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Trinity College - Dublin City

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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.


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Photo Details

  • County: DublinCity Center
  • Town: College Green
  • Scene: Trinity College Dublin
  • Date: circa 1920


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  • Read about Trinity College Dublin below



Trinity College Dublin

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, ranged around large courts (known as 'squares') 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

Trinity retains a strong campus atmosphere despite its location in the urban centre of a capital city (and despite it being one of the most important tourist attractions in Dublin). 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.


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. 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 Roman Catholic Church, through the Archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid, lifted its policy of excommunication for Roman 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. 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.


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. It is consistently viewed as one of the world's leading universities and prides itself on its numerous historic achievements, including the development of the ISBN system, introducing clinical teaching into medical education and being the first university in Europe to award degrees in modern languages.

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

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.

Since the 1990s, Trinity has started to invest heavily in scientific research with funding from public sources and increasingly from corporate sponsors.

The Library

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 4.25 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.