University College Dublin - A brief history


In 1854, the movement spearheaded by Cardinal Cullen and led by John Henry Cardinal Newman, succeeded in opening the doors of a new university, which would make higher-level education accessible to a broad sweep of Irish people.

The Catholic University opened its doors on the feast of St Malachy, November 3rd, 1854.


The Catholic University Medical School was opened in 1855 in Cecilia Street.


The University Education (Ireland) Act 1879 brought in by Benjamin Disraeli's government led to the establishment of the Royal University of Ireland which was a non-teaching, degree-awarding institution.


The Catholic University reorganised 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 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 fellow of University College.


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

Dean of the Medical School Dr Dennis Coffey appointed first president of UCD. Coffey was to hold the position for 30 years.


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


Belfield House on 44 acres is purchased.


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.


Sod turned on science block at Belfield.


Arts, commerce and law move to Belfield.


Library opens.


Agriculture moves on to Belfield campus.


Dr Patrick Masterson appointed president (1986-1993).


Dr Art Cosgrove appointed president (1993-2003).


The Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research and the Institute for the Study of Social Change founded.


Dr Hugh Brady appointed president.