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Oifig an Uachtaráin UCD

University History - Timeline

The years after Catholic Emancipation in Ireland (1829) while pocked with intermittent political upheaval, famine and emigration, saw the majority population gradually gain a foothold on the rungs of education and influence.

In 1854, the movement spearheaded by Cardinal Cullen and led by John Henry Cardinal Newman, succeeded in opening the doors of a new university. This made higher level education accessible to a broad sweep of Irish people, creating a new class of educated Irish who would become the civil servants, the politicians, the lawyers, the architects, the historians and philosophers, the authors and playwrights, the doctors and engineers - the thinkers and doers who were to shape Irish society into the proud nation we are today.

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; the first name entered was that of Daniel O'Connell, grandson of the Liberator.

The university opened with three houses: 86 St Stephen's Green, with was known as St Patrick's or University House, under the care of Rev. Dr Michael Flannery; 16 Harcourt Street, known as St Lawrence's under the care of 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.

The Catholic University Medical School was opened in 1855 in Cecilia Street. The Medical School was the Catholic University's great success story; by the end of the century it had become the largest medical school in the country. After 1908 it became the Medical Faculty of UCD.

The beautiful University Church was opened in 1856 beside 86. 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.

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.

Monsignor Henry Neville, Dean of Cork appointed Rector (while still retaining his role as Parish Priest in a Cork parish).

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.

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 and 1897-1909
Fr William Delany SJ appointed first president of University College.

Poet and Jesuit, Gerard Manley Hopkins appointed a fellow of University College.

Throughout this period, despite their strong allegiance, Delany and Cardinal William Walsh disagreed on the position of University College within the Royal University. Walsh wished it to develop as a Catholic university alongside and equal to Trinity College. Delany did not.

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.

Names associated with University College as students, academics or both during this period included: James Joyce (whose room in Newman House is preserved as it was), Tom Kettle, Francis Skeffington, Francis Cruise O'Brien, Arthur Clery, Fr Tom Finlay SJ, Pádraig Pearse, Hugh Kennedy, Eamon de Valera, Eoin MacNeill, Mary Hayden, Agnes O'Farrelly, and J A Costello. Given such talent and the revolutionary fervour in the contemporary political and cultural life of the country, it is hardly surprising that there was an amount of student unrest during this period, especially during loyalist speeches by the Chancellor, the Earl of Meath and the playing of "God Save the King" at conferring ceremonies.

Irish Universities Act brought into being the National University of Ireland with its constitutent University Colleges - Dublin, Galway and Cork, and led to the demise of the Royal University and the Jesuit-run University College.

Dean of the Medical School, Dr Denis Coffey appointed first president of 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.

36 chairs and 15 lectureships established focusing on: medicine, celtic studies, classics, modern languages, english, political economy, mathematics, philosophy, education, history, national economics, civil engineering, mathematical physics, experimental physics, chemistry, geology, zoology, architecture, commerce, law, botany, and pure mathematics.

The Faculty of Commerce established.

Land donated by Lord Iveagh helps the university expand in Earlsfort Terrace/Hatch Street/ St Stephen's Green.

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.

A number of junior staff and students participated in the Easter Rising including: Michael Hayes (French) who was at Jacobs, Liam O Briain (French) who was in St Stephen's Green and the College of Surgeons, Louise Gavan Duffy (Education), who was in the GPO, James Ryan (fifth year med student) in charge of temporary hospital inside the GPO, James Sweeney, (engineering student) who was also in the GPO.

The gradual building expansion led the university into severe debt which was eventually covered by the Provisional Government in August 1922 just a few days before the deaths of Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins.

University Education (Agriculture and Dairy Science) Act transferred the Royal College of Science in Merrion Street and Albert Agricultural College in Glasnevin to UCD.

The Grounds Committee identifies piece of land on the Stillorgan Road as a suitable location to purchase and develop playing fields and sports facilities. Belfield House on 44 acres is bought.

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.

Dr Michael Tierney edited "A tribute to Newman".

Dr Michael Tierney appointed president. Tierney conceived the scheme of a new UCD on a suburban site and became intimately involved in UCD's fever of purchasing several hundred acres in the neighbourhood of Belfield over the next 17 years. The plan was to develop an architectural harmony in the grouping of buildings, landscaping and planting of trees, creating a sense of unity to faculties then on different campuses, with sports grounds and residences incorporated into the scheme. The inspiration for the plan came mostly from universities in Stockholm and Goteborg in Sweden as well as some models from the US.

The "Tierney Era" was characterized by excitement, driven by the conviction of the man.

Government purchases 20 acres for a new broadcasting house.

University purchases Montrose on 23 acres and Whiteoaks (University Lodge) on 34 acres.

Merville on 60 acres is acquired.

Woodview on 18 acres bought.

Byrne's fields (42 acres) purchased.

Montrose exchanged for Ardmore.

Roebuck Grove on 35 acres purchased.

Sod turned on Science Block at Belfield. In 1962 Lyons Estate, Newcastle, County Dublin, purchased as the field experimental and teaching facility of the Faculty of Agriculture.

Dr Jeremiah Hogan appointed president (1964-1972).
Science moves in to new campus.

15 acres of the Roebuck Castle land bought. Minister for Education, Donogh O'Malley, proposes plan to merge UCD and Trinity.

Commerce transfers to Belfield.

Arts and Law move to Belfield.

13.4 acres of Roebuck Castle land added.

Dr Thomas Murphy appointed president (1972-1985).
Water tower completed

Library opens.

Minister for Education, Richard Burke, TD announces that there should be three university groupings: UCD, Trinity and the NUI, comprising UCC and UCG. St Patrick's Maynooth was to have the option of becoming a constitutent college of any one of the three universities. The National Institutes of Higher Education in Limerick and Dublin were to be established with the capacity to evolve into constitutent colleges or autonomous degree-awarding institutions. Although UCD was in favour of this development, Trinity was not and the plan fizzled out and disappeared off the Government agenda.

Agriculture transfers on to Belfield campus.

Richview and 17.4 acres bought. Architecture moves in there.

Sports Complex opens.

University Industry Centre completed. Student Club opened.

Dr Patrick Masterson appointed president. (1986 - 1993)

Engineering building opens.

Carysfort College, Blackrock on 19 acres bought. First student village (Belgrove) opened.

Second student village (Merville) opened. The Centre for Film Studies established.

Dr Art Cosgrove appointed president (1994 - 2003).

O'Reilly Hall opened.

The Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research and the Institute for the Study of Social Change founded, marking a new era with an emphasis on internationally recognized research.

The Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology a collaboration in the chemical sciences between UCD, TCD and the RCSI established after being awarded 126 million Euro by the Higher Education Authority's Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions

The Veterinary School and Teaching Hospital and The Quinn School of Business for undergraduate Commerce students opened. The Humanities Institute of Ireland established under the Higher Education Authority's PRTLI. Urban Institute also established.

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.

Dr Hugh Brady appointed president.

UCD celebrates 150th Anniversary.

University History