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Trinity College Dublin (TCD; Irish: Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath), 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 letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother of a university", and is the only constituent college of the University of Dublinmarker. Located in Dublinmarker, Irelandmarker, it is Ireland's oldest university.

Originally established outside the city walls of Dublin in the buildings of the dissolved Augustinian monastery of All Hallows, Trinity was set up partly to consolidate the rule of the Tudor monarchy in Irelandmarker, and it was seen as the university of the Protestant Ascendancy for much of its history; although Roman Catholics had been permitted to enter as early as 1753, certain restrictions on their membership of the college remained until 1873, and the Catholic Church in Ireland forbade its adherents from attending until the late 20th century. Women were first admitted to the college as full members in 1904.

Trinity is now surrounded by Dublin and is located on College Greenmarker, opposite the former Irish Houses of Parliamentmarker. The college proper occupies 190,000 m2 (47 acres), with many of its buildings ranged around large quadrangles (known as 'squares') and two playing fields.

Academically, Trinity is divided into three faculties comprising 24 schools, offering degree and diploma courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It is consistently ranked as the best university in Ireland, and as the 43rd best worldwide in the 2009 THES - QS World University Rankings of universities. The Library of Trinity Collegemarker is a legal deposit library for Ireland and the United Kingdommarker, containing over 4.5 million printed volumes and significant quantities of manuscripts (including the Book of Kells), maps and music.

The College and the University

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" - this was the finding 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 the 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".

In the Irish Senate on 18 April 2000 David Norris - one of the three senators representing the Trinity College constituency in the Irish Senate and an employee of the College - admitted that there is "no difference or distinction" between Dublin's Trinity College and the University of Dublin.


Trinity is one of Ireland's principal third-level institutions. The institution has been ranked highest in Ireland in some international surveys.


  • Times Higher Education Supplement Global Ranking 2009
43rd overall globally, 13th in Europe and 1st in Ireland, up from 49th globally in 2008; 32nd for Arts and Humanities globally (up from 37th in 2007)
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University Ranking
201-300 globally and 1st in Ireland.
  • Whitefield Consulting Worldwide - European MBA Rankings 2007
16th in Europe and 1st in Ireland


Goldsmith Hall campus residence at Trinity College Dublin.
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 190,000 m2 (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.

There are approximately 700 on-campus rooms available for students in residences such as Goldsmith Hall. The largest off-campus residence is Trinity Hallmarker on Dartry Road in Rathminesmarker, 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.


Early history

The first university of Dublin (unrelated to the current university) was created by the Pope in 1311, and had a Chancellor, lecturers and students (granted protection by the Crown) over many years, before coming to an end at the Reformation.

Following this, and some debate about a new University at St. Patrick's Cathedralmarker, 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 two initial Fellows, James Hamilton and James Fullerton. 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).

18th and 19th centuries

The eighteenth century was for the most part peaceful in Ireland, and Trinity shared in this calm, though at the beginning of the period a few Jacobites and at its end some political radicals perturbed the College authorities. During this century Trinity was seen as the university of the Protestant Ascendancy. Parliament, meeting on the other side of College Green, made generous grants for building. The first building of this period was the Old Library building, begun in 1712, followed by the Printing House and the Dining Hall. During the second half of the century Parliament Square slowly emerged. The great building drive was completed in the early nineteenth century by Botany Bay, the square which derives its name in part from the herb garden it once contained (and which was succeeded by Trinity's own Botanic Gardens).

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 Dublinmarker. 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 Catholic 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 de la Poer Beresford was that Heron would remain excluded from Scholarship.

20th century

Women were admitted to Trinity as full members for the first time in 1904.

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, Dublinmarker.

Student numbers increased sharply during the 1980s and 1990s, with total enrolment more than doubling, leading to pressure on resources.

Recent years

Trinity is today in the centre of Dublin, and continues to grow and develop its academic and other activities.At the beginning of the new century, it embarked on a radical overhaul of academic structures to reallocate funds and reduce administration costs, resulting in, for example, the mentioned reduction from six to three faculties. The ten year strategic plan prioritises four research themes that Trinity seeks to compete for funding at the global level.

Catholics and Trinity

During its first two centuries, Trinity was exclusively for those in what became known as the Protestant Ascendancy. Following early steps in Catholic Emancipation, Catholics were first admitted in 1793, prior to the equivalent change at the University of Cambridgemarker and the University of Oxfordmarker. In 1873, all religious tests were abolished, except for entry to the Divinity School. However, it was not until 1970 that the Roman Catholic Church, through the then Archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid, lifted its policy of disapproval or even excommunication for Roman Catholics who enrolled without special dispensation. At the same time, the Trinity authorities allowed a Roman Catholic chaplain to be based in the college. There are now two such Catholic chaplains.

Relations and proposed mergers

Trinity College Dublin is a sister college to Oriel Collegemarker, University of Oxfordmarker and St John's Collegemarker, University of Cambridgemarker.

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 Dublinmarker. 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, Dublinmarker 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 Donogh O'Malley, was dropped after opposition by Trinity students.

Famous Trinity Alumni

Amongst the graduates are included notable people in the fields of arts and sciences like Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Dominic West (Actor), Samuel Beckett (Nobel Laureate in Literature), Ernest Walton (Nobel Laureate in Physics), three holders of the office of President of Ireland, and one Premier of New Zealand (Edward Stafford); including Jaja Wachuku (first indigenous Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria and first Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister).
See also :Category:Alumni of Trinity College, Dublin.

Academic organisation

The Trinity academic year is currently divided into three terms in the same manner as the University of OxfordmarkerMichaelmas 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:
  • Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Engineering, Mathematics and Sciences
  • Health Sciences

Each faculty is headed by a Dean (there is also a Dean of Postgraduate Studies).

The Faculties are divided into Schools (currently there are 23 Schools).


Most undergraduate courses require four years of study. 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) and BBS (business studies). The B.Sc. degree is not in wide use although it is awarded by the School of Pharmacy; 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).

Trinity College's Strategic Plan sets "the objective of doubling the number of PhDs across all disciplines by 2013 in order to move towards a knowledge society. In order to achieve this, the College has received some of the largest allocations of Irish Government funding which have become competitively available to date."

In addition to academic degrees, the college offers Postgraduate Diploma (non-degree) qualifications, either directly, or through associated institutions.


Admission to undergraduate study for European Union school-leavers is generally handled by the CAO , 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.

For applicants from that are not citizens of the European Union, or that have not been resident of the European Union, different application procedures apply.

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.


Entrance Exhibition awards

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.


The announcement of new scholars and fellows
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 and culture

The Long Room, housing the Book of Kells and other ancient manuscripts.
The Library of Trinity College is the largest research library in Ireland. As a result of its historic standing, Trinity College Library Dublin 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 circa five 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 Santrymarker, 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.

Student activities


College Park, Trinity College Dublin
Dublin University Boat Club racing on the river Liffey
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 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 , 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.

The newest club 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 Football".

The most successful Trinity College sports club - based on Intervarsities victories - is Dublin University Fencing Club (DU Fencing Club). A total of thirty-two Intervarsity titles have been won by the club in fifty-five years of competition. While the modern DU Fencing Club was founded in 1941, its origins can be dated to the 1700s when a 'Gentleman's Club of the Sword' existed, primarily for duelling practice.


Trinity College Dublin has a very strong tradition of student publications, ranging from the serious to the satirical. All student publications are administered by Trinity Publications, until recently called 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 10 years the paper has been edited by a full-time student Editor, who takes a sabbatical year from their studies, supported by a voluntary part-time staff of 30 student sub-editors and writers.

Student magazines currently in publication include the satirist Piranha!, the generalist TCD Miscellany (one of Ireland's oldest magazines) and 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 debating society the College Historical Society, more commonly known as "The Hist", the paper-reading society the University Philosophical Society (Trinity College Dublin), more commonly known as "The Phil", both of which are situated in the Graduates' Memorial Building (GMB). Vincent de Paul Society (VDP), which organises a large number of charitable 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 Biological Association, or "Biosoc" is the medical student society, known for running charity event "Med Day" every November, raising money for university associated hospitals including acute stroke care in St James's Hospitalmarker.

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, celebrated its 25th anniversary in the 2007/2008 year. The Dublin University Comedy Society, known as DU Comedy, 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 Dance Society, known as dudance, provides classes in Latin and ballroom dancing, as well as running events around other dance styles such as swing dancing.

Trinity Ball

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 was the 50th Annual Ball.

Student representation

Trinity College - graduation day

The Students' Union's primary role is to provide a recognised representative channel between undergraduates and the University and College authorities. The Campaigns Executive, the Administrative Executive and Sabbatical Officers manage the business and affairs of the Union. The Sabbatical Officers are: The President, Communications 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.

The Students' Union Communications Officer is responsible for the publication of The University Times, which is published every three weeks by the Students' Union. The University Times is the voice of the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union and many of the contributors are drawn from the ranks of class reps and executive officers.

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.

Academic associations


Two teaching hospitals are associated with the college:

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

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 in the college at the Nassau Street entrance.


The College, officially incorporated as The Provost, Fellows and Scholars of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, is headed by the Provost, currently John Hegarty.

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). Currently, the Chancellor is former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, and there are five Pro-Chancellors: Sir Anthony O’Reilly, the Hon. Mrs Justice Susan Denham, Dr Patrick Molloy, Professor Dermot McAleese and Dr John Scattergood.

The Board

Aside from the Provost, Fellows and Scholars, Trinity has a Board (dating from 1637), which carries out general governance, and a Council (dating from 1874), which oversees academic matters.

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 Provost, Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer, 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 2008 for two- and four-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/chief academic officer, senior lecturer, registrar and bursar are 'annual officers' appointed for one-year (renewable) terms by the Provost.

The Visitors

The College also has an oversight structure, in the form of Visitors. Queen Elizabeth I originally designated seven office-holders as Visitors, but King Charles I later reduced their number to two, namely the Chancellor of the University and the Archbishop of Dublin. Today, the primary Visitor is the Chancellor (who may be substituted by one of the Pro-Chancellors) and the second Visitor is appointed by the Irish Government from a list of two names submitted by the Senate of the University of Dublin.

Parliamentary representation

The University of Dublin was previously represented in the British House of Commonsmarker, where its members included Sir Edward Carson.

The graduates of the University of Dublin constitute the University of Dublin 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 Professor Ivana Bacik, a legal scholar, Mr David Norris, the Joycean scholar, and Mr Shane Ross, a journalist. 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.


The Latin Grace is said "before and after meat" at Commons, a three-course meal served in the College Dining Hall Monday to Friday (Commons is attended by Scholars and Fellows of the College).

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 Dublinmarker, which is largely friendly in nature. Every year Colours events are contested between the Sporting clubs of each University.

In popular culture

In James Plunkett's Farewell Companions, one of the characters claims to have been "through Trinity", having entered at College Green and left at the Nassau Street Gate.

Parts of Circle of Friends and Educating Rita were filmed in Trinity College.

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.

Fictional Naval Surgeon Stephen Maturin of Patrick O'Brien's popular Aubrey–Maturin series series is a graduate of Trinity College.

In the Channel 4 television series Hollyoaks, Craig Dean attends Trinity College Dublin. He left Hollyoaks to study in Ireland in 2007 and now lives there with his boyfriend, John Paul McQueen, after they got their sunset ending in September 2008.

All Names Have Been Changed a novel by Claire Kilroy is set in Trinity College in the 1980s. The story follows a group of creative writing students and their engimatic professor. A photograph of Trinity is used in the cover art.

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 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.

Multi-disciplinary research

Programmes in advanced technology

Campus industrial laboratories

Current and former campus companies

  • Authentik - Language Learning Resources
  • Broadcom Éireann Research Ltd, a Telecommunications Research Company, 45% owned by Telecom Éireann, 10% by Trinity College Dublin and the remaining 45% by the Swedish company Ericsson AB. This company has since 2003 ceased operations.
  • Commencements Ltd - management consulting
  • Cellix - Microfluidic instrumentation suppliers to pharmaceutical, biotech and academic research laboratories
  • CREMe Software - Probabilistic Exposure Assessment Software for the Food, Cosmetics and Environmental exposure sectors
  • 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
  • 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
  • Opsona Therapeutics ( - develop a unique and advanced range of drugs and vaccines to treat and prevent autoimmune / inflammatory diseases as well as cancers and infectious diseases
  • Reminiscence - Equity Trading, trading NYSE, NASDAQ, LSE & CME
  • Scientific Resources Ltd - Quality Assurance for the food, agriculture and pharmaceutical industries
  • Tolsys - Specialised hardware and software design in the area of fault-tolerant computers
  • X-Communications - Multimedia research and development company

References and Footnotes

  1. Extracts from Letters Patent ("First or Foundation Charter") of Elizabeth I, 1592: "...we...found and establish a College, mother of a (the) University, near the city of Dublin for the better education, training and instruction of scholars and students in our realm...and also that provision should be made...for the relief and support of a provost and some fellows and shall be called THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY AND UNDIVIDED TRINITY NEAR DUBLIN FOUNDED BY THE MOST SERENE QUEEN ELIZABETH. And...we erect...that College with a provost, three fellows in the name of many, and three scholars in the name of many, to continue for ever. And further we make...Adam Loftus, D.D., archbishop of Dublin, chancellor of our kingdom of Ireland, the first...provost of the aforesaid College... And we make...Henry Ussher, M.A., Luke Challoner, M.A., Lancellot Moine, B.A., the first...fellows there... And we make...Henry Lee, William Daniell, and Stephen White the first...scholars... And further...we will...that the aforesaid provost, fellows and scholars of Trinity College aforesaid and their successors in matter, fact and name in future are and shall be a body corporate and politic, for ever the name of THE PROVOST, FELLOWS AND SCHOLARS OF THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY AND UNDIVIDED TRINITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NEAR DUBLIN, and that in all future times they shall be that name, and shall have perpetual succession...and we really and completely create...them...a body corporate and politic, to endure for ever... And whereas it appears that certain degrees have been of assistance in the arts and faculties, we ordain...that the students in this College of the holy and undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin shall have liberty and power to obtain degrees of Bachelor, Master, and Doctor, at a suitable time, in all arts and faculties. ...and that they shall have liberty to perform among themselves all acts and scholastic exercises for gaining such degrees, as shall seem fit to the provost and the majority of the fellows, (and that they may elect...all persons for better promoting such things, whether Vice-Chancellor, Proctor or Proctors), (for we have approved assignment of the dignity of Chancellor to...William Cecil, Baron Burghley...and...when he shall cease to be chancellor...the provost and the majority of the fellows shall elect a suitable person of this sort as chancellor of the College. And the chancellor, or his vice-chancellor, with the archbishop of Dublin, the Bishop of Meath, the vice treasurer, the treasurer for war, and the chief justice of our chief place within this our kingdom of Ireland, the mayor of the city of Dublin for the time being, or the majority of them who shall be called visitors, shall break off and limit all contentions, actions and controversies (which the provost and the majority of the fellows cannot settle), and that they shall punish all the graver faults not amended by the provost and fellows.)"
  2. Times Higher Educational Supplement - QS World University Rankings 2007 and, 2008. Based on various categories including peer review, recruiter review, international faculty ratio, international students ratio, student faculty ratio, citations per faculty; 3 of the top 5 are in the UK but most of the top 25 are in the USA.
  3. Dublin: The High Court of Justice of Ireland, as published by Trinity College Dublin in Volume II of Chartae et Statuta Collegii Sacrosanctae et Individuae Trinitatis Reginae Elizabethae juxta Dublin, 1898, pages 507-536, in re The Provost, Fellows and Scholars of Trinity College Dublin v. the Attorney General, the Chancellor, Doctors and Masters of the University of Dublin and the Trustees and Executors of the will of the late Richard Tuohill Reid, holding that Trinity College and the University of Dublin "are one body."
  4. Article Fourth, The Act of Union (Ireland) 1800. Effective 1 January 1801.
  5. TCD generally has the highest entry requirements for school leavers. See CAO points required for 2008 undergraduate entry
  6. SJTU Ranking
  7. Whitefield Consulting Worldwide - European MBA Rankings 2007
  8. Trinity Hall houses 1,100 students, of whom the majority are first years. Postgraduates, international students and other continuing students also have rooms there.
  9. London: Newman, Cardinal Henry; The Rise and Progress of Universities, Chapter 17 (The Ancient University of Dublin), 207-212
  10. History of Trinity College: Laying the Foundations
  11. The Times, Important Collegiate Question., Denis C. Heron 13 December 1845; pg3 col E
  12. The Times; Ireland. Protestant Alliance; 9 January 1846; pg5 col D
  16. Professor A. Norman Jeffares
  17. Church of Ireland Notes from The Irish Times
  18. January update of the review - Scholars - TCD
  19. This also requires paying a nominal fee (€543 in 2007). See College Calendar, Degrees and Diplomas, I:E4:§4
  20. Graduate Studies - Trinity College Dublin
  22. A list of EU exams and conversion ratios
  23. There is also an exciting international mix of its student body where 16% of students are from outside Ireland and 40% of these students are from outside the European Union.
  26. Dublin University Central Athletic Club at
  27. Dublin University Cricket Club at
  28. Dublin University Boat Club
  29., web site of Dublin University Football Club
  30. The Bold Collegians, Trevor West, 1991, Dublin University Press
  31. Dublin University Hockey Club at
  32. Dublin University Harriers and Athletic Club
  33. Dublin University Fencing Club at
  38. Information | The Graduate Students' Union
  41. "Interdisciplinarity forms a key element in the College strategy in increasing Trinity's international standing as a research-led university. TCD has developed significant international strength in research in eight major themes which include globalisation; cancer; genetics; neuroscience; immunology and infection; communications and intelligent systems; nano and materials science as well as Irish culture and the creative arts."

See also

External links

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