Trinity College in Dublin

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Trinity College, Dublin (TCD; Irish: Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath), formally known as 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 Dublin. Unlike the universities of Oxford and of Cambridge, after which the University of Dublin was modelled and both of which comprise many constituent colleges, there is just one Dublin college: Trinity College. Thus the designations "Trinity College Dublin" and "University of Dublin" are usually synonymous for practical purposes. Located in Dublin, Ireland, it is Ireland's oldest university.

Originally established outside the city walls of Dublin in the buildings of the dissolved Augustinian Priory of All Hallows, Trinity was set up in part to consolidate the rule of the Tudor monarchy in Ireland, and it was seen as the university of the Protestant Ascendancy for much of its history; although Roman Catholics and Dissenters had been permitted to enter as early as 1793, certain restrictions on their membership of the college remained until 1873 (professorships, fellowships and scholarships were reserved for Protestants), and the Catholic Church in Ireland forbade its adherents, without permission from their bishop, from attending until 1970. Women were first admitted to the college as full members in 1904.

Trinity is now surrounded by Dublin and is located on College Green, opposite the former Irish Houses of Parliament. 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. In 2011, it was ranked by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings as the 117th best university in the world, by the QS World University Rankings as the 65th best, by the Academic Ranking of World Universities as within the 201-300 bracket, and by all three as the best university in Ireland. The Library of Trinity College is a legal deposit library for Ireland and the United Kingdom, containing over 4.5 million printed volumes and significant quantities of manuscripts (including the Book of Kells), maps and music.


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 Cathedral, in 1592 a small group of Dublin citizens obtained a charter by way of letters patent from Queen Elizabeth on Dartry Road in Rathmines, four km to the south of the college, but large numbers secure accommodation external to the college. Foreign and exchange students are given priority when rooms are allocated.

Organisation and administration

The College, officially incorporated as The Provost, Fellows and Scholars of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, has been headed by the Provost, John Hegarty since 2001.

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 also 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 in Ireland, 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 the 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,"


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). The institution has been ranked highest in Ireland in international surveys.


  • Academic Ranking of World Universities 2010
201-300 globally and 1st in Ireland.
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Student life


There is a sporting tradition at Trinity and the college has 50 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 (Pinks), 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 1000 registered members.

The newest club in the University is the American Football team, who were accepted into the Irish American Football League (IAFL) in 2007. Officially 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 has a very strong tradition of student publications, ranging from the serious to the satirical. Most student publications are administered by Trinity Publications, previously called the Dublin University Publications Committee (often known as 'Pubs'), which maintains and administers the Publications office (located in No 6) and all the associated equipment needed to publish newspapers and magazines.

Trinity News is Ireland's oldest student newspaper, having been founded in 1953. As of 2010 it is published on a fortnightly basis, producing twelve 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 his studies, supported by a voluntary part-time staff of 30 student section editors and writers.

Student magazines currently in publication as of 2010 include the satirical newspaper The Piranha (formerly Piranha! magazine but rebranded in 2009), the generalist T.C.D. Miscellany (founded in 1895; 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 Social and Political Review (SPR), now in its 22nd year, 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 In Transit, Central Review, Trinity Intellectual Times, Harlot, Evoke, and Alternate.

The Students' Union also publishes a regular newspaper called the University Times. This paper was launched in 2009 replacing the University Record. The Record, first published in 1997, had previously replaced an older publication called Aontas.


Trinity College has a vibrant student life with 124 societies (in 2011). 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 and paper-reading society the University Philosophical Society, affectionately known as "The Phil." Now in its 327th session, the Phil is the oldest student society in the world, boasting over 8,000 members. It is based in the Graduates' Memorial Building (GMB), the only student society-owned building in Ireland. Also situated in the GMB is the College Historical Society,a debating society more commonly known as "The Hist." Vincent de Paul Society (VDP), which organises a large number of charitable activities in the local community. Players, one of the most prolific student-drama societies in Europe, hosts more than 50 shows and events a year in the Samuel Beckett Centre and has won countless awards at the Irish Student Drama Association annual inter-varsity drama competition. Previous holders of the Chair of the society include Pauline McLynn and lifetime memberships have been awarded to Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw and Bill Nighy to name a few.

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. In 2011 the Laurentian Society was revived. This society played a key role as a society for the few Catholic students who studied at Trinity while "the Ban" was still in force

The Trinity Ball

The Trinity Ball is Europe's largest private music party annually drawing 8,000 party-goers. Until 2010, it was held annually on the last teaching day of Trinity term to celebrate the end of lectures and the beginning of Trinity Week. Due to a restructuring of the teaching terms of the College the 2010 Ball was held on the last day of Trinity Week. In 2011, the ball was held on the final day of teaching in the second Semester, before the commencement of Trinity Week. It is a May Ball in the style of the Cambridge Colleges, with the emphasis on live music. The Ball is run by Trinity Students' Union and Trinity's Central Societies Committee in conjunction with event promoters MCD Productions, who hold the contract to run the Ball until 2012. The Ball celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009.

Students' union

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 an independent newspaper and has distanced itself from being known as the voice of the Students' Union, as its predecessor publications had been (The University Record, Aontas).

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 annual "Journal of Postgraduate Research".

Traditions and culture

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 and Exhibitioners of the College, as well other members of the College community and their guests.

Each year, Trinity Week is celebrated in mid-April. 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 Dublin, which is largely friendly in nature. Every year, Colours events are contested between the sporting clubs of each University.

The more superstitious students of the college (during their undergraduate studies) never walk underneath the Campanile, as the tradition suggests that should the bell ring whilst they pass under it, they will fail their annual examinations.

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 Michael Collins, Circle of Friends , Educating Rita and Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx 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'Brian'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 1990s. The story follows a group of creative writing students and their engimatic professor. A photograph of Trinity is used in the cover art.

In Karen Marie Moning's The Fever Series Trinity College is said to be where the main character, MacKayla Lane's, sister Alina was attending school on scholarship before she was murdered. The college is also where several of the minor characters who inform Ms. Lane about her sister are said to work.

In the novel Thanks for the Memories (novel), written by Irish author Cecelia Ahern, Justin Hitchcock is a guest lecturer at Trinity College.

Noted people

Amongst the graduates are included notable people in the fields of arts and sciences like Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, 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 '.


See also

  • University of Dublin (constituency)
  • Education in the Republic of Ireland
  • List of alumni of the University of Dublin
  • List of Chancellors of the University of Dublin
  • List of professorships at the University of Dublin
  • List of Provosts of Trinity College, Dublin
  • List of universities in the Republic of Ireland
  • Trinity Hall, Dublin</big>


External links