In total, the Republic of Ireland is home to eight public universities, following the establishment of the Technological University of Dublin opened in January 2019. Each of which offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Other certificates, diplomas and academic qualifications can also be obtained from certain Irish universities.
This page will provide a brief overview on each Irish university. First up, Trinity College Dublin.
Trinity College Dublin
Located on College Green in the heart of Dublin city centre, Trinity College Dublin is Ireland’s oldest (founded in 1592) and perhaps most iconic university. You may be aware of Trinity College Dublin because of the Book of Kells, the beautiful Long Hall Library or one of the many famous scientists, artists or playwrights who have studied here. However, Trinity College Dublin is more than a historic relic, in fact it’s one of the most vibrant Irish universities.
Trinity College Dublin offers an array of courses across all disciplines, and is currently Ireland’s highest-ranking university in the most recent global index. The student population of Trinity College, as it is more is commonly known (or simply ‘Trinity’), is approximately 17,000, with some notable names among its alumni. Literary giants Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett both studied at Trinity College, while the university was also where Nobel Prize winner, William Campbell received a third level education. More recently, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar graduated from the university.
For much of its past, Trinity College Dublin was regarded as being exclusively for Ireland’s Protestant population, with certain restrictions in place for Catholic students. Thankfully these divisions no longer exist and Trinity College is home to students from across the island of Ireland, as well as further afield.
University College Dublin
University College Dublin, or UCD as it is more commonly known, is located in the suburbs on the southside of Dublin city in Belfield, Dublin 4. Founded in 1854, UCD began as the Catholic University of Ireland before being established as UCD in 1880. Much like Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin has a rich history, much of which is interwoven closely with Ireland’s own fight for independence.
UCD’s campus is home to over 32,000 students between its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, making it the largest Irish university by student population. In addition, UCD has a dedicated sport complex providing a range of quality facilities for a wide range of sports, as well as a home for the UCD football team, which will compete in the League of Ireland Premier Division in 2019.
UCD also has a rich literary and artistic tradition that is best exemplified by its alumni, which includes writers James Joyce and Roddy Doyle, actor Gabriel Byrne and director Neil Jordan, to name but a few.
As well as being the largest Irish university, UCD is also the most international and is home to approximately 8,000 students from over 138 countries. In addition, 30% of UCD’s faculty, and over 50% of UCD research-funded staff is non-Irish. If you are an international student then you should consult this page to learn more about studying in one of the most well-known of Irish universities.
Dublin City University
Situated on the northside of Dublin in the Glasnevin area of the city, Dublin City University (DCU) is the most recent addition to Ireland’s list of universities. Founded as National Institute for Higher Education in 1975, DCU was elevated to university status in 1989. As of 2016, DCU incorporated three other Dublin-based educational institutions under its remit: the Church of Ireland College of Education, Mater Dei Institute of Education and St Patrick’s College. DCU’s student body is in excess of 13,000.
If you are an international student who is interested in studying in DCU, then it’s safe to say that you won’t be alone. Almost 20 percent of DCU’s current student body is made of international students, for a total of approximately 2,300 students from over 109 countries. If you want to become part of that group, then you should visit here.
Technological University Dublin
Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) is Ireland’s newest university and was established in January 2019 following the merger of the following three institutes of technology: Dublin Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown (ITB) and Institute of Technology, Tallaght (ITT Dublin).
The main campus of TU Dublin will be located in the existing DIT Grangegorman campus on the north-side of Dublin’s inner-city. However, the campuses in ITT Dublin and ITB will continue to be operational as well. The amalgamation of three of Dublin’s institutes of technology means that TU Dublin is now the largest third level education institution in Ireland with 28,000 students and over 3,000 members of staff located across three separate campuses.
If you are an international student eager to study in, or even graduate from, Ireland’s newest university, then you should visit here.
University College Cork
The picturesque surroundings of UCC is a definite draw for both international and local students alike, but it is not the only thing that attracts thousands of students to its campus every year. UCC was founded in 1845 — a tragic year for Ireland as the Great Famine took hold — initially as one of three Queen’s colleges, with the other two being located in Galway and Belfast. It became established as University College Cork under the Irish Universities Act in 1908.
UCC is considered to be among the leading research institutes in Ireland, and in 2009 was ranked in the top three percent globally for research and innovation. UCC is not lacking in the culture stakes either, as the Glucksman Gallery has become one of the most visited sites on the campus in recent years following its opening in 2004.
UCC boasts an impressive alumni including mathematician George Boole, and acclaimed Irish author, Seán Ó Faoláin. In addition, comedian Graham Norton and actor Cillian Murphy both attended UCC, but neither graduated.
Finally, UCC has a sizable international student population exceeding 3,000 with 103 countries represented in the total student body for the 2018/19 academic year. For information on the courses available to you, or details about how to apply, visit here.
National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG)
Founded in 1845, along with similar campuses in Cork and Belfast, NUIG has had its name changed from Queen’s College to Galway to University College Galway, before it’s current title as the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) came into effect in 1997.
The student population of NUIG is in excess of 17,000, and the campus is located on the banks of the scenic River Corrib. NUIG is commonly believed to have one of the most active and engaged student bodies, with an impressive number of clubs and societies that contribute greatly to the social and educational fabric of the university.
In terms of alumni, NUIG has seen a president and taoiseach (prime minister) pass through its halls. Most notably in this respect is the current President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins who was part of the Sociology and Politics Department at NUIG prior to being an elected TD (Member of Irish Parliament).
Given the many benefits that Galway bestows on anybody lucky enough to live there, it should come as no surprise that it has a significant international student body. If you want to learn more about studying in NUIG, then you should have a look here.