NUI Galway to change its name amid confusion over its proper title

College will rebrand as as ‘Ollscoil na Gaillimhe - University of Galway’ this summer

It was formerly known as Queen's College Galway and University College Galway. Now, NUI Galway plans to change its name once again this summer.

The university’s governing authority on Wednesday approved renaming of the institution to Ollscoil na Gaillimhe - University of Galway.

The move is a bid strengthen its identity and emphasise its status as a university to an international audience.

It also seeks to end long-standing confusion over its official title which is regularly - though incorrectly - referred to as “NUIG”.


One college source said research found that about 30 per cent of national media reports referenced the university as NUIG, which was not its correct name and did not identify it as a university.

The name will officially change at the end of the summer and the bilingual title - “Ollscoil na Gaillimhe – University of Galway” - will be used on all official documentation.

In a statement, NUI Galway president Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said the decision to rename the university follows “detailed assessment of the issues and comprehensive consultation and internal discussion”.

“This university has been in Galway and of Galway since the mid-nineteenth century. Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, University of Galway, gives a clearer sense of who we are as an institution and of being of our place.

"Galway is a place of industry and creativity, of citizenship and debate. An in-between place, at the centre of a network of campuses stretching from Shannon to Donegal, including in our Gaeltacht regions, on the edge of and between continents, we here see the horizon everyday."

He added: “Like all good explorers, all good adventurers, all good researchers, we know we serve our students and our society best by always wondering what’s beyond the horizon.

“As a community of scholars in a community of scholarship, we will continue this long and distinguished tradition and trajectory of curiosity, this ambition for our place and from this place, as we progress our values of respect, excellence, openness and sustainability, for the public good.

“The university is proud of the role it has played in Galway’s journey to become a global city. City and university have grown together and our new name encapsulates that history and is a promise for the future.”

The university will continue to maintain its links with the National University of Ireland.

The 177-year-old university was founded as Queen’s College Galway before changing to University College Galway (UCG) in 1908.

This followed the establishment of the NUI (National University of Ireland) as a federal university with three constituent colleges in Cork, Dublin and Galway.

In the late 1990s, UCG – along with UCC, UCD and Maynooth – were recognised as full universities with looser ties to the NUI under the Universities Act (1997).

This led to changes in their legal names to NUI Cork, Dublin, Galway and Maynooth.

It is understood the college had hoped to style itself as “University of Galway” at the time, but received legal advice that this was not permitted under the Universities Act.

However, UCC and UCD opted to continue with their old names, despite a change to their legal names.

In 2014, NUI Maynooth decided to rebrand itself as Maynooth University, citing confusion over its official title in a global education landscape and the fact that its former title omitted the word "university". Its legal name, however, remains NUI Maynooth.

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