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. 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.
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. The highly toxic substance asbestos was removed from the university grounds on 13 occasions between March 2010 and June 2014.
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.
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.
In 2008, Éamon Ó Cuív was allegedly involved in an altercation with a protesting student on the grounds of the university. 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. 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.
NUI Galway has also announced details of plans to make the university a "campus of the future" at a cost of around €400 million. Details of the future plans of the University also show a Human Biology building which will incorporate Anatomy, Physiology and other human sciences areas. 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:College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies
College of Business, Public Policy and Law
College of Engineering and Informatics
College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
College of Science
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. Degrees and diplomas awarded are from the National University of Ireland.
Since 2015 the Shannon College of Hotel Management is fully incorporated into the University. 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.
Constituent schools found in the relevant colleges include:
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.^a The physicist Alexander Anderson is credited as the first person to suggest the existence of black holes.
Senior professors of note include Professor Nicholas Canny, a historian known for his work on early modern Ireland and Britain, Professor Alan Ahearne, an economist working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Gerard Quinn, a global authority on international and comparative disability law and policy. Michael D. Higgins taught at the university before becoming ninth President of Ireland.
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."
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.General Bindon Blood – British military commander
Nicholas Canny – historian and noted authority on early modern Ireland and Britain
Joseph R. Fisher – barrister, editor of the Belfast News Letter, author, and Unionist commissioner on the Irish Boundary Commission
Ciaran Fitzgerald – former British and Irish Lion and Triple Crown-winning Ireland rugby captain
Eamon Gilmore – former Tánaiste, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Labour Party leader
Michael D. Higgins – ninth President of Ireland
Garry Hynes – Tony Award-winning Director and Druid Theatre Company founder
Enda Kenny – Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael
Mick Lally – actor, icon of theatre
Sean McCann – former Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces
Mark Mellett – Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces
Michael Beary – Irish Army Major General and UNIFIL Commander
Kieran Brennan – Irish Army Major General and former Kilkenny hurler
Seamus McCarthy – Comptroller and Auditor General of Ireland
Antony MacDonnell, 1st Baron MacDonnell – British colonial administrator
Pádraig MacKernan – Diplomat, Irish Ambassador to the United States and France, EU and Secretary General of the Department Foreign Affairs
Mick Molloy – appointed as IRB Medical Officer in 2005
Colm Murray – broadcaster
Wilfrid Napier – Cardinal, Archbishop of Durban
T. P. O'Connor – journalist
Valentine O'Hara – writer on Russia and the Baltic States
Breandán Ó hEithir – writer
Sean O'Rourke – broadcaster
Alice Perry - the first woman in Ireland or Great Britain to graduate with a degree in Engineering.
Martin Sheen – Hollywood actor, enrolled at NUI Galway in 2006 for one semester to study philosophy, English literature and oceanography
Máire Whelan – Attorney General of Ireland
Iarfhlaith Davoren- Irish Footballer
James Joyce donated an original edition of Pomes Penyeach to the university's James Hardiman Library in 1932 after its publication in Paris. The Library also holds unique archival collections dating from the 15th century.
Other examples include:Lig Sinn i gCathú
The Sunday Times University Guide named the university as Irish University of the Year 2002-2003, 2009-2010. 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.