Although the Government Buildings complex on Merrion Street is one of most important and most widely recognised buildings in Ireland, relatively few are aware of its role in the history of science and technology in the country.
The building was opened by King George V on 8 July 1911, to house the Royal College of Science for Ireland as well as government activities devolved from London to Dublin. The College was absorbed into University College Dublin (UCD) in 1926, with science and engineering research and education continuing in the building until 1989. From the 1920s the headquarters of the Irish government were located in the Merrion Street complex alongside the University facilities.
The story of science and engineering innovation in Merrion Street from 1911 to 1989 mirrors in many ways the story of the country over that time, reflecting and facilitating national priorities through world wars, the creation of an independent state and the development of a technology sector known and respected throughout the world.
Over the course of its lifetime, the building played host to international research leaders such as Walter Hartley, Vincent Barry, Dervilla Donnelly and Jim Dooge. It saw thousands of graduates such as Thomas McLaughlin, Pat Kenny, David O'Reilly and Dervilla Mitchell begin journeys of discovery that would leave a mark on Ireland and on the world.
Some of their stories are recounted on this website and in the accompanying book, which can be downloaded as a PDF.
If you worked or studied in UCD Merrion Street, we would love to hear from you. Please send your memories and photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org, or just send a short email with your contact details so that we can keep you up to date with news from UCD.