Trinity College Dublin

Global Influence
Constituent college of the University of Dublin in Ireland

About Trinity College Dublin

By James Barham, PhD

Trinity College was established in Dublin by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592. It was modeled on Oxford and Cambridge, though it was much smaller, originally consisting of only a single “college.”

One must be clear that Trinity College was established under the auspices of the Church of England to serve the recently arrived English (that is, Anglican) gentry, who at that time—and for several centuries to come—politically dominated the mostly Catholic native population of Ireland.

A university intended to serve the majority Catholic population was not founded until 1851, in the form of the Catholic University of Ireland. In 1880, a third institution of higher learning open to students of all confessional backgrounds—the Royal University of Ireland—was established. Two years later, the Catholic University changed its name to University College, and began cooperating closely with Royal University.

In 1908—not long before Irish independence in 1922—yet another new university was established: the National University of Ireland, in effect replacing Royal University, which was dissolved at that time. University College also underwent reorganization, becoming re-chartered as University College Dublin (UCD). In 1997, UCD was absorbed into the National University System; however, it still maintains a quite separate and distinct identity. At present, UCD is the largest university in the Republic of Ireland.

It is not, however, the most academically prestigious. That is a title that Trinity College—now unofficially, but universally, known as Trinity College Dublin (TCD)—still retains. (To make matters even more confusing, for some official purposes TCD is referred to as the “University of Dublin.“)

Over the years, TCD has gradually emancipated itself from its politically charged history. The first Catholic graduated from the school in 1958. In 1970, the Catholic Church lifted its ban on Catholic students attending the school without a special dispensation. Today, TCD provides two Catholic chaplains for its students, and warmly welcomes applicants of all national, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

The roll call of TCD–connected intellectuals is a long and distinguished one indeed. Among them, during the university’s first two centuries, we may mention here:

  • William Molyneux, a philosopher and close friend of John Locke, originator of “Molyneux’s Problem”
  • George Berkeley, the notorious subjective-idealist philosopher, who taught that esse est percipi (to be is to be perceived)
  • Jonathan Swift, the satirical poet, novelist, and essayist, author of Gulliver’s Travels
  • Early Irish revolutionary leader, Wolfe Tone
  • Playwright, William Congreve
  • Playwright and novelist, Oliver Goldsmith
  • Statesman and renowned conservative political philosopher, Edmund Burke

During the nineteenth century, the following individuals, among others, were connected with TCD:

  • Gothic playwright and novelist, Charles Maturin
  • Gothic horror and mystery novelist, Sheridan Le Fanu
  • Gothic horror novelist, author of Dracula, Bram Stoker
  • Poet, playwright, essayist, and satirist, Oscar Wilde
  • Playwright, John Millington Synge
  • Painter, John Butler Yeats
  • Mathematician, James Joseph Sylvester
  • Physicists, William Rowan Hamilton and George Francis FitzGerald

As for the twentieth century, the following distinguished individuals have been associated with TCD:

  • Physicists, Erwin Schrödinger & E.T. Whittaker
  • Historians, J.B. Bury & W.E.H. Lecky
  • Politician, historian, and essayist, Connor Cruise O’Brien
  • Short-story writer, William Trevor
  • Literary critic, Richard Ellman

TCD has four Nobel Prize–winners to its credit:

  • Ernest Walton — physics
  • William C. Campbell — physiology or medicine
  • Samuel Beckett — literature
  • Mairead Maguire (née Corrigan), co-recipient of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her activism in Northern Ireland

Among many other distinctions to its credit, TCD has sponsored the Grand Canal Innovation District, a five-and-a-half–acre campus in the heart of Dublin’s Grand Canal neighborhood. The Innovation District helps to connect researchers and venture capitalists with Irish and international companies.

Finally, TCD is home to an outstanding library of more than six million books and manuscripts. Among the latter is to be found an elaborately illuminated manuscript of the four New Testament gospels, transcribed in Ireland sometime in the ninth century, known as the Book of Kells.

According to Wikipedia, Trinity College , officially The Provost, Fellows, Foundation Scholars and the other members of Board, of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, is the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin, a research university in Dublin, Ireland. Queen Elizabeth I founded the college in 1592 as "the mother of a university" that was modelled after the collegiate universities of Oxford and Cambridge, but unlike these affiliated institutions, only one college was ever established; as such, the designations "Trinity College" and "University of Dublin" are usually synonymous for practical purposes.

Trinity College Dublin's Online Degrees

What Is Trinity College Dublin Known For?

Trinity College Dublin is known for it's academic work in the following disciplines:

Trinity College Dublin's Top Areas of Influence With Degrees Offered

Who Are Trinity College Dublin's Most Influential Alumni?

Trinity College Dublin's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Literature, Philosophy, and Mathematics. Here are some of Trinity College Dublin's most famous alumni:

George Berkeley
George Berkeley
An Anglo-Irish philosopher, 1685-1753.
Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke
An Anglo-Irish statesman, political theorist and conservative philosopher .
William Rowan Hamilton
William Rowan Hamilton
An Irish mathematician and astronomer .
Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift
An Anglo-Irish satirist and essayist .
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett
An Irish novelist, playwright, and poet .
Francis Ysidro Edgeworth
Francis Ysidro Edgeworth
An Irish economist .
James Joseph Sylvester
James Joseph Sylvester
An English mathematician .
Ernest Walton
Ernest Walton
An Irish physicist and Nobel laureate .
Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker
An Irish novelist and short story writer.
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
An Irish writer and poet .
Oliver Goldsmith
Oliver Goldsmith
An Anglo-Irish writer, poet, and physician.
James Hillman
An American psychologist.

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