University College Dublin (UCD) (An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath) - formally known as University College Dublin - National University of Ireland, Dublin (An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath - Ollscoil na hÉireann, Baile Átha Cliath) is Ireland's largest university, with over 1,300 faculty and 22,000 students. It is located in Dublin, capital of Ireland.
Descended from the body founded in 1854 as the Catholic University of Ireland with John Henry Newman as the first rector, re-formed in 1880 and chartered in its own right in 1908, today the university is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland. The Universities Act, 1997 renamed the university as National University of Ireland, Dublin, and a Ministerial Order of 1998 renamed the university as University College Dublin - National University of Ireland, Dublin.
Originally located in Dublin city centre, most of the university's faculties have since been relocated to a 148 hectares (365 acre) park campus at Belfield, four kilometres to the south of the centre of Dublin city.
In the years following the Catholic Emancipation in Ireland a movement led by Paul Cullen attempted to make higher-level education accessible to Irish Catholics taught by fellow-Catholics for the first time. The Anglican Trinity College Dublin still imposed a religious test, though Catholics had studied there since the 1780s. As a result of these efforts a new Catholic University of Ireland was opened in 1854 and John Henry Newman was appointed as its first rector. Initially only seventeen students enrolled, the first of these being the grandson of Daniel O’Connell.
As a private university the Catholic University was never given a royal charter, and so was unable to award recognized degrees and suffered from chronic financial difficulties. Newman left the university in 1857 and it subsequently went into a serious decline. This trend was reversed in 1880 with the establishment of the Royal University of Ireland. The Royal Universities charter entitled all Irish students to sit the Universities examinations and receive its degrees. Although in many respects the Catholic University can be viewed as a failure, the future University College inherited substantial assets from it including a successful medical school(Cecilia Street) and two beautiful buildings, Newman House on St Stephen's Green and the adjoining University Church
In order to avail of the benefits of the Royal University of Ireland arrangement, the Catholic University was re-formed as University College, Dublin. The college rapidly attracted many of the best students and academics in Ireland including Gerard Manley Hopkins and James Joyce and quickly began to outperform the other three colleges in the Royal University system - in the fifteen years before the establishment of the National University 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. Many of the college’s staff and students during this period would later contribute substantially to the formation and development of the future Irish state, the most famous being Francis Skeffington, Pádraig Pearse, Hugh Kennedy, Eamon de Valera , Eoin MacNeill, Kevin O’Higgins, Tom Kettle, James Ryan, Douglas Hyde and John A. Costello.
In 1908, the Royal University was dissolved and a new National University of Ireland founded to replace it. This new University was brought into existence with three constituent University Colleges - Dublin, Galway and Cork. By this time the college campus consisted of a number of locations in and around St Stephens Green in Dublins city centre, the main sites being Earlsfort Terrace, Cecilia Street, College of Science Merrion Street, and Newman House on St Stephen's Green.
In 1913 in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force (viewed as a threat to the Home Rule movement) Eoin MacNeill, professor of early Irish history, called for the formation of an Irish nationalist force to counteract it. The Irish Volunteers were formed later that year and MacNeill was elected its Chief-of-staff. At the outbreak of the First World War in view of the Home Rule Act 1914 the majority of the volunteers opted to support the British war effort, including many UCD staff and students. Many of those who opposed this move later participated in the Easter Rising.
In this way UCD was a reflection of the Irish nationalist community in general, with several staff and students participating in the rising, such as Patrick Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh, Michael Hayes and James Ryan, and a smaller number, including Tom Kettle and Willie Redmond, fighting for the British in World War I during the same period.
Many UCD staff, students and alumni fought in the Irish War of Independence that followed the rising. Following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty four UCD graduates joined the government of the new Irish Free State. It is notable that Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament) was located in UCD's Earlsfort Terrace campus from 1919 to 1922, when they moved to their current location in Leinster House.
The university's graduates have since had a large impact on Irish political life - four of the eight Presidents of Ireland and six of the eleven Irish Taoisigh have been either former staff or graduates. Of the fifteen current members of the Irish cabinet, nine are former UCD students.
Under the Universities Act, 1997, University College Dublin was established as a constituent university within the National University of Ireland framework.
In April 2006, the University announced an ambitious building and redevelopment plan of its Belfield campus. The new developments include the redevelopment and expansion of the Newman Building, the James Joyce Library, the Science Complex (which will be transformed at a cost of €300 million) and an extension to the Student Centre (including a new swimming pool, debating chamber and theatre). In addition a new Gateway centre will be built at the north end and main entrance to the Belfield campus that will include a welcome centre, an art house cinema, an exhibition centre, hotel and conference facilities, office space for campus companies, some retail space and new student residences (with space for an extra 3,000 students). The whole plan is currently budgeted at a cost of over €800 million.
In May 2006 it was announced that Universitas 21 accepted the university as a member.
The University consists of five colleges, their associated schools (35 in total) and eighteen research institutes and centres. Each college also has its own Graduate School, for postgraduates. Among the most prominent is Smurfit School of Business.
The colleges and schools are:
Among its most accomplished alumni and faculty are four of the eight former presidents of Ireland and five of the ten former taoisigh (Irish prime ministers). Examples of other well known UCD alumni include writers (e.g. James Joyce, Flann O'Brien, Joseph Skelly and Roddy Doyle), actors (e.g. Dermot Morgan, Gabriel Byrne and Brendan Gleeson), film directors (e.g. Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan), businessmen (e.g. Tony O'Reilly and Denis O'Brien), sportspeople (e.g. Brian O'Driscoll and Michelle Smith) and politicians (e.g. V V Giri and Eoin MacNeill).
Amongst the research institutes of the university are:
The most prominent university-related company is the IE Domain Registry; many of the university's academics continue to sit on the board of directors. The university originally gained control of the .ie domain in the late 1980s. There are a number of related companies, many concentrated as the NovaUCD initiative, to commercialise research results and opportunities; many of these reflect the university's expertise in the life sciences and information technology. These companies include:
The students' union, UCDSU in the college has been an active part of campaigns run by the National Union, USI, and has played a highly significant role in the life of the college since its foundation in 1974.
The Union has also taken significant stances on issues of human rights that have hit the headlines in Ireland and around the world, particularly in becoming the first institution in the world to implement a ban of Coca-Cola products in Student Union controlled shops on the basis of alleged human and trade union rights abuses in Colombia.
All full and part time undergraduate and postgraduate students of UCD are members of the Students' Union, whether they want to be or not, and are charged a flat fee for this involuntary membership, which all students must pay, regardless of their financial circumstances. Even when a student is deemed by the government to be on a low enough income to not pay the college "registration fee", they must still pay the Student Union fee, which increases every year, if a student refuses to pay this, they are not permitted to proceed to the next year.
The Union's main Governing Body is the Union Council which meets every two weeks during term. Council membership consists of 180+ seats for Class Representatives, ten directly elected officers of the Union Executive and five Executive officers elected by Union Council at its first meeting each year. Five officers of the Union Executive are sabbatical officers and are involved in the day to day running of the union. Their term commences on the 1st of July in the year of their election and lasts for twelve months. Sabbatical elections take place in late February of each year. Sabbatical officers are usually students who are in the second year of their degree who have decided to take a year out. To date, students from Arts, Social Science and Law have predominated in holding sabbatical positions.
There are currently over fifty student societies in the university. They cater for many interests ranging from large-scale party societies such as Arts Soc, Commerce and Economics Society , Qsoc,, and B&L, There are many religious groups such as the Christian Union and the Islamic Society, a television station Campus Television Network, academic-oriented societies like the Classical Society, Filmsoc and everything in between, including such great charities as St. Vincent de Paul, UCDSVP All Irish political parties are represented on campus including Young Fine Gael, Ogra Fianna Fáil, The Socialist Party, The Socialist Workers Party, Sinn Féin, The Green Party, The Progressive Democrats and UCD Labour Youth The college has two debating unions. The largest and oldest student society is the Literary and Historical Society, which is currently in its 154rd session. Dramsoc is the second oldest society on campus, followed by UCD Medical Society "Medsoc" is now entering it's 99th Session in the 2008 - 2009 academic year. The UCD Law Society, currently in its 98th session also promotes debate. Away from politics and debating the UCD Dramsoc is the university drama society, it is noted for an active membership and a number of notable alumni. The university also has a successful sinfonia called University College Dublin Symphony Orchestra
The most successful clubs in 2006/2007 were the Table Tennis Club (Irish Universities Champions for the 8th year in a row, Leinster Cup Champions & SuperLeague Champions, qualifying for the ETTU European Cup), the Fencing Club (Intervarsity winners 5th year in a row, Colours winners 10th year in a row, Darius Vasseghi Team Foil Cup winners, Trinity Team Cup Winners) and the Cricket Club (joint inter-varsity winners).
The Belfield campus is home to some of the best sports facilities in Ireland. These include the national hockey stadium (which has previously hosted the Women's Hockey World Cup Finals and the Men's Hockey European Championship Finals), a full size athletics track, two other stadia (one for rugby and one for soccer), one of the largest fitness centres in the country, squash courts, tennis courts, an indoor rifle range, over twenty sports pitches (for rugby, soccer and gaelic games), an indoor climbing wall and two large sports halls. It is hoped that a swimming pool will be added before 2010. There are currently over fifty sports clubs in UCD. These cater for archery to windsurfing and just about everything in between. Probably the three largest and most successful clubs are the soccer club (currently the only university team to compete in the top division of the national league in Western Europe), the rugby club (currently playing in the AIB League Division 1) and the Gaelic Sports club.
The main sections within the paper are: campus, national and international news, comment, opinion and sport. In addition, each edition includes a pullout arts and culture supplement called O-Two, with music interviews, travel, fashion and colour pieces. The University Observer is funded by the UCD Students' Union, but its content remains editorially independent, barring one 'Union Page' per issue.
Other past contributors include Dave Kelly, now rugby correspondent with the Irish Independent and Katherine Smyth now an Associate Producer with BBC Current Affairs. The College Tribune was tied to the national Sunday Tribune through its connections with Vincent Browne, but such links ended in 1999. The Tribune has also been distinguished on several occasions at national student media awards, particularly in sportswriting, where it has a strong tradition. The paper won the Student Newspaper of the Year at the USI/Irish Independent media awards in 1996. The then editor, Conor Lally, won Student Journalist of the Year in 1996. Tribune stalwart Peter Lahiff was a recipient of a Guardian Award for Diversity in 2003, the only Irish-based recipient of any Guardian award to date.
College Tribune sections include news, features, opinion, music, film, sport and colour writing, and it is famous for the launch of the satirical page The Evil Gerald, a 'paper within a paper'. The Gerald was succeeded by The Turbine in 2003, and they have featured such satirical stories as the Provisional IRA dropping its pursuit of a United Ireland in favour of occupation of the Isle of Man, and Osama Bin Laden stealing the Magic Door from Bosco which allowed him access to anywhere in the world.
UCD also has a student radio station, Belfield FM, broadcasting at selected times throughout the academic year across the campus on 101.3 FM and online at the station's website. The station is funded by the students' union and has nurtured current RTE presenters Ryan Tubridy and Rick O'Shea.
At the beginning of the academic year 2005-2006, the creation of a student television station, titled Campus Television Network (CTN) was announced. The station began creating programmes in November 2006 and distributing them online, at its old website, and across the campus in the student bars and student centre. CTN does not actually broadcast any shows themselves, either through the college network or via traditional analogue or satellite methods, rather it allows downloads and viewing of programmes on their website and distributes DVDs to on campus venues. It currently produces a variety of shows from their entertainments show 'Ent...This!' to their fashion shows 'Nu Look' and 'Slick'. CTN can be viewed on its new website at www.ctn.ie