School of Agriculture and Food Science
School of Veterinary Medicine
School of Archaeology
School of Art History & Cultural Policy
School of Classics
School of English, Drama & Film
School of History & Archives[7]
School of Irish, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore & Linguistics
School of Languages & Literatures
School of Music
School of Business
Quinn School of Business[8]
Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business
School of Law
School of Architecture
School of Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering
School of Biosystems Engineering
School of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering
School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering
School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
School of Medicine and Medical Science
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems
School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science
School of Applied Social Science
School of Economics
School of Education
School of Geography, Planning & Environmental Policy
School of Information & Library Studies
School of Philosophy
School of Politics & International Relations
School of Psychology
School of Social Justice
School of Sociology
School of Biology and Environmental Science
School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science
School of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
School of Computer Science and Informatics
School of Geological Sciences
School of Mathematical Sciences
School of Physics

UCD Horizons[edit]

At the beginning of the 2005/2006 academic year, UCD introduced the Horizons curriculum,[9] which completely semesterised and modularised all undergraduate programmes enhancing the quality and flexibility of the standard university education. Under the Horizons curriculum, new undergraduate students have greater choice in what exactly they study in their programme. Under the new curriculum, students choose ten core modules from their specific subject area and two other modules, which can be chosen from any other programme across the entire University (this applies in the majority of programmes, however some exceptions, as in Arts Omnibus and Business & Law, can apply). For example, a student studying Stage 1 Commerce as his primary degree programme can also choose one module (or two) from the Stage 1 Law programme (subject to space availability, timetable constraints and so on).


Patrons and benefactors[edit]

The initial patrons and benefactors of the University were the Catholic Church.

Undergraduate fees are funded in part by the Irish State (for EU citizens) and by students themselves.

Amongst the most recent patrons include actor Gregory Peck who was a founding patron of the School of Film. Other benefactors include Lochlann Quinn (UCD Quinn School of Business), Michael Smurfit (Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School), Peter Sutherland (Sutherland School of Law), Tony O'Reilly (O'Reilly Hall) and Denis O'Brien (O'Brien Science Centre)


Notable Alumni
Revolutionary Joyce.jpg
James Joyce 1903, writer
Brian O'Driscoll 2.jpg
Brian O'Driscoll 2001, rugby player
Gabriel Byrne 07TIFF.jpg
Neil Jordan by David Shankbone.jpg
Neil Jordan, Oscar-winning film director and producer
Seán MacBride 1984.jpg
Seán MacBride, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 1974
Peter Sutherland, first Director- General of the World Trade Organization

Among its most accomplished alumni and faculty are three former presidents of Ireland; Douglas Hyde (as faculty), Patrick Hillery, and Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh (faculty). V. V. Giri, the fourth President of India studied law between 1913 to 1916 before being expelled from Ireland. Five former Taoisigh (Prime Ministers) of Ireland attended UCD: John A. Costello, Charles Haughey, Garret FitzGerald, John Bruton and Brian Cowen. Irish revolutionaries Patrick Pearse and Thomas Macdonough, two of the leaders of the Easter Rising and signatories of Proclamation of the Irish Republic were a student and member of faculty at the University, respectively. As well as former President, Douglas Hyde and Pádraig Pearse, UCD Professor Eoin MacNeill had a key role in the Gaelic revival in Ireland.

Contemporary politicians include five of the seventeen members of cabinet of the Government of Ireland. These include Michael Noonan (Minister for Finance) and Ruairi Quinn (Minister for Education and Skills). Noël Kinsella, a psychology graduate, is the speaker of the Senate of Canada.

In international affairs UCD's alumni include Seán MacBride, one of the founders of Amnesty International and recipient of the 1974 Nobel Peace Prize. UCD law graduate Peter Sutherland, one of the major negotiators in the foundation of the World Trade Organization, served as its first Director-General. Former student Ryan Crocker, a Career Ambassador within the United States Foreign Service, served as Ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq amongst other places and is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Within the institutional frameworks and politics of the European Union UCD has a number of figures. Including Sutherland, six of Ireland's nine European Commissioners are alumni. Catherine Day is the current Secretary-General of the European Commission. Alumnus and faculty member Professor James Dooge was chairman of what became known as the "Dooge Report", which examined the institutional questions in transitioning to the Single European Act, the first major change in the European's projects frameworks since the Treaty of Rome.

Since the foundation of the Irish state in 1922, UCD has produced the most Justices of the Supreme Court of Ireland, the most Chief Justices and the most Attorneys General of Ireland. Nine of the eleven current Justices of the Supreme Court are UCD alumni.

Examples of other well known UCD alumni include writers James Joyce the author of Ulysses, Flann O'Brien (At Swim-Two-Birds), Colm Tóibín (The Master) and Roddy Doyle (Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha). Some notable poets to attend include Gerard Manley Hopkins (faculty), John Montague and John Jordan. Actors Gabriel Byrne, Carroll O'Connor, Dan O'Herlihy, Brendan Gleeson and Chris O'Dowd all attended the University. Film directors include Oscar winner Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) and Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot). Comedians, Dermot Morgan and Dara Ó Briain were major figures in the University's debating scene for many years. Amongst the number of humanitarians to attend include, John O'Shea founder of GOAL and Tom Arnold the CEO of Concern Worldwide. Former religious figures include Cardinals Tomás Ó Fiaich and Desmond Connell as well as the founding rector Cardinal Newman.

As well as the aforementioned Peter Sutherland, alumni involved in business include David J. O'Reilly, formerly CEO and Chairman of the Chevron Corporation, Niall FitzGerald, former CEO and Chairman of Unilever, Pearse Lyons, founder and President of Alltech and Tony O'Reilly, who previously served as the CEO of H. J. Heinz Company as well as owning Independent News & Media.

UCD has produced a number of well known athletes, mainly in the popular Irish field sports of Gaelic games and rugby union. Many played within the University's club sides such as Brian O'Driscoll (the most-capped player in rugby union history) who played for University College Dublin R.F.C.. The Club has produced thirteen British and Irish Lions including O'Driscoll, with several others attending as students. Amongst the most notable Gaelic footballers to attend are Seán Murphy, a medical school graduate, a member of the Gaelic Football Team of the Millennium. Notable hurlers include Nicky Rackard, included in the Hurling Team of the Century. Kevin Moran, formerly a Gaelic football but also a soccer player for Manchester United, graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in 1976.

Former faculty include Dennis Jennings of the School of Computing, considered to be an Internet pioneer for his leadership of NSFNET, the network that became the Internet backbone.

Other notable faculty include Prof.Patrick Lynch, Roger Yates and Jan Łukasiewicz as well as Professor of Science and Society James Heckman who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2000.


The university is consistently ranked as one of the best universities in Ireland on worldwide metrics.

  • Academic Ranking of World Universities 2014.
201-300 globally.[10]
  • Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015.
226-250 globally.[11]
  • QS World University Rankings 2014.
139th globally.[12]

The Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School of UCD is rated regularly as being among the 100 best schools for Business or Economics worldwide.

  • Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2014.
91st globally.[13]
  • Financial Times European Business School Rankings 2013.
34th in Europe.[14]
  • The Economist (Full-time MBA ranking) 2013.
68th globally.[15]


  • The Sunday Times University of the Year 2006.[16]

Research and innovation[edit]

The University is a leading research centre within Ireland with a research income of €114.7 million during 2007/8. UCDs research community of approximately one thousand faculty members, one thousand post doctoral researchers and two thousand PhD students work in the various schools and research institutes of the University.

Research Institutes[edit]

Research administration building, Belfield campus, UCD.
The Conway Institute, Belfield campus, UCD.
Front entrance, NovaUCD

Amongst the research institutes of the university are:

External collaborations[edit]

Wide partnerships in which the university is involved include:

Current and former campus companies[edit]

The most prominent university-related company is the IE Domain Registry; many of the university's academics continue to sit on the board of directors. The university originally gained control of the .ie domain in the late 1980s.

There are a number of related companies, many concentrated as the NovaUCD initiative, to commercialise research results and opportunities; many of these reflect the university's expertise in the life sciences and information technology. These companies include:

Student life[edit]

From 2013, there is a new bar on campus in the Student Union building and near the gym. This follows a year with not campus bar. There is, however, also a faculty bar in Newman building.


UCD Student Centre 2012

UCD has over 60 sports clubs based on campus with 28 sports scholarships awarded annually.

UCD competes in the most popular Irish field sports of Gaelic Games, Hurling, Soccer and Rugby Union. UCD is the only Irish University to compete in both the major Irish leagues for rugby and soccer with University College Dublin A.F.C. and University College Dublin R.F.C. competing in the top leagues of their respective competitions. UCD GAA have won the most Sigerson Cup (Gaelic Football) whilst they have the second most Fitzgibbon Cup (hurling) wins, both the major University competitions in the sports in Ireland.

UCD sport annually compete in the Colours Match with Trinity College, Dublin in a range of sports, most notably in rugby. The rugby side has won 35 of the 57 contests. UCD RFC has produced 13 British and Irish Lions as well 70 Irish Rugby International and 5 for other nations.

Whilst top flight soccer is semi professional with many players going to England, UCD is still the only University soccer side in the top division of a Western European league. A result of particular note came in 1985, when UCD drew with Everton F.C. in the 1st round of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, which Everton went onto win.

Other notable team sports in the college basketball side, UCD Marian, victors in the 2012 Irish Basketball Superleague.

The Belfield campus is home to a wide range of sports facilities. Facilities include the National Hockey stadium (which has previously hosted the Women's Hockey World Cup Finals and the Men's Hockey European Championship Finals) and UCD Bowl a 3,000 capacity stadium used for rugby and soccer. UCD has one of the largest fitness centres in the country, squash courts, tennis courts, an indoor rifle range, over twenty sports pitches (for rugby, soccer and gaelic games), an indoor climbing wall and two large sports halls. The Sporscenter was added to in 2012 with the competition of an Olympic-size swimming pool, a tepidarium and a revamped fitness center as part of the re-development of the UCD Student Centre.

UCD 50 metre pool

The University hosted the IFIUS World Interuniversity Games in October 2006.

UCD American Football

Leinster Rugby[edit]

Leinster Rugby's headquarters and training facility are located on campus, housing the Academy, Senior Squad and Administrative arms of the rugby club. Their facilities include an office block and a high performance facility, located next to the Institute of Sport and Health (ISH). They also use UCD's pitches. It was completed in 2012 at a cost of 2.5 million euro.


Tom Kettle, former Auditor of the Literary and Historical Society

There are currently over fifty student societies in the university. They cater for many interests ranging from large-scale party societies such as Ag Soc, Arts Soc, Commerce and Economics Society, ISS (and its subgroup AfricaSoc), INDSoc(Indian Society) and MSoc(Malaysian Society) who have the largest student communities of Indian and Malaysian students in Ireland. There are also religiously-interested groups such as the Christian Union, the Islamic Society and the Secular Humanist Society, a television station Campus Television Network, academic-oriented societies like the Philosophy Society, Mathsoc, Classical Society, Filmsoc and everything in between, including An Cumann Gaelach, an Irish-language society and such charities as St. Vincent de Paul, UCDSVP.

Many UCD societies engage in voluntary work on-campus and across Dublin. For example, the UCD Student Legal Service is a student-run society that provides free legal information clinics to the students of UCD.[18]

Irish political parties are represented on campus including Young Fine Gael, Ógra Fianna Fáil and UCD Labour Youth. The most popular group is Bord na Gaelige (Irish speakers). The college has two debating unions.

The oldest student society is the Literary and Historical Society, which is currently in its 160th session, and the University College Dublin Law Society which was founded in 1911. Both of these societies are the major debating societies of the college and two of the leading ones in Ireland. In Ireland's most prestigious competition, the Irish Times Debate the L&H has 11 team wins and 12 individual ones with the Law Society achieving 2 team wins and 2 individual wins respectively. The two societies have also been successful further afield at the UK and Ireland John Smith Memorial Mace (formerly The Observer Mace) with the L&H winning 5 titles and Lawsoc 2 titles. UCD has hosted the World University Debating Championships twice, most recently in 2006. At the start of the 12/13 Academic Year, the Literary and Historical Society achieved a membership of 5143 becoming the largest student society in UCD and in Europe.[19] Away from politics and debating the UCD Dramsoc is the university drama society, it is noted for an active membership and a number of notable alumni. The university also has a successful sinfonia called University College Dublin Symphony Orchestra.

There are two societies for international students, ESN UCD (part of the Erasmus Student Network) and the International Student's Society.

Chris O'Dowd former member of UCD Dramsoc

Students' Union[edit]

Glenomena student residences, Belfield campus, UCD.

The students' union, UCDSU in the college has been an active part of campaigns run by the National Union, USI, and has played a highly significant role in the life of the college since its foundation in 1974.

The Union has also taken significant stances on issues of human rights that have hit the headlines in Ireland and around the world, particularly in becoming the first institution in the world to implement a ban of Coca-Cola products in Student Union controlled shops on the basis of alleged human and trade union rights abuses in Colombia. This ban was overturned in 2010.[20]

The Union's main Governing Body is the Union Council which meets every two weeks during term. Council membership consists of 180+ seats for Class Representatives, ten directly elected officers of the Union Executive and five Executive officers elected by Union Council at its first meeting each year. Their term commences on 1 July in the year of their election and lasts for twelve months. Sabbatical elections take place in late February of each year. To date, students from Arts, Science and Law have predominated in holding council seats.

Student publications and media[edit]


The university has two student papers, the broadsheet The University Observer and the tabloid College Tribune.

The University Observer[edit]

The University Observer won the Newspaper of the Year award at the National Student Media Awards in April 2006, an accolade it has achieved many times, most recently in April 2014. Founded in 1994, its first editors were Pat Leahy and comedian Dara Ó Briain. Many figures in Irish journalism have held the position of editor including The Irish Times deputy news editor Roddy O'Sullivan, The Sunday Business Post political correspondent Pat Leahy, AFP business reporter Enda Curran, Sunday Independent Chief Reporter Daniel McConnell, RTÉ News reporter Samantha Libreri and TV researcher Alan Torney. The efforts of its staff were noted by the prestigious Guardian Student Media Awards with a nomination for "Best Newspaper", the first Irish student publication to receive such recognition. In 2001, in addition to several Irish National Student Media Awards, the University Observer under McConnell and Curran took the runner up prize for "Best Publication" at the Guardian Student Media Awards in London. To date, The University Observer has won 29 Irish Student Media Awards.

The main sections within the paper are: campus, national and international news, comment, opinion and sport. In addition, each edition includes a pullout arts and culture supplement called O-Two, with music interviews, travel, fashion and colour pieces. The University Observer is funded by the UCD Students' Union, but its content remains editorially independent, barring one 'Union Page' per issue.

College Tribune[edit]

The College Tribune was founded in 1988, with the assistance of noted political commentator Vincent Browne, then an evening student in the college, who noted the lack of an independent media outlet for students and the college in general. Financially, it is supported by commercial advertising in the paper and is completely independent of college and union authorities. Former editors include Conor Lally, Crime Correspondent of the Irish Times, The Sunday Times journalist Richard Oakley, former Sunday Tribune reporter Eoghan Rice, Paul Lynch, film critic of the Sunday Tribune, Irish Independent soccer correspondent Daniel McDonnell, and brothers Gary and Fergus O'Shea, both now in the Irish Sun, who were editors in 1996-97 and 2001-02 respectively.

Other past contributors include Dave Kelly, now rugby correspondent with the Irish Independent and Katherine Smyth a former associate producer with BBC Current Affairs. The College Tribune was tied to the national Sunday Tribune through its connections with Vincent Browne, but such links ended in 1999. The Tribune has also been distinguished on several occasions at national student media awards, particularly in sportswriting, where it has a strong tradition. The paper won the Student Newspaper of the Year at the USI/Irish Independent media awards in 1996. The then editor, Conor Lally, won Student Journalist of the Year in 1996. Tribune stalwart Peter Lahiff was a recipient of a Guardian Award for Diversity in 2003, the only Irish-based recipient of any Guardian award to date.

College Tribune sections include news, features, opinion, music, film, sport and colour writing, and it is famous for the launch of the satirical page The Evil Gerald, a 'paper within a paper'. The Gerald was succeeded by The Turbine in 2003, and they have featured such satirical stories as the Provisional IRA dropping its pursuit of a United Ireland in favour of occupation of the Isle of Man, and Osama Bin Laden stealing the Magic Door from Bosco which allowed him access to anywhere in the world.

Radio and television[edit]

UCD also has a student radio station, Belfield FM, broadcasting at selected times throughout the academic year across the campus and surrounds on FM and online on the station's website. The station is independently run by the UCD Broadcasting Society and has produced well known Irish radio presenters such as Ryan Tubridy and Rick O'Shea (of RTÉ fame) and Barry Dunne of 98FM. Belfield FM is the successor to UCD FM, which was operated within the entertainment office of the students' union as a service for students. Initially launched in 1992, the station rebranded in 2000 and has operated since then under the current name. As a result of the implementation of the students' union's new constitution at the beginning of the 2012 / 2013 academic year, the station will, for the first time operate as a fully independent media outlet.[21]

At the beginning of the academic year 2005-2006, the creation of a student television station, titled Campus Television Network (CTN) was announced. The station began creating programmes in November 2006 and distributing them online, at its old website, and across the campus in the student bars and student centre. CTN does not actually broadcast any shows themselves, either through the college network or via traditional analogue or satellite methods, rather it allows downloads and viewing of programmes on their website and distributes DVDs to on campus venues. It currently produces a variety of shows from their entertainments show 'Ent...This!' to their fashion shows 'Nu Look' and 'Slick'. CTN can be viewed on its new website at

Historical newspapers[edit]

  • The Student
  • University Gazette
  • Confrontation
  • Campus
  • UCD News
  • Student Voice
  • Gobshout
  • Hibernia
  • Comhthrom Feinne
  • Comhar

University College Dublin scarf colours[edit]

University College Dublin
University College Dublin, Colours
Sailing and Swimming Clubs Rugby Club Boat Club
Agricultural Science Arts Chemical Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering Commerce Electronic, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineering
Law Medicine Radiography
Science Social Science Veterinary Medicine

Presidents of UCD[edit]

UCD in popular culture[edit]

In literature[edit]

James Joyce’s novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is partially set in UCD (when it was sited on Earlsfort Terrace) where Stephen Dedalus (now the name of the IT building) is enrolled as a student. Joyce's posthumously-published autobiographical novel Stephen Hero contains stories of his time in UCD. Flann O'Brien’s novel At Swim-Two-Birds features a UCD student who writes a meta-novel wherein the author is put on trial by the characters of his novel. Maeve Binchy's novel, Circle of Friends, deals with three female friends starting college in UCD in the 1950s. However, shots of Trinity College were used in the 1995 film. The second Ross O'Carroll-Kelly novel, The Teenage Dirtbag Years, follows Ross as he enters UCD.

In music[edit]

Christy Moore wrote a tongue in cheek song about UCD's Literary and Historical Society called "The Auditor of the L and H". Johnny Jurex & The Punk Pistols, predecessors to Rocky De Valera & The Gravediggers had a song called "Anarchy in Belfield" which they played at their only gig during Rag Week in 1976.[22]

In film and television[edit]

Conor McPherson's third film Saltwater was filmed in Belfield, UCD. In Boston Legal, Season 2, Episode 21 "Word Salad Day", there is a reference to a study from UCD that "found that the effects of divorce on children are far more damaging than the death of a parent".[23]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°18′30″N 6°13′20″W / 53.30833°N 6.22222°W / 53.30833; -6.22222