NUI Galway

NUI Galway
OÉ Gaillimh
Latin: Universitas Hiberniae Nationali apud Galviam
Former names
Queen’s College, Galway
University College, Galway
Motto Deo Favente
Motto in English
With the favour of God
Type Public
Established 1845
President Dr. James J. Browne
Registrar Prof. Pól Ó Dochartaigh
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 17,318[1]
Undergraduates 12,464[1]
Postgraduates 3,623[1]
Other students
Address University Road
, Galway, Ireland
53°16′44″N 9°03′36″W / 53.279°N 9.060°W / 53.279; -9.060Coordinates: 53°16′44″N 9°03′36″W / 53.279°N 9.060°W / 53.279; -9.060
Affiliations AUA
Coimbra Group
Aula Maxima, also referred to as the Quadrangle

NUI Galway (Irish OÉ Gaillimh) is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland. It is located in Ireland's westerly city of Galway. A tertiary-level educational institution, it is ranked among the top 2 per cent of universities in the world.[2] The University is ranked #249 in the 2016 QS World University Rankings and has been also been awarded the full five QS stars for excellence.[3]

The university was founded in 1845 as Queen's College, Galway, and was more recently known as University College, Galway (UCG) (Irish: Coláiste na hOllscoile, Gaillimh or COG). Alumni include the incumbent Taoiseach and President of Ireland, Enda Kenny and Michael D. Higgins respectively, as well as numerous other prominent politicians. Other leading figures in Irish official life to have been educated here include Attorney General Máire Whelan and Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy.

NUI Galway is a member of the Coimbra Group, a network of 40 long-established European universities.


The university opened for teaching in 1849 as Queen's College, Galway with 37 professors and 91 students. A year later it became part of the Queen's University of Ireland. The Irish Universities Act (1908) made this college a constituent college of the new National University of Ireland, and under a new charter the name of the university changed to University College, Galway. It was given special statutory responsibility under the University College, Galway Act (1929) in respect of the use of the Irish language as the working language of the college. It retained the title of University College, Galway until the Universities Act (1997) changed it to the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Located close to the city centre, it stretches along the River Corrib. The oldest part of the university, the Quadrangle building with its Aula Maxima was designed by John Benjamin Keane; it is a replica of Christ Church, one of the colleges at the University of Oxford. The stone from which it is built was supplied locally.

More modern parts of the university sprang up in the 1970s and were designed by architects Scott Tallon Walker. The 1990s also saw considerable development, including the conversion of an old munitions factory into a student centre. 21st-century developments include a state-of-the-art University Sports Centre (Ionad Spóirt), Áras Moyola, a new Health Science Building, Cairnes School of Business and Public Policy, the new Engineering Building, the BioSciences Research Building, the Life Course Institute and the newly opened Lambe Institute. A new Human Biology Building is under construction at present.[4] The highly toxic substance asbestos was removed from the university grounds on 13 occasions between March 2010 and June 2014.[5]

Fine Gael's youth wing took a hold on the university in 1973 during the Liam Cosgrave-led Fine Gael/Labour Coalition government, with Enda Kenny and Madeleine Taylor-Quinn among those behind its establishment there.[6]

Nelson Mandela made a memorable appearance at the University in 2003. On what was his last visit to Ireland, Mandela condemned U.S. foreign policy and received an honorary doctorate from NUI Chancellor Garret FitzGerald.[7]

In 2008, Éamon Ó Cuív was allegedly involved in an altercation with a protesting student on the grounds of the university.[8] Ó Cuív was Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs Minister at the time and would go on to become Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil.

In 2009, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was forced to flee from a public discussion in NUI Galway after being jostled by students opposed to the planned reintroduction of college fees.[9] Shortly afterwards, the University announced its withdrawal of support for the Students' Union-run RAG week. The Students' Union president said she did not believe the decision was justified, with more than €20,000 having been raised for charity in 2009.[10]

NUI Galway has also announced details of plans to make the university a "campus of the future" at a cost of around €400 million.[11] Details of the future plans of the University also show a Human Biology building which will incorporate Anatomy, Physiology and other human sciences areas.[12] It formed a strategic alliance with University of Limerick in 2010, allowing for shared resources. It launched its Strategic Plan "Vision 2020" (for the period 2015–2020) in 2015.


The five Colleges of the University are:

Since January 2006, St. Angela's College, Sligo has been a college of the National University of Ireland, Galway; it was previously a recognised college of the National University of Ireland. Students of St. Angela's College, Sligo are registered as students of the National University of Ireland, Galway.[14] Degrees and diplomas awarded are from the National University of Ireland.[15]

Since 2015 the Shannon College of Hotel Management is fully incorporated into the University.[16] Shannon College of Hotel Management is now part of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law in NUI Galway. This integration was formally marked by the Minister for Education and Skills Jan O'Sullivan TD at an event held in Shannon College on November 9, 2015. All staff of Shannon College of Hotel Management are now staff of NUI Galway and all students of Shannon College of Hotel Management are students of NUI Galway.[17]


Constituent schools found in the relevant colleges include:

  • School of Business and Economics
  • School of Chemistry
  • School of Education
  • School of Geography and Archaeology
  • School of Health Science
  • School of Humanities
  • School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
  • School of Law
  • School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Natural Sciences
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Physics
  • School of Political Science and Sociology
  • School of Psychology


Galway University Foundation (GUF) was established in 1998 with the intention of generating financial support from private individuals and institutions for NUI Galway. It nurtures relationships with donors to whom NUI Galway's approach to education appeals. The recently built Life Course Institute, within this building the GUF has many 'Priority Projects' in development.[18]

Societies and student life

NUI Galway has more than 110 active societies and more than 50 sports clubs. Five constituent society types exist: Debating & Political; Artistic & Performing; Social & Gaming; Religious & Socially Conscious; Academic.[19]

The oldest society on the campus is the Literary and Debating Society, founded in 1846. Another of the campus's oldest societies is the history society Cumann Staire. It is a member of the Comhaltas na gCumann Staire - Irish History Students' Association and the International Students of History Association. Another NUIG society is "Dram Soc" (Drama Society), which played a part in the formation of the Druid Theatre Company, Macnas and the Galway Arts Festival.[20]

The Film Society produces original films and founded the NUI Galway Student Cinema. The Computer Society (one of the oldest Computer Societies in the country) hosts other societies' emails and websites, and have one of the largest memberships. The Style Society, part of the international Rotary family, hosts the annual charity fashion show. GUMS, the university musical society hosts annual musicals in the Dubhlann/Black Box Theatre.

The Christian and LGBT societies were involved in a showdown over same-sex marriage in 2014.[21] The incident was provoked by Enoch Burke, auditor of the Christian Society, running for the position of Equality Officer in that year's student union election.[22] Earlier, in the late part of 2013, the university suspended the Legion of Mary Society after it failed to satisfactorily explain its connection to posters containing information on a Christian support group for homosexual persons.[23] An Cumann Craic is the university's Irish language society. Founded in 1993, the society’s stated aim is the promotion of the Irish language on campus.[24] One of the main events of An Cumann Craic, is the yearly celebration of Seachtain na Gaeilge. The society was awarded the Best New Entry Award at the Glór na nGael awards in 2011.


International students make up 12 per cent of the student population at NUI Galway.[25]



Martin Ryan Marine Science Institute
Áras Moyola, Health Science Building
J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics
New Engineering Building, North Campus
Name of President Year
Rev. Dr Joseph W. Kirwan 1845–1849
Edward Berwick 1850–1877
Sir Thomas William Moffett 1877–1897
W. J. M. Starkie 1897–1899
Dr Alexander Andersona 1899–1934
Monsignor John Hynes 1934–1945
Monsignor Pádraig de Brún 1945–1959
Dr Martin J. Newell 1960–1975
Dr Colm Ó hEocha 1975–1996
Dr Patrick F. Fottrell 1996–2000
Dr Iognáid G. Ó Muircheartaigh 2000–2008
Dr James J. Browne 2008 to present


Physicist George Johnstone Stoney, who was the first Professor of Science at the then new university, introduced the term electron as the "fundamental unit quantity of electricity."[30]

The geologist William King was the first (in 1864) to propose that the bones found in Neanderthal, Germany in 1856 were not of human origin, but of a distinct species: Homo neanderthalensis, the name of which he proposed at a meeting of the British Association in 1863, with the written version published in 1864.[31]


For a more in-depth list, see List of NUI Galway people § Alumni.

In literature

James Joyce donated an original edition of Pomes Penyeach to the university's James Hardiman Library in 1932 after its publication in Paris.[46] The Library also holds unique archival collections dating from the 15th century.[46]

Other examples include:


The Sunday Times University Guide named the university as Irish University of the Year 2002-2003, 2009-2010.[47] More recently, NUI Galway was the only Irish university to move up in the 2014/2015 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. Having increased 53 places on its 2013/2014 position, NUI Galway now ranks at 261st in the world according to THE Rankings, and it was placed at 280th in the world in the QS World University Rankings for 2014/2015.[48]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Report of the President 2011-2012" (PDF).
  2. "About NUI Galway". Archived from the original on 19 May 2015.
  4. "New engineering building at NUI Galway displays green ethos". 15 July 2011. Archived from the original on 19 May 2015.
  5. "NUI Galway allays asbestos fears on campus". 2 May 2015. Archived from the original on 19 May 2015.
  6. "Young Fine Gael". Archived from the original on 3 June 2015.
  7. "Mandela's attack on US over Iraq invasion recalled at NUI Galway". The Irish Times. 7 December 2013. Archived from the original on 19 May 2015.
  8. McDonald, Brian; Brennan, Michael (11 December 2008). "O Cuiv defends use of force on protester". Irish Independent.
  9. "Anti-fees demonstration forces Ahern to abandon public interview". The Irish Times. 3 February 2009. Archived from the original on 19 May 2015.
  10. "NUIG withdraws its support for rag week because of 'unruly behaviour'". The Irish Times. 26 February 2009.
  11. "Campus of the future" (PDF).
  12. "Campus of the future" (PDF).
  13. Colleges & Schools - NUI Galway
  14. "Education history in the making as local college joins NUIG". The Sligo Champion. 29 March 2006. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  15. "Strategic Partnership - NUI Galway". St Angela's College website. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  16. "Minister for Education marks first merger in Ireland as Shannon College of Hotel Management becomes part of NUI Galway". NUI Galway. 10 November 2015.
  17. "Shannon College Integration". NUI Galway.
  18. "Galway University Foundation".
  19. "University Societies Coordination Group (USCG)".
  20. "Dram Soc".
  21. "Rival protests over gay marriage at NUI Galway". RTÉ News. 12 March 2014.
  22. "Gardaí called to NUI Galway as students confront Christian activists". 12 March 2014.
  23. "NUIG suspends Legion of Mary college society over leaflets". RTÉ News. 5 December 2013.
  24. "Cumann Craic Society" (in Irish). NUIG Students Union. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  25. "International students".
  26. "Interesting Facts And History About NUI Galway". Archived from the original on 30 May 2015.
  27. "NUI Galway economist appointed advisor to IMF". 16 June 2014. Archived from the original on 19 May 2015.
  28. "Prof. Gerard Quinn". Department of the Taoiseach. 3 March 2015.
  29. "Saw Doctors are ready to rock in U.S.". The Irish Echo. 15 February 2012. Archived from the original on 4 June 2015. In one of their most obvious references to Irish society and culture, the band recorded a song entitled “Michael D. Rocking in the Dail” in 1994, celebrating the man who now holds the Irish presidency. Moran remains loyal to President Higgins, who taught him when he was a student at NUI Galway.
  30. Mulvihill, Mary (15 February 2011). "The man who 'invented' the electron". Archived from the original on 4 June 2015.
  31. "William King". History of NUI Galway, the Science Faculty and associated scientists. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012.
  32. "Ciaran Fitzgerald". Archived from the original on 4 June 2015. He studied in University College Galway, gaining a BComm in 1973, and played for University College Galway R.F.C.
  33. "Druid's Garry Hynes to inspire Galway businesswomen". Tuam Herald. 23 February 2011. Archived from the original on 4 June 2015. Born in Ballaghadereen, Co Roscommon, Garry moved to Galway with her family in 1965. In 1971 she started an Arts Degree (History & English) in University College, Galway, now NUI Galway.
  34. "NUI Galway President Pays Tribute to Actor Mick Lally". 31 August 2010. Archived from the original on 4 June 2015. A native of Tourmakeady, Co Mayo, Mick Lally, graduated from the University with a BA 1969, HDip in Ed 1970, and an Honorary MA in 1999 for his contribution to Irish theatre, at home and abroad. [...] His national and international reputation earned him the status as an icon of Irish theatre.
  35. Byrne, Cormac (10 June 2010). "McCann takes over as Defence Forces chief". Evening Herald. Major General McCann lives in Newbridge, Co. Kildare but was born in Cork in 1950 and grew up in Tipperary where he was educated in Thurles CBS and in Cistercian College Roscrea. He attended college at University College Galway and is a graduate of the United States Command and General Staff College.
  36. "Seamus McCarthy, Comptroller and Auditor General". Standards in Public Office Commission. Archived from the original on 3 June 2015.
  37. 1 2 Brillman, Michael (2009). "Bengal Tiger, Celtic Tiger: The Life of Sir Antony Patrick MacDonnell, 1844-1925". ProQuest. p. 334. T. P. O'Connor, Irish Member for Liverpool and a University College, Galway classmate of MacDonnell's ...
  38. Finnegan, Patrick (26 June 2009). "TEXT OF THE INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS delivered on the occasion of the conferring of the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on PÁDRAIC MACKERNAN" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 May 2015. In 1959, Pádraic MacKernan came to Galway from his native Limerick and commenced studies as an undergraduate in UCG. [...] Paddy has maintained strong links with Galway and the University during his busy professional career and he is a worthy member of that cohort of Galway graduates, Tadhg O'Sullivan, Noel Dorr, John Oliver Burke and Sean Ó hUigin, who have pursued distinguished diplomatic careers in the service of their country. line feed character in |quote= at position 89 (help)
  39. "Molloy given new IRB medical role". BBC Sport. 12 October 2005.
  40. "Aer Arann Alumni Award for Sports Achievement and Leadership" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 May 2015. BA 1972 [...] Following his Leaving Certificate in 1969, he enrolled as an Arts student in U.C.G. He graduated with an Arts degree in English, French & History in 1972 ...
  41. "NUI Galway Graduate appointed Cardinal". 6 February 2001. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015.
  42. "This much I know: Seán O'Rourke, Broadcaster". Irish Examiner. 13 February 2015. Archived from the original on 4 June 2015. When I went to University College Galway, it was always my intention to pursue a career in journalism on graduating.
  43. "CAIRDE" (PDF). January 2007.
  44. Steinberg, Jacques (10 April 2006). "'West Wing' Writers' Novel Way of Picking the President". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 4 June 2015. And Mr. Sheen? At 65, he has decided to make good on a promise he made to himself long ago: to enroll, for the first time, in college. [...] he will began taking classes next fall — in English literature, philosophy and, he hopes, oceanography — at National University of Ireland in Galway
  45. "What Our Graduates Are Up To". Archived from the original on 30 May 2015.
  46. 1 2 "NUI Galway Archives brings you Culture Night 2012". 28 August 2012. Archived from the original on 19 May 2015.
  47. "NUI Galway is Sunday Times University of the Year for second time".
  48. "NUI Galway is only Irish university to rise in latest world rankings, taking third place nationally". 2 October 2014.


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