Hundreds of RCSI medical students to use Croke Park as new satellite campus

Move will allow 650 students to learn in large socially-distanced setting

Hundreds of medical students are to use Croke Park as a make-shift college campus over the coming academic year to allow them to learn while social distancing.

The Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) has signed a deal with GAA headquarters to allow 650 students will use event spaces and restaurants over a six-day week.

The college had been seeking a large space to teach students in addition to the college's city-centre campus and teaching facilities at Beaumont Hospital.

"There is no doubt that the academic year ahead will be like no other in our university's 236-year history," said said Professor Cathal Kelly, chief executive and registrar of RCSI.


“We are developing an engaged blended learning programme and putting robust safety measures in place in order ensure we can provide a positive educational experience in a safe environment.

“Teaming up with Croke Park will ensure that our students receive a meaningful and safe educational experience when they return this autumn.”

RCSI lectures will be held in areas normally used for corporate conferences and events throughout Croke Park for the 2020/2021 academic year beginning in September.

From Monday through Saturday, students will also have access to study spaces, restaurants and other amenities outside teaching hours.

Provisions have been put in place to allow the facilities to be used for sporting events on Saturdays if matches return in the autumn.

Most of the students that will use the new satellite campus would typically attend lectures in Beaumont Hospital.

The facilities in the Dublin city centre campus will also reopen with social distancing measures and a mixture of on-campus and online teaching.

In early March, RCSI made the decision to move forward some final examinations for medical students by seven weeks, anticipating the closure of universities.

This allowed the final medical students to graduate early and enter the workforce on time.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent