Albert College (Dublin)
Albert College is the oldest building on the campus of Dublin City University and contains the offices of the university president, the DCU Educational Trust, and other executive offices of the university; the building dates from 1851. The Albert College Building also houses the 1838 Club, a restaurant for staff and postgraduate research students. The adjoining Albert College Extension contained laboratories for the school of engineering and was opened in 1985. The college is located in Glasnevin, Dublin, Ireland.
In 1838, John Pitt Kennedy, the first inspector-general of the nascent Irish National School system, acquired land for the Crown for the specific purpose of building a central model farm and training establishment for National School teachers. The teachers were to be taught how to give instruction to children not only in reading, writing and arithmetic but also in practical and innovative methods of agriculture. Albert College started life as Glasnevin Model Farm in 1838, becoming the Albert National Agricultural Training Institution in 1853 after a visit by Prince Albert. The foundation of the college was an important event in the history of agricultural education in Ireland, which trained primary school teachers to the standards required by the Board of National Education in Ireland for the teaching of agriculture, additionally it also trained those whose aim was to pursue a career in agriculture. The board established twenty model agricultural schools and provided many national schools with small holdings or gardens. Because of religious opposition and laissez-faire economic policies, the board was forced to discontinue support for the schools holdings in 1863 and in 1874 disposed of most of the model farms. Albert College survived, probably because it was not exclusively concerned with the board's educational policies—it also carried out research work in new crop varieties, farming methods and breeding livestock.
In 1902 the name Albert Agricultural College was adopted. In the early 20th century Paul A. Murphy, Professor of plant pathology, made a significant scientific breakthrough in the study of phytophthera infestans, the fungus which causes potato blight. In the definitive work on the Irish Famine - The Great Hunger - the author Cecil Woodham-Smith states that in view of the fact that Ireland suffered so much from the blight it was "by a stroke of poetic justice that it was in Ireland that much of the final research was carried out... at the Albert College in Glasnevin, Dublin".
In 1926 the Faculty of Agriculture, University College, Dublin, moved onto the site as a result of the University Education (Agriculture and Dairy Science) Act, 1926. In 1964 University College, Dublin, approved the sale of 359 acres (145 ha) of the Albert College lands to Dublin Corporation, 212 acres (86 ha) of these were on a separate northern site which is now Ballymun town centre —the Albert College Park lands were also transferred to Dublin Corporation at this time and continue to be used as a public park. The sale occurred because the imminent transfer of the Faculty of Agriculture to Belfield became apparent, also a housing crisis occurred in Dublin during the 1960s as a number of old, dilapidated buildings collapsed in the city and land for housing near the city became urgently required.
University College, Dublin, finally vacated the site in 1979 and the fledgling NIHE, Dublin, moved on site, vacating its inner city offices. In 1989 the NIHE became Dublin City University, and continued its capital development plan on the 50-acre (20 ha) former Albert College lands that it owns.