Essential Architecture-  Ireland

Trinity College




Ireland > County Cork > Dublin


Established 1592 by Elizabeth I


  The rowing team and the Book of Kells
Established 1592 by Elizabeth I
Provost John Hegarty
Faculty 678
Students 15,000
Location Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Address College Green
Dublin 2
Telephone +353-1-896-1000
Affiliations DU, Coimbra Group, AMBA

Trinity College, 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, and is the only constituent college of the University of Dublin, Ireland's oldest university. Trinity is located on College Green 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.

The college and university are effectively one, and as such 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.

 Location and facilities

At the main entrance of Trinity College there are statues of Edmund Burke and Oliver Goldsmith, both graduates of the college.Trinity retains a strong campus atmosphere despite its location in the urban centre of a capital city. 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. The main campus island is approximately 47 acres, including the Trinity College Enterprise Centre. There is in excess of 200,000 m² of buildings, including beautiful historic architecture and state-of-the-art modern facilities.

In addition to the 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. The Trinity Centre in 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.

Student numbers increased dramatically during the 1980s and 1990s, with total enrolment more than doubling in size, and leading to pressure on resources. Many students are housed on campus, or in Trinity Hall on Dartry Road in Rathmines, four kilometres to the south of the city campus, but large numbers secure accommodation external to the university. Foreign and exchange students are given priority when campus and Trinity Hall places are allocated. Trinity Hall houses one thousand students, of whom the majority are first years. Postgraduates, international students and other continuing students also have rooms there.


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).Trinity was founded by a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth 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.[1] Trinity is today in the very centre of Dublin, as the city has moved eastwards. 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.

During its early life, Trinity was a university exclusively for the Protestant Ascendancy 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 the Divinity School. However, it was not until 1970 that the Catholic Church, through the Archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid, lifted its policy of excommunication for Catholics who enrolled without special dispensation, at the same time as the Trinity authorities allowed a Roman Catholic chaplain to be based in the college.[1] Trinity College, Dublin is a sister college to Oriel College, University of Oxford and St John's College, University of Cambridge.

Women were admitted to Trinity as full members for the first time in 1904, thus making it the first ancient university in Ireland or Britain to do so. The first female professor was appointed in 1934.

 Proposed mergers
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. Dublin University Defence Committee was created and was successful in preventing any change to the status quo. Additionally the Catholic bishops' rejection of this 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.

From 1975, the colleges that now form Dublin Institute of Technology had their degrees conferred by the University of Dublin. This arrangement was discontinued in 1998.


Parliament Square, Trinity College, Dublin.The Trinity academic year is 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). First year students are called Junior Freshmen; second years, Senior Freshmen; third years, Junior Sophisters and fourth years, Senior Sophisters.

Trinity's five faculties are as follows:

Arts and Humanities
Social and Human Sciences
Engineering and Systems Sciences
Health Sciences
Natural Sciences

Trinity College, Dublin is consistently the highest ranked university in Ireland on world-wide metrics.

The global rankings published by the Times Higher Education Supplement placed the college at 78 out of a total 200 universities reviewed [2]. The same study ranked Trinity's arts and humanities faculty 39th internationally [3]. The university failed to place among the top 200 universities in scientific research according to rankings compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University [4].

Trinity's MBA programme is ranked among the top 100 globally by the Financial Times and among the top 10 for international mobility of graduates and value for money [5].

Since the 1990s, Trinity has started to invest heavily in scientific research with funding particularly from public sources. Some scholars claim that the strong reputation of the university is poorly served by its relatively low research funding in comparison to that of other internationally rated institutions .

Students at the undergraduate level are usually awarded an honours Bachelor of Arts degree after four years, but in exceptional cases or in some professional subjects such as medicine may receive an ordinary BA after three years' study. Bachelors who have had their degrees for at least three years may pay a nominal fee (of €543) to have the Master in Arts degree conferred on them, as at Oxbridge.[2] The four-year degree is closer to the Scottish model than the English, and is unusual among Irish universities; most 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 limited range of courses outside of their major field of study under a 'broad curriculum' policy. The Law School awards the LL.B., the LL.B. (ling. franc.) and the LL.B. (ling. germ.). Other degrees include the BAI (engineering), B.Sc.(Pharm) (pharmacy) and BBS (business studies). The BSc degree is not in wide use; most science and computer science students are awarded a BA.

At postgraduate level, Trinity offers a range of taught and research degrees in all faculties. The multidisciplinary Irish School of Ecumenics provides further opportunities for postgraduate students beyond the major faculties and is a graduate institute focusing on applied research uniting politics, theology, and religion. See below for a full list of research institutes and centres

In addition to academic degrees, the college offers Postgraduate Diploma non-degree qualifications.

Irish school-leavers apply for places under the CAO points system, under which students compete for university places on the basis of the points score awarded for their Leaving Certificate results. Some students are admitted through the Trinity Access Programme which aims to facilitate the entry of sectors of society which would otherwise be under-represented. The admissions office also has procedures for considering mature and international students' applications. There is high demand for many Trinity courses, so competition can be strong.

Trinity also has formal procedures for admitting applicants on the basis of UK GCE A-level results, which is an important route for entry for students from Northern Ireland.

Students who enter with exceptional Leaving Certificate or other public examination results are awarded an Entrance Exhibition, which entails a prize in the form of book tokens to the value of €254, issued in two equal instalments in each of the Freshman years. [6]

Undergraduate students of any year, usually Senior Freshmen, may elect to sit the Foundation Scholarship examination, which takes place in the break between Hilary and Trinity terms. Foundation scholars are part of the body corporate, and all scholars from EU member countries are entitled to free rooms, commons and fees for the duration of their scholarship, which can last up to five years. Foundation scholars from non-EU member countries have their fees reduced to EU student levels.

 The Library

The Old LibraryThe Library of Trinity College is the largest research library in Ireland. As a result of its historic standing, Trinity is a legal deposit library 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 4.25 million books, including 30,000 current serials and significant collections of manuscripts, maps, and printed music. Six libraries 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 storey 9,500 m² building provides 750 new reader spaces and houses the Glucksman Map Library and Conservation Department.

The Book of Kells is by far the Library's most famous book and is located in the Old Library. Together with the Long Room, the Old Library is one of Ireland's biggest tourist attractions. Though the Book of Kells has been exhibited in other locations, damage caused on a loan in 2000 to an Australian institution has led to a policy of never allowing the book to leave Trinity again.

It was widely reported that the appearance of the Jedi Archives in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones was inspired by the Long Room due to the close resemblance between the two. Trinity considered legal action but the matter was not pursued.[7]

 Student activities


Dublin University Boat Club racing on the river LiffeyTrinity College has 49 sports clubs affiliated to the Dublin University Central Athletic Club. There is a very strong sporting tradition at Trinity; however, in recent years sporting prowess has diminished somewhat with most students engaging in sport for recreational purposes rather than for competitive reasons.

The Central Athletic Club is made up of five democratically elected committees who oversee the development of sport in the college: the Executive Committee is responsible for all activities; the Captains' Committee represents the 49 club captains and awards University Colours (Pinks), the Pavilion Bar Committee 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 which plays rugby football was founded in 1854 and is the world's oldest documented "football club". The Dublin University Hockey Club was founded in 1893. The Dublin University Harriers and Athletic Club was founded in 1895.

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).

Trinity College, Dublin has a very strong tradition of student publications, ranging from the serious to the satirical. Many student publications are administered by the Dublin University Publications Committee (often known as 'Pubs') who maintain and administer the Publications room (located in House 6) and all the associated equipment needed to publish its newspapers and magazines.

Trinity News, which won the Newspaper of the Year Award at the National Student Media Awards in April 2005, is Ireland's oldest student newspaper having been in circulation since 1947, and is currently published on a fortnightly basis. Sections include News, National Review, International Review, Features, Film, Music, Food and Drink, SU & Societies, Gaeilge, Science, Sports Features and Sports (amongst others). The paper received a record 15 shortlistings for the 2006 Student Media Awards held on 26 April 2006, winning five.

Magazines currently in publication include Piranha! ("Private Eye" type satire), the generalist Miscellany (one of Ireland's oldest magazines), and the arts-orientated Icarus. Other active publications include the Student Economic Review, which is a journal produced and organised independently by students of Economics, the Law Review and the Trinity Student Medical Journal. Some older titles currently not in publication include Central Review, Trinity Intellectual Times, Harlot, Evoke, and Alternate.


The Graduates memorial buildingTrinity College has a vibrant student life with 101 societies. 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, large societies having in the region of 2000 members. Society size tends to vary 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"; the Vincent de Paul society, which organises a large number of activities in the local community; and Dublin University Players which is one of the most prolific drama societies in Ireland, hosting up to 50 shows and events a year in its own theatre in the Samuel Beckett Centre. Famous ex-members of Players include the actress and writer Pauline McLynn (Mrs Doyle from Father Ted, and Ian Laurence Byrne esq and Sir Patrick McKeating.

TCD also has a Radio Society known as Trinity FM. It broadcasts from House 6 and offers a variety in student made productions on FM frequency 97.3FM for six weeks a year.

 The Students' Union
The Students' Union's primary role is to provide a recognised representative channel between undergraduates and the University and College authorities. The Executive, the Finance and Services Committee and Sabbatical Officers manage the business and affairs of the Union. The Sabbatical Officers are: The President, Deputy President/Publicity & Publications officer, Welfare Officer, Education Officer and Entertainments Officer and are elected on an annual basis; all capitated students are entitled to vote. The SU President, Welfare Officer and Education Officer are ex-officio members of the College Board.

A rival on-campus student newspaper, the University Record, which exists separate of the Publications Committee, is published every three weeks by the Students' Union. The University Record, whilst independent of Pubs, is the voice of the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union and is edited by the Deputy President of the Union. Many of the contributors are drawn from the ranks of class reps.

 The Graduate Students' Union
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.

 Trinity Ball
The Trinity Ball is Europe’s largest private music party, annually drawing over 6,000 party-goers[8]. The ball marks the beginning of the Trinity Week celebrations in May, but has gradually grown to eclipse it. It is one of the few great traditions that still form a highlight of Dublin’s social calendar. The Ball is steeped in history and has always had a degree of exclusivity about it. The Trinity Ball 2006 was the 47th Annual Ball.

 Academic associations

The Pomodoro sculpture in front of the Berkeley libraryTwo teaching hospitals are associated with the college:

Adelaide & Meath Hospital, incorporating the National Children's Hospital, Tallaght
St. James's Hospital, Dublin
A number of teaching institutions are involved in jointly taught courses:

St Catherine's College of Education for Home Economics, Blackrock
Coláiste Mhuire, Marino
Church of Ireland College of Education, Rathmines
Church of Ireland Theological College, Braemor Park
Froebel College of Education, Blackrock
The School of Business in association with the Irish Management Institute forms the Trinity-IMI Graduate School of Management incorporating the faculties of both organisations.

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 contemporary art gallery, is located on the main college campus.

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.

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.

The governance of Trinity was changed in 2000, by the Oireachtas, in legislation 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.
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.

 Parliamentary representation
Continuing the United Kingdom tradition (since abandoned) of according seats in the British House of Commons to representatives of the longer-established universities, graduates of the University of Dublin (including Foundation Scholars of Trinity College) and the National University of Ireland each elect three members of Seanad Éireann, the Irish Senate. Terms are served until a new general election is called by the dissolution of Dáil Éireann.

The three serving Trinity Senators are medical doctor Mary Henry, Joycean scholar David Norris, and journalist Shane Ross. Dr Henry has announced her retirement at the next election (anticipated in July/August 2007). Past Trinity Senators have included the present University Chancellor Mary Robinson. Notable British House of Commons representatives have included the then Sir Edward Carson.

 Research and innovation

The recently built Lloyd institute, used by computer science, neuroscience, the Trinity Centre for High Performance Computing, physics and statistics.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 200,000 square feet (19,000 m²) 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.

 Multi-disciplinary research
Ageing Consortium
Centre for Computing and Language Studies
Centre for Deaf Studies
Centre for Gender and Women's Studies
Centre for Irish-Scottish Studies
Centre for Health Informatics (CHI)
CRANN, Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices
CRITE, Centre for Research in I.T. in Education
Centre for Telecommunications Value-Chain Research
Children's Research Centre
Employment Research Centre
High Performance Computing Centre
The Institute for Information Technology and Advanced Computing
Institute for International Integration Studies
Neuropsychiatric Genetics Research Group
The Policy Institute
The Sami Nasr Institute for Advanced Materials
Trinity Centre for Bio-Engineering
Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN)

 Programmes in advanced technology
Biotechnology - National Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Centre
Metals Research - Materials Ireland
Polymers Research - Materials Ireland
Optronics - Optronics Ireland

 Campus industrial laboratories
Élan Corporation Laboratory
Hitachi Dublin Laboratory
Kinerton Ltd Laboratory

 Current and former campus companies
Authentik - Language Learning Resources
Broadcom - Telecommunications Research Company
Commencements Ltd - Management consulting
Cellix - Microfluidic instrumentation suppliers to pharmaceutical, biotech and academic research laboratories
Eblana Photonics - Photonics component developer of optoelectronic technologies
Eneclann - Irish Genealogical Research Services
EUnet - Internet solutions
Havok - developer of middleware for the video game industry, creators of the Havok physics engine
Identigen - Provision of DNA testing services for traceability of food
Industrial Training Services Ltd - Training and Services for the IT industry
Insight - Data Analysis Statistical Consultancy
Institute of European Food Studies
Iona Technologies - Software
Irish Centre for European Law
Nutriscan Ltd - Human Nutrition Research and Consultancy Services
Reminiscene - Stock Market Analysis and Stock Trading
Scientific Resources Ltd - Quality Assurance for the food, agriculture and pharmaceutical industries
Simtherg - Engineering consultancy and simulation software development
Tolsys - Specialised hardware and software design in the area of fault-tolerant computers
X-Communications - Multimedia research and development company

^ History of Trinity College: Laying the Foundations
^ College Calendar, Degrees and Diplomas, I:E4:§4