NUI Galway, which is better known as the National University of Ireland Galway, is a University that is located right in the actual city of Galway in Ireland. One of the more prestigious third level teaching and research Universities, this institution has been awarded several different awards, one of the most recognized ones being the full five QS stars for the Universities excellence, and is even considered to be one of the very few universities that is ranked within the top 1% out of all the universities, as rated by the QS World University Rankings that took place in 2018.
Originally being founded back in 1845, NUI Galway was originally known as ‘Queen’s College Galway,’ and has become known more recently as the ‘University College Galway’, or UCG.
NUI Galway is also one of the members of the Coimbra Group, which is a network of over 40 European universities that have been long-established and are known for their excellence.
The History of NUI Galway
As mentioned earlier, the University was originally Known as Queen’s College Galway and opened its doors for the first time in 1849, with a faculty that consisted of 37 professors, and a class of 91 students. One year later it would become a part of Queen’s University of Ireland. The Irish Universities Act of 1908 would make the college what is known as a constituent college for the new National University of Ireland. Under this new charter, the name of the University would be switched over to the University College Galway. Later in 1929, the University would be granted a special statutory responsibility that would fall under the University College Galway Act, which would make the Irish language the main working language at the University. It would retain the name University College Galway until 1997, when the Universities Act would change its name to what it is today, or the National University of Ireland, Galway.
Located very close to the center of the city of Galway, the University stretches out along the River Corrib. One of the oldest parts of the campus, the Quadrangle, which has a aula Maxima, was actually designed by the famous architect known as John Benjamin Keane. Keane was trying to replicate Christ Church when designing this part of the University, which is one of the collages that is from University of Oxford. The stone that it has been built out of however, was supplied by local sources.
The Fine Gael’s youth wing was able to eventually take hold of the university during 1973, when the Liam Cosgrave led Labor Coalition/Fine Gael government, which saw Madeleine Taylor-Quinn and Enda Kenny supporting its establishment there.
Some of the more modern sections of the university would be added during the 1970s, the majority of them being designed by the architect named Scott Tallon Walker. The 1990s would also see a considerable amount of development taking place on the University, some of which included converting one of the old munitions factory’s that was near the campus into an amazing student center. Under the Presidency of the early 21st-century, Iognaid G. O Muircheartaigh, NUI Galway would make an announcement that would be the details for plans to try and turn the entire University into a ‘campus of the future’, which would have a total cost of roughly $400 million. The successor to O Muircheartaigh, who was named James J. Browne, would continue to move forward with the plan to turn the University into the campus of the future. The University actually launched a very strategic plan, ‘Vision 2020’, which would detail the school making the transition during the period of time ranging from 2015-2020. This plan would originally be released in 2015. T
rue to their word, there has been a significant amount of work that has gone into updating the NUI Galway campus to make it a true ‘campus of the future’. Some of the developments that have been made, include one of the most advanced state of the art sports centers, the Aras Moyola, J.E. Cairnes School of Economics and Business, the Alice Perry Building of Engineering, a high-tech BioSciences Research Building, the Life Course Institute, the O’Donoghue Center for Drama Arts, Performance and Theater, and the Lambe institute. There has also been a brand-new Biology building that was officially completed back in the summer of 2017.
Nelson Mandela has even made a very memorable appearance at NUI Galway back in 2003. Being his very last visit to Ireland, Mandela would have a rally that would condemn the U.S. foreign policy, as well as be on the receiving end of an honorary doctorate that the NUI Chancellor at the time, Garret FitzGerald, would personally bestow upon him.
The Different Colleges of NUI Galway
There are five main colleges at NUI Galway. Those five colleges are:
- College of Business, Law and Public Policy
- College of Medicine, Health Sciences and Nursing
- College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences
- Collee of Informatics and Engineering
- College of Sciences
Since the beginning of January 2006, St. Angela’s College, also known better as Sligo, has been a college that is in Galway. Sligo, was previously one of the more well-known colleges, as it was a recognized one of the National University of Ireland. As a result of this, any students that are registered through St. Angela’s College, are automatically registered as students at NUI Galway as well.
When it comes to NUI Galway, there is a very rich history that has helped to shape the University that it has become today. With a history of excellent leaders who have helped bring it into the modern age, there is a reason why NUI Galway is considered to be in the top 1% of all Universities in the world. With some of the best colleges around, NUI Ireland has really earned its place as one of the top Universities and it will be very interesting to see how they continue to maintain their standard of excellence as they move forwards.