Trinity College, Dublin

Template:IrishUniInfoBox The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin or more commonly Trinity College, Dublin (TCD) was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, is the only constituent college of the University of Dublin, Ireland's oldest university. Trinity is located on College Green in Dublin, opposite the former Irish Houses of Parliament (now a branch of the Bank of Ireland). The campus occupies 47 acres (190,000 m²), with many attractive buildings, both old and new, centred around large courts and two playing fields.

For all intents and purposes the college and university are essentially one and to this effect are often referred to collectively as the University of Dublin, Trinity College. The main exception to this is the conferring of degrees; the college provides all the programmes and academic staff are members of it, but the university confers the degree.



Trinity was founded by a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1592. The Corporation of Dublin granted the new university the lands of All Hallows monastery, a mile to the south east of the city walls. Trinity is today in the very centre of Dublin, as the city has moved eastwards.

During its early life, Trinity was a university exclusively for the Protestant ascendency class of Dublin. Following the first steps of Catholic Emancipation, Roman Catholics were first admitted in 1793 (prior to Cambridge and Oxford, upon which Trinity was modelled). In 1873 all religious tests were abolished, except for Divinity. The Roman Catholic Church had a policy until 1970 under the Archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid of excommunication for Catholics who took a place, although they could receive a special dispensation. Women were admitted to Trinity for the first time in 1904, and the first woman professor was appointed in 1934.

Trinity is sometimes confused with University College Dublin of the National University of Ireland founded in 1854. Both of them were established by Royal Charter and have gained global ranking in Financial Times and other notable papers which issue league tables.


In the late 1960s there was a proposal for University College Dublin 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.

Since 1975 the colleges which now form Dublin Institute of Technology had their degrees conferred by the University of Dublin, this situation continued until 1998 and a merger was considered by the institute, but never seriously by the university.

However, it is generally agreed that a merger with either of the institutions would have overwhelmed Trinity itself.

A more detailed history: History of Trinity College (Trinity Website) (


Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin

Typically an undergraduate is awarded an ordinary Bachelor in Arts after three years study before an additional year to be awarded an honours bachelor degree in their chosen specialism, thus requiring a total of four years study. Furthermore, bachelors who have had their degrees for at least three years may pay a nominal fee to have the Master in Arts degree conferred on them. This is closer to the Scottish model than the English; most other Irish universities award Bachelor of Arts after three years of study, though other bachelor degrees such as dentistry, engineering, medicine or science usually take longer. In recent years, students have been offered a broader range of courses, outside of their major field of study. As a result, the pedagogy has moved a little closer to the North American than the British university model. In addition to academic degrees the college offers the Postgraduate Diploma.

The Trinity academic year is divided into three termsMichaelmas term (October, November and December), Hilary term (January, February, March) and Trinity term (March, April, May).

Trinity's six faculties are as follows: (these faculties may change in the coming year with restructuring)

  • Arts (Humanities)
  • Arts (Letters)
  • Business, Economic & Social Studies (BESS)
  • Engineering & Systems Sciences
  • Health Sciences
  • Science



The Irish School of Ecumenics became an academic institute within the college on 1 January 2001. Two teaching hospitals are also associated with the college, these are Adelaide & Meath Hospital, Incorporating the National Children's Hospital, Tallaght and St. James's Hospital, Dublin.

A number of teaching institutions are involved in jointly taught courses:

Trinity has also been associated in the past with a number of other teaching institutions these include Dublin Institute of Technology, Magee College and Royal Irish Academy of Music.

The Douglas Hyde Gallery, a contempory art gallery, is located on the main College campus.


Trinity College has a vibrant student life with 96 societies and 50 sports clubs, most prominently the two debating societies situated in the Graduates' Memorial Building (GMB): the College Historical Society (founded 1770) and the University Philosophical Society (founded 1684 or 1853 - date disputed, see page for details), more commonly known as The Hist and The Phil.

Student Publications

Trinity College (Dublin) has a very strong tradition of undergraduate student publication. The first Journal was the Student Economic Review, now in its 19th year. This has been joined by other publications from many of the other faculties, such as the Law Review and the Medical Review, the student newspapers University Record ( and Trinity News (, as well as the satirical tabloid Piranha


The University is headed, titularly, by the Chancellor, currently former Irish president and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson. The College is headed by the Provost, currently John Hegarty. The college is officially incorporated as The Provost, Fellows and Scholars of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin.

Indeed, the Body Corporate of the College is still headed by the Provost, Fellows & 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.

The governance of Trinity was changed in 2000, by the Irish Government, in a bill introduced by the Board of Trinity: The Trinity College, Dublin (Charters and Letters Patent Amendment) Act, 2000. This was introduced separately from the Universities Act 1997. This states that the Board shall comprise:

  • The Provost, Vice-Provost, Senior Lecturer, Registrar and Bursar;
  • Six Fellows;
  • Five members of the academic staff who are not Fellows at least three of whom must be of a rank not higher than senior lecturer;
  • Two members of the academic staff of the rank of professor;
  • Three members of the non-academic staff;
  • Four students of the College at least one of whom shall be a post-graduate student;
  • One member not being an employee or student of the College chosen by a committee of the Board which shall comprise the Provost and two members of the Board from among nominations made by such organisations as are representative of such business or professional interest as the Board considers appropriate;
  • One member appointed by the Board on the nomination of the Minister for Education and Science following consultation with the Provost.


Trinity is an unusual university as it is centred in a capital city, but still retains a strong campus atmosphere. This is in large part due to the compact design of the campus: the main buildings look inwards, and there are a small number of public gates. Student numbers increased during the 1980s and 1990s, with total enrolment more than doubling in size, and leading to pressure on resources. Students can be housed either on campus, or in Dartry four kilometers to the south of the city campus mostly for first years. Famous residents include the historian Callum Keaveny.

In addition to the superb city centre campus, Trinity also incorporates the Faculty of Health Sciences buildings located in St. James's Teaching Hospital and the Adelaide and Meath incorporating the National Children's Hospital, Tallaght (AMNCH). Phases 2 and 3 of the Trinity Centre in St James's Hospital have been recently completed and incorporate additional teaching rooms as well as the Institute of Molecular Medicine and John Durkan Leukaemia Institute.

A recent addition to the architectural uniqueness of Trinity College Dublin is the new School of Nursing and Midwifery on D'Olier Street. This building, the former Bord Gáis headquarters, combines mock tudor and art deco styles in a unique combination.

The Library

Missing image
The Book of Kells is the most famous of the volumes in the Trinity College Library. Shown here is the Madonna and Child from Kells (folio 7v).

The Library of Trinity College is the largest research library in Ireland. As a deposit library, it is entitled legally to a copy of every book published in Britain and Ireland, and contains 4.25 million books. The Book of Kells, the Library's most famous book can be seen in the Long Room of the old Library. There are 5 libraries for general student use: the Berkeley, the Ussher, the Lecky, the Hamilton and the John Stearne located in St. James's Hospital. In addition, there is another library in the Adelaide & Meath Hospital, Incorporating the National Children's Hospital, Tallaght which students may use.

It was widely reported that the visual appearance of the Jedi Archives in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is inspired by the Long Room due to the striking resemblance between the two. The Long Room is an area of the library that is available to see on the Book of Kells tour. There were reports ( that Trinity considered legal action but the matter was eventually dropped (note that this image is from the Book of Kells, NOT from the film).

See also

External links

Universities of Ireland
Republic of Ireland: Dublin City University | National University of Ireland | University of Dublin | University of Limerick
NUI Constituent Universities: Cork | Dublin | Galway | Maynooth
Northern Ireland: Queen's University of Belfast | University of Ulster
QUB University Colleges: St Mary's | Stranmillis

Other degree awarding authorities in Ireland
Dublin Institute of Technology | Higher Education and Training Awards Council | King's Inns | Pontifical University of Maynooth | Presbyterian Theological Faculty Ireland

Coimbra Group
(of European research universities)
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de:Trinity College (Dublin)

fr:Trinity College (Dublin) ga:Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath he:טרינטי קול'ג, דבלין


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