Trinity College, Dublin (TCD; Irish: Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath; Latin: Collegium Sacrosanctae et Individuae Trinitatis Reginae Elizabethae juxta Dublin), corporately designated as the Provost, Fellows and Scholars of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother of a university", and is the only constituent college of the University of Dublin. Trinity and the University of Dublin form Ireland's oldest and most prestigious university.
Trinity is located in the centre of Dublin, Ireland, on College Green opposite the former Irish Houses of Parliament (now a branch of the Bank of Ireland). The campus occupies 190,000m² (47 acres), with many buildings, both old and new, ranged around large courts (known as "squares") and two playing fields. The Library of Trinity College is a copyright library for Ireland and the United Kingdom, containing over 4.5 million books and significant quantities of maps, manuscripts and music.
Trinity College and the University of Dublin have a complex relationship, and while a "difference or distinction" between the two is often asserted, it has been said that they are "one body" - for example, this is the obvious interpretation of the findings of the High Court of Justice of Ireland delivered by the then Master of the Rolls, Andrew Maxwell Porter, on 2 June 1888, which reviews a legal history where he finds that the two terms seem often to have been used interchangeably Notably the case in question, which had "the College" and "the University" on opposite sides, created the still-extant Reid Professorship of Law and Reid Entrance Exhibitions, and vested them in the College, on the basis that the bodies at the heart of the University (the Senate and the Council) did not exist when Reid made his bequest, and because it could not determine when or if the University had been created distinct from TCD.
At the root of the question is that fact, that none of the chartering monarchs, Elizabeth I, Charles I, or George III, created a university distinct from Trinity College - the only structure "erected" by Elizabeth was Trinity College, "mother of a/the University", and its Provost, Fellows and Scholars on the Foundation were the authority recognised by legal documents up to the time of Queen Victoria. The role of Chancellor was also a College role. Notably, the Act of Union referred to "the university of Trinity College".
Trinity is one of the seven ancient universities in the English speaking world and the only one outside the present United Kingdom, and is a third level institution in Ireland . The institution is regularly ranked highest in Ireland in global surveys.
Trinity retains a strong collegiate and "campus" atmosphere despite its location in the centre of a capital city (and despite its being one of the most significant tourist attractions in Dublin). This is in large part due to the compact design of the campus, whose main buildings look inwards, and the existence of only a few public entrances. The main campus "island" is approximately 190,000m² (47 acres), including the Trinity College Enterprise Centre nearby, and buildings account for around 200,000 m², ranging from works of older architecture to modern facilities.
Trinity's campus contains many buildings of architectural merit, especially from the 18th and 19th centuries. These include the Chapel and Examination Hall designed by Sir William Chambers and the Museum Building designed by the Irish architects Thomas Newenham Deane and Benjamin Woodward.
In addition to the city centre campus, Trinity also incorporates the Faculty of Health Sciences buildings located at St. James's Teaching Hospital and the Adelaide and Meath incorporating the National Children's Hospital, Tallaght. The Trinity Centre at St James's Hospital has recently been completed and incorporates additional teaching rooms as well as the Institute of Molecular Medicine and John Durkan Leukaemia Institute.
Many students are housed in college rooms, or in Trinity Hall on Dartry Road in Rathmines, four km to the south of the city campus, but large numbers secure accommodation external to the college. Foreign and exchange students are given priority when rooms are allocated.
Following this, and some debate about a new University at St. Patrick's Cathedral, in 1592 a small group of Dublin citizens obtained a charter by way of Letters Patent from Queen Elizabeth (see footnote 1) incorporating Trinity College Dublin at the former site of All Hallows monastery, to the south east of the city walls, provided by the Corporation of Dublin. The first Provost of the College was the Archbishop of Dublin, Adam Loftus, and he was provided with three initial Fellows. Two years after foundation, a few Fellows and students began to work in the new College, which then lay around one small square.
During the following fifty years the community increased and endowments, including considerable landed estates, were secured, new fellowships were founded, the books which formed the foundation of the great library were acquired, a curriculum was devised and statutes were framed. The founding Letters Patent were amended by succeeding monarchs on a number of occasions, such as by James I (1613) and most notably by Charles I (who established the Board - then the Provost and seven senior Fellows - and reduced the panel of Visitors in size) and supplemented as late as the reign of Queen Victoria (and later still amended by the Oireachtas in 2000).
The nineteenth century was also marked by important developments in the professional schools. The Law School was reorganised after the middle of the century. Medical teaching had been given in the College since 1711, but it was only after the establishment of the school on a firm basis by legislation in 1800, and under the inspiration of one Macartney, that it was in a position to play its full part, with such teachers as Graves and Stokes, in the great age of Dublin medicine. The Engineering School was established in 1842 and was one of the first of its kind in the British Isles.
In December 1845 Denis Caulfield Heron was the subject of a hearing at Trinity College, Dublin. Heron had previously been examined and, on merit, declared a scholar of the college but had not been allowed to take up his place due to his religion. Heron appealed to the Courts which issued a writ of mandamus requiring the case to be adjudicated by the Archbishop of Dublin and the Primate of Ireland. The decision of Richard Whately and John George Beresford was that Heron would remain excluded from Scholarship .
The School of Commerce was established in 1925, and the School of Social Studies in 1934. Also in 1934, the first female professor was appointed.
In 1962 the School of Commerce and the School of Social Studies amalgamated to form the School of Business and Social Studies. In 1969 the several schools and departments were grouped into Faculties as follows: Arts (Humanities and Letters); Business, Economic and Social Studies; Engineering and Systems Sciences; Health Sciences (since October 1977 all undergraduate teaching in dental science in the Dublin area has been located in Trinity College); Science.
The School of Pharmacy was established in 1977 and around the same time, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was transferred to University College, Dublin.
Student numbers increased sharply during the 1980s and 1990s, with total enrolment more than doubling, leading to pressure on resources.
From 1975, the Colleges of Technology that now form the Dublin Institute of Technology had their degrees conferred by the University of Dublin. This arrangement was discontinued in 1998 when the DIT obtained degree-granting powers of its own.
Trinity has been subject to several proposed mergers. One of the first proposals was in 1907 when the Chief Secretary for Ireland proposed the reconstitution of the University of Dublin. A Dublin University Defence Committee was created and was successful in campaigning against any change to the status quo, while the Catholic bishops' rejection of the idea ensured its failure among the Catholic population. Chief among the concerns of the bishops was the remains of the Catholic University of Ireland, which would become subsumed into a new university, which on account of Trinity would be part Anglican. Ultimately this episode led to the creation of the National University of Ireland.
In the late 1960s, there was a proposal for University College, Dublin of the National University of Ireland to become a constituent college of a newly reconstituted University of Dublin. This plan, suggested by Brian Lenihan and Donagh O'Malley, was dropped after mass opposition by Trinity students.
The Trinity academic year is currently divided into three terms in the same manner as the University of Oxford — Michaelmas term (October, November and December), Hilary term (January, February, March) and Trinity term (March, April, May). As of the 2009/10 teaching period however, the academic year will no longer be structured along 'Oxbridge' lines; rather the year will be divided into two teaching periods, both of twelve weeks.
In January 2008 a new structure replaced the six old faculties with three new ones, as follows:
Each faculty is headed a Dean (there is also a Dean of Postgraduate Studies).
The Faculties are comprised of Schools (currenlty there are 23 Schools).
Most undergraduate courses require four years of study (in contrast to most other degrees at both Irish and English universities). First year students at the undergraduate level are called Junior Freshmen; second years, Senior Freshmen; third years, Junior Sophisters; and fourth years, Senior Sophisters. Undergraduate students are usually eligible for an honours degree after four years e.g. Bachelor of Arts (BA). In some exceptional cases (and also in some professional subjects such as medicine and engineering), an ordinary degree (in contrast to the honours degree) may be awarded after three years of study.
In recent years, students have been offered a larger range of courses outside of their major field of study, under a 'broad curriculum' policy. Junior Sophisters, or third year students, also frequently study abroad.
The four-year degree structure makes undergraduate teaching at Trinity closer to the North American model than that of other universities in England and Ireland (Scottish universities, like TCD, generally also require four years of study for a Bachelor degree). There has been pressure from the Irish government on Trinity over the years to compress its Bachelor of Arts teaching into three years of study, in line with other Irish universities, though this never came to anything.
Degree titles vary according to the subject of study. The Law School awards the LL.B., the LL.B. (ling. franc.) and the LL.B. (ling. germ.). Other degrees include the BAI (engineering), BSc(Pharm) (pharmacy) and BBS (business studies). The B.Sc. degree Bachelor of Sciences is not in wide use; most science and computer science students are awarded a BA.
Honours Bachelors, who have held their degrees for at least three years, may apply to have the degree of Master in Arts (MA) conferred on them, as at Oxbridge.
At postgraduate level, Trinity offers a range of taught and research degrees in all faculties. About 31% of students are post-graduate level, with 1,600 students reading for a research degree and an additional 2,200 on taught courses (see Research and Innovation). In addition to academic degrees, the college offers Postgraduate Diploma (non-degree) qualifications.
Admission to undergraduate study for European Union school-leavers is generally handled by the CAO (Central Applications Office), and not by Trinity College. Applicants have to compete for university places solely on the basis of the results of their school leaving exams. Through the CAO, candidates may list several courses at Trinity College and at other third-level institutions in Ireland in order of priority. Places are awarded in mid-August every year by the CAO after matching the number of places available to the academic attainments of the applicants. Qualifications are measured as "points", with specific scales for the Irish Leaving Certificate, and all other European Union school leaving results, such as the UK GCE A-level, the International Baccalaureate along with other national school leaving exams .
Disadvantaged, disabled or mature students can also be admitted through a program that is separate from the CAO, the Trinity Access Programme. This aims to facilitate the entry of sectors of society which would otherwise be under-represented. The numbers admitted on this program are significant relative to other universities, up to 15% of the annual undergraduate intake.
Admission to graduate study is handled by Trinity College.
There is high demand for many Trinity courses. So competition can be strong and entry standards are often elevated.
Students who enter with exceptional Leaving Certificate or other public examination results are awarded an Entrance Exhibition. This currently entails a prize in the form of book tokens to the value of €254.00, issued in two equal instalments in each of the Freshman years.
Undergraduate students of any year, but today most often Senior Freshmen, may elect to sit the Foundation Scholarship examination, which takes place in the break between Hilary and Trinity terms. Those who succeed become Scholars. Those from EU member countries are entitled to free rooms, commons (an evening meal) and fees for the duration of their scholarship, which can last up to five years. Scholars from non-EU member countries have their fees reduced to EU student levels.
Under the Foundation Charter (of 1592), Scholars were part of the body corporate (three Scholars were named in the charter "in the name of many"). Until 1609 there were about 51 Scholars at any one time. A figure of seventy was permanently fixed in the revising Letters Patent of Charles I in 1637. Trinity Monday was appointed as the day when all future elections to Fellowship and Scholarship would be announced (at this time Trinity Monday was always celebrated on the Monday after the feast of the Holy Trinity). Up to this point all undergraduates were Scholars, but soon after 1637 the practice of admitting students other than Scholars commenced.
Until 1856 only the classical subjects were examined. The questions concerned all the classical authors prescribed for the entrance examination and for the undergraduate course up to the middle of the Junior Sophister year. So candidates had no new material to read, 'but they had to submit to a very searching examination on the fairly lengthy list of classical texts which they were supposed by this time to have mastered'. The close link with the undergraduate syllabus is underlined by the refusal until 1856 to admit Scholars to the Library (a request for admission was rejected by the Board in 1842 on the grounds that Scholars should stick to their prescribed books and not indulge in 'those desultory habits' that admission to an extensive library would encourage). During the second half of the nineteenth century the content of the examination gradually came to include other disciplines.
Around the turn of the 20th century, further examinations for "Non-Foundation" Scholarships were introduced. This initially was a formula to permit women to become Scholars, but without entitling them to the same voting rights as men. Non-Foundation Scholarships are now simply used as a means to elect more students to Scholarship. While the number of Foundation Scholars remains fixed at seventy, there is in theory no limit on the number of Non-Foundation scholars. The only practical difference between the two is that the Foundation Scholars are members of the body corporate of the College and are entitled to certain voting rights.
Competition for Scholarship has always involved a searching examination: successful candidates need to be of exceptional ability. The concept of Scholarship is a valued tradition of the College and many of TCD's most distinguished alumni were elected Scholars (including Samuel Beckett and Ernest Walton). The Scholars' dinner, to which 'Scholars of the decade' are invited, forms one of the major events in Trinity's calendar. A Scholarship at Trinity College is a prestigious undergraduate award; a principal aim of the College (as outlined in the Strategic Plan) is the pursuit of excellence and one of the most tangible demonstrations of this is the institution of Scholarship.
The Library of Trinity College is the largest research library in Ireland. As a result of its historic standing, Trinity is a legal deposit library (as per Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003) for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and has a similar standing in Irish law. The college is therefore legally entitled to a copy of every book published in Great Britain and Ireland and consequently receives over 100,000 new items every year. The library contains 4.5 million books, including 30,000 current serials and significant collections of manuscripts, maps, and printed music. Six library facilities are available for general student use.
The €27 million James Ussher Library, opened officially by the President of Ireland in April 2003, is the newest addition to Trinity's library facilities. The eight story 9,500 m² building provides 750 new reader spaces and houses the Glucksman Map Library and Conservation Department. The Glucksman library contains half a million printed maps, the largest collection of cartographic materials in Ireland. This includes the first Ordnance Surveys of Ireland, conducted in the early 19th century.
The Book of Kells is by far the Library's most famous book and is located in the Old Library, along with the Book of Durrow, the Book of Howth and other ancient texts. Also incorporating the Long Room, the Old Library is one of Ireland's biggest tourist attractions, and holds thousands of rare, and in many cases very early, volumes.
Three million books are held in the book depository in Santry, from which requests are retrieved twice daily.
In the 18th century, the college received the Brian Boru harp, one of the three surviving medieval Gaelic harps, and a national symbol of Ireland, notably used on the Irish Euro coins.
There is a sporting tradition at Trinity and the college has 49 sports clubs affiliated to the Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC)
The Central Athletic Club is made up of five democratically elected committees that oversee the development of sport in the college: the Executive Committee which is responsible overall for all activities, the Captains' Committee which represents the 49 club captains and awards University Colours (Pinks), the Pavilion Bar Committee which runs the private members' bar, the Pavilion Members' Committee and the Sports Facilities Committee.
The oldest clubs include the Dublin University Cricket Club (1835) and Dublin University Boat Club (1836). Dublin University Football Club, founded in 1854, plays rugby football and is the world's oldest documented "football club". The Dublin University Association Football Club (soccer) was founded in 1883, the Dublin University Hockey Club in 1893, and the Dublin University Harriers and Athletic Club in 1885.
There are several graduate sport clubs that exist separate to the Central Athletic Club including the Dublin University Museum Players (cricket), the Lady Elizabeth Boat Club (rowing) and the Mary Lyons Memorial Mallets (croquet).
The largest sports club in the college is the Surf and Boarding Club with over 800 registered members, though the active membership is much lower.
One of the newest clubs in the University is the American Football team, who were accepted into the IAFL in 2007. Offically known as Dublin University American Football Club, they compete under the name "Trinity Thunderbolts".
Trinity College, Dublin has a very strong tradition of student publications, ranging from the serious to the satirical. All student publications are administered by the Dublin University Publications Committee (often known as 'Pubs') who maintain and administer the Publications office (located in House 6) and all the associated equipment needed to publish its newspapers and magazines.
Trinity News is Ireland's oldest student newspaper having been founded in 1953. It is currently published on a fortnightly basis, producing 12 issues in total during the academic year. The focus is on students with sections including College News, National News, International News, Features, Science, Sports Features and College Sports. The paper has been very successful in the Irish Student Media Awards winning each of the "Newspaper of the Year", "Editor of the Year" and "Journalist of the Year" in the last two years. For the last four years the paper has been edited by a student who is "off books" with a staff of 30 sub-editors and writers.
Student magazines currently in publication include the satirist Piranha!, the generalist Miscellany (one of Ireland's oldest magazines) α, the literary Icarus. Other publications include the Student Economic Review and the Trinity College Law Review, produced independently by students of economics and law respectively, the Trinity Student Medical Journal, The Attic , student writing produced by the Dublin University Literary Society and the Afro-Caribbean Journal produced by the Afro-Caribbean Society. Some older titles currently not in publication include InTransit, Central Review, Trinity Intellectual, Times, Harlot, Evoke, and Alternate.
Trinity College has a vibrant student life with 101 societies (in 2007). Student societies operate under the aegis of the Dublin University Central Societies Committee which is composed of the Treasurers of each of the Societies within the College. Society size varies enormously, and it is often hard to determine exact figures for most societies - several claiming to be the largest in the college with thousands of members, while smaller groups may have only 40-50 members. The larger Societies include: the paper-reading society situated in the Graduates' Memorial Building (GMB), the University Philosophical Society (Trinity College, Dublin), more commonly known as "The Phil", and the debating society that shares the building, the College Historical Society, more commonly known as "The Hist", St Vincent de Paul Society, which organises a large number of activities in the local community. Players, one of the most prolific drama societies in Ireland, hosts up to 50 shows and events a year in the Samuel Beckett Centre. The Radio Society, known as Trinity FM, broadcasts a variety of student made productions on a special events licence on FM frequency 97.3FM for six weeks a year. The Trinity LGBT society, which is the oldest LGBT society in Ireland, is celebrated its 25th anniversary in the 2007/2008 year. The Dublin University Comedy Society, known as Comedy Soc, hosts comedy events for its members and has hosted gigs on campus from comedians such as Andrew Maxwell, David O'Doherty, Neil Delamere and Colin Murphy.
The Trinity Ball is Europe’s largest private music party, annually drawing over 6,000 party-goers. It is held annually on the last day of Trinity Lecture term to celebrate the beginning of Trinity Week. It is a May Ball in the style of the Cambridge Colleges, with the emphasis on live music. In recent times the organisation of the Ball has been handed over to event promoters MCD who will hold the contract to run the Ball until 2012. The Trinity Ball 2009 will be the 50th Annual Ball.
The Students' Union Deputy President/Publicity & Publications officer is responsible for the publication of the University Record, which is published every three weeks by the Students' Union. The University Record is the voice of the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union and many of the contributors are drawn from the ranks of class reps.
The Graduate Students' Union's primary role is to provide a recognised representative channel between postgraduates and the University and College authorities . The GSU president is an ex-officio member of the College Board.
The Graduate Students' Union publish the "Journal of Postgraduate Research" on an annual basis.
Two teaching hospitals are associated with the college:
A number of teaching institutions are involved in jointly taught courses:
The Douglas Hyde Gallery, a contemporary art gallery, is located in the college at the Nassau Street entrance.
The Body Corporate of the College is still headed by the Provost, Fellows and Scholars. The Provost is elected primarily by fellow academic staff, but students' votes have a small weighting. Election to Fellowship and Scholarship is given to academic staff and undergraduates respectively. Fellowship is awarded to academic staff who are seen to have excelled in their field of research. The Foundation Scholarships (informally known as schols) are awarded to students who get a first class honours grade in the Scholarship examinations held annually at the end of Hilary term. Upon election to Scholarship (usually in their Senior Freshman or second year), Scholars are awarded a wide range of entitlements, including an annual salary, free accommodation on-campus, a meal every weekday at the traditional Commons dinner and exemption from the annual examinations at the end of their second year.
It should be noted that the University is considered to be headed, titularly, by the Chancellor, although in the founding Charter, this role is described as "the Chancellor of the College" (see footnote 1). The current Chancellor former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, and five Pro-Chancellors, Sir Anthony O’Reilly, Justice Susan Denham, Eda Sagarra, Patrick Molloy and Professor Dermot McAleese.
The governance of Trinity was changed in 2000, by the Oireachtas, in legislation proposed by the Board of Trinity, viz The Trinity College, Dublin (Charters and Letters Patent Amendment) Act, 2000. This was introduced separately from the Universities Act 1997 and states that the Board shall comprise:
The fellows, non-fellow academic staff and non-academic staff are elected to serve for a fixed term; the most recent elections took place in 2005 for three- and five-year terms, as a transitional step to more regular terms. The four student members are the President, Education Officer and Welfare Officer of the Students' Union and the president of the Graduate Students' Union (all ex officio) and are elected annually for one-year terms. The vice-provost, senior lecturer, registrar and bursar are 'annual officers' appointed for one-year (renewable) terms by the Provost.
Continuing the ancient United Kingdom practice (since abandoned in the UK) of giving representation in parliament to the longer-established universities, the graduates of the University of Dublin and the Scholars of Trinity College constitute the Dublin University constituency, electing three members of Seanad Éireann, the Irish Senate. Graduates of the National University of Ireland also elect three Senators. The senators' term of office continues until a new general election is called by the dissolution of Dáil Éireann.
The three serving Trinity Senators (as at mid-2008) are the legal scholar Ivana Bacik, the Joycean scholar David Norris, and the journalist Shane Ross. Past Trinity Senators have included the present University Chancellor Mary Robinson and Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, a former member of the Irish Supreme Court and current President of the Law Reform Commission.
Each year, Trinity Week is celebrated in late May. On Trinity Monday and on the afternoon of Trinity Wednesday no lectures or demonstrations are held. College races are held each year on Trinity Wednesday.
There is a long-standing rivalry with nearby University College Dublin, which is largely friendly in nature. Every year Colours events are contested between the Sporting clubs of each University.
The Irish writer J.P. Donleavy was a student in Trinity. A number of his books feature characters who attend Trinity, including The Ginger Man and The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B. H.A. Hinkson has written two books about Trinity, Student Life in T.C.D. and the fictional O'Grady of Trinity - A Story of Irish University Life.
Trinity College is the most productive internationally recognised research centre in Ireland. The University operates an Innovation Centre which fosters academic innovation and consultancy, provides patenting advice and research information and facilitates the establishment and operation of industrial laboratories and campus companies.
In 1999 the University purchased an Enterprise Centre on Pearse Street, seven minutes walk from the on-campus Innovation Centre. The site has over 19,000 m² (200,000 ft²) of built space and contains a protected building, the Tower, which currently houses a Craft Centre. The Trinity Enterprise Centre will house companies drawn from the University research sector in Dublin.