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Maynooth University

Maynooth University
Ollscoil Mhá Nuad
Latin: Universitas Hiberniae Nationali apud Manutium
Former names
St Patrick's College, Maynooth,
Royal College of St. Patrick
Motto Veritati Fir Fer
Motto in English
Truth Strength Courage
Established 1795 (as St Patrick's College), 1997
Type Public
President Philip Nolan[1]
Vice-president Aidan Mulkeen
Dean Thomas O'Connor
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 10,570
Undergraduates 7,600
Postgraduates 1,500
Other students
Location Maynooth, Ireland
Affiliations EUA
Website .ie.maynoothuniversitywww

The National University of Ireland Maynooth (Irish: Ollscoil na hÉireann Má Nuad; Latin: Universitas Hiberniae Nationalis apud Manutium), known as Maynooth University (Irish: Ollscoil Mhá Nuad; Latin: Universitas Manutium) since August 2014, is a university in the town of Maynooth, Ireland. It was founded by the Universities Act, 1997 as a constituent university of the National University of Ireland, but it may be considered Ireland's second oldest university, having been formed from St Patrick's College, Maynooth[2] which was founded in 1795.

The university is located in the town of Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland, 20 km west of Dublin. Its grounds consists of two connected campuses; an older south campus of 19th century buildings, shared with St Patrick's College, and a modern north campus, occupying circa 100 acres (0.40 km2).[3][4] With around 8,800 registered students, it is Ireland's smallest, yet fastest growing university.[5][6] In 2009, NUI Maynooth was listed as a Top500 university in the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings.[7][8] The 2012 QS World University Rankings puts NUIM in the 501-550 bracket worldwide. In 2008 it was named Sunday Times University of the Year. In 2011, NUI Maynooth became the first and only institution outside of North America to be included in the Princeton Review of Best Colleges.[9][10][11]


  • History 1
    • 18th and 19th centuries 1.1
    • 20th and 21st centuries 1.2
    • Timeline 1.3
  • Campus 2
    • South Campus 2.1
    • North Campus 2.2
    • Kilkenny Campus 2.3
  • Academic organisation and reputation 3
    • Faculties, schools, departments and centres 3.1
      • Froebel College of Education 3.1.1
    • Admissions 3.2
    • Academic affiliations 3.3
    • Reputation 3.4
      • Academic competition 3.4.1
  • Research and innovation 4
    • Spinout companies 4.1
  • Student life and traditions 5
    • Student clubs 5.1
      • Sporting scholarships 5.1.1
      • Recent accolades 5.1.2
    • Student societies 5.2
      • BICS awards 5.2.1
        • Recent awards
  • Traditions 6
    • 35s 6.1
    • Christmas carol service 6.2
    • Maynooth Alumni Association 6.3
  • Notable alumni and faculty 7
    • Nobel laureates and contributors 7.1
    • Government, politics, law and public policy 7.2
    • Arts and the media 7.3
    • Science, technology and academia 7.4
    • Theology 7.5
    • Honorary graduates 7.6
  • Publications 8
    • Currently active 8.1
    • Defunct 8.2
  • See also 9
  • External links 10
  • References 11


18th and 19th centuries

St Joseph's Square, South Campus
Sculpture "Dance" in front of the Iontas Building with the ICT Hub in the background.

The university and St Patrick's College, Maynooth have a common history from 1795 to 1997. The college in Maynooth was established by the government as a college for Catholic lay and ecclesiastical students in 1795,[12] the lay college was based from 1802 in Riverstown House on the south campus, with the opening of Clongowes Wood, the lay college which had lay trustees[13] was closed in 1817[14] and it functioned solely as a Catholic seminary for almost 150 years. In 1876 the college became a constituent college of the Catholic University of Ireland, and later offered Royal University of Ireland degrees in arts and science. The Pontifical Charter was granted to the college in 1896.

20th and 21st centuries

The college became a recognised constituent college of the National University of Ireland in 1910. From this time, arts and science degrees were awarded by the National University of Ireland, while the Pontifical University of Maynooth continued to confer its own theology degrees, as these had been prohibited in the Royal University of Ireland, and continued to the National University of Ireland (its successor) until 1997.

In 1966 the college allowed again the entry of lay students; this greatly expanded the college and essentially set the foundation stone for the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. In 1997 the Universities Act resulted in the transfer of the faculties of arts, Celtic studies, philosophy and science of the recognised college of St Patrick's College to the new university. The university has also expanded into finance and engineering since its creation in 1997. In 2007 the university added business studies, followed by law in 2008.

Any person who was a student at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, and was conferred with a National University of Ireland degree prior to the creation of the university is legally considered a graduate of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.[15]

In 1994, W. J. Smyth was appointed to the position of Master of St. Patrick's College Maynooth (NUI). In 1997 this position became President of NUIM. In 2004 W. J. Smyth was succeeded by John Hughes as president of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

On 2 December 2011, eight students from NUIM, including the university's student union president Rob Munnelly, began occupying the Naas constituency office of Fine Gael TD Anthony Lawlor amid concerns about increased tuition fees.[16] They did so with sleeping bags, clothes, a chemical toilet and a week's supply of food and were supported by other students on Facebook and Twitter.[17][18] During the occupation Munnelly debated with Lawlor live on Kildare TV, USI President Gary Redmond visited the revolting students and a banner with the slogan "SAVE THE GRANT" was erected at Lawlor's entrance.[19][20]


St Kieran's College, Kilkenny
  • 1518 – [21]
  • 1535 – College of St. Mary confiscated as part of [21][22]
  • 1795 – The Royal College of St Patrick established on 5 June 1795 (35 Geo III, cap. 21)
  • 1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion, out of 69 students, 18 were expelled for taking the Oath to the United Irishmen
  • 1800 – Act of Union 1800 transfer of maynooth grant from Dublin to London; John Butler, 12th Baron Dunboyne died
  • 1800 – First ordinations from Maynooth
  • 1801 – First Lay college suppressed
  • 1802 – Lay college opens in Riverstown Lodge
  • 1808 – Dunboyne Establishment case settled between Maynooth Trustees and Butler family
  • 1817 – Lay College Closed
  • 1845 – Maynooth grant increased[22]
  • 1876 – Maynooth becomes a constituent college of the Catholic University of Ireland
  • 1886 – Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland by Gladstone, Maynooth was disendowed, lay trustess left the board.[13]
  • 1880 – Royal University of Ireland founded
  • 1895 – Centenary celebrations
  • 1896 – Maynooth granted Pontifical University status by Papal Charter
  • 1903 – King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visited it on 24 July 1903
  • 1908 – National University of Ireland founded
  • 1909 – Royal University of Ireland dissolved
  • 1910 – St. Patricks College, Maynooth officially becomes a recognised college of the National University of Ireland[22]
  • 1937 – Department of Sociology founded[23]
  • 1966 – Lay students in religious orders admitted
  • 1968 – All Lay Students admitted
  • 1970 – Dept. of Biology founded as part of the Faculty of Science
  • 1976 – Higher Education Central Applications Office (CAO) founded
  • 1979 – Pope John Paul II visits Maynooth
  • 1987 – Dept. of Computer Science founded as part of the Faculty of Science
  • 1992 – BA in Finance commences
  • 1995 – Bi-centenary celebrations
  • 1996 – Third level fees abolished by the Irish Government
  • 1997 – National University of Ireland, Maynooth founded from the faculties of Science, Arts and Celtic studies of Maynooth college of NUI; Outreach Campus at St. Kieran's College in Kilkenny founded.
  • 1999 – Foundation of Dept. of Psychology
  • 2001 – Foundation of Dept. of Engineering. MA in Leadership course commences for Officers in the Irish Defence Forces.[24]
  • 2004 – Foundation of the Dept. of Media Studies, as part of the School of English, Media and Theatre Studies, by Professor Chris Morash.
  • 2007 – Marie Curie Laboratory for Membrane Proteins opens, as NUIM wins European Union Marie Curie "Transfer of Knowledge" funding
  • 2008 – Named Sunday Times University of the Year; university canteen burns down during open day.
  • 2009 – Foundation of Department of Law with Professor Sandeep Gopalan as the first Head of Department.[24]
  • 2010 – Announced that Froebel College of Education will move to the University by 2013; formation of the School of Business; Professor John Hughes resigns presidency to take post at Bangor University.
  • 2014 – Rebranded as Maynooth University


The university campus straddles the main Maynooth to Kilcock Road in County Kildare. It is divided into the North Campus and the South Campus (also referred to by staff and students as the "new" and "old" campuses respectively). The campuses were connected by means of a footbridge that crossed over the road until mid-2011. The footbridge was then decommissioned due to the construction of a library extension on the South Campus. The campuses are now connected by means of a pedestrian crossing on the Kilcock Road.

South Campus

Maynooth Castle at the South Campus gates

The South Campus houses the facilities of St. Patrick's College, as well as most of administrative offices it shares with NUIM. A number of NUIM academic departments also have their offices on the South Campus including mathematics, music, geography, economics and history. The main buildings, most of which were built in the 19th century, are the Aula Maxima; St. Patrick's House (including the college chapel); the John Paul II Library (built in 1984); New, Dunboyne, Humanity and Stoyte Houses which collectively form St. Joseph's Square; Logic House and Rhetoric House.

The first building to be completed on the South Campus was named after its designer, John Stoyte. Stoyte House, still a prominent presence on campus, stands in proximity to Maynooth Castle.

Bog oak sculpture in St. Joseph's square

. Over the next 15 years, the site at Maynooth underwent rapid construction so as to cater for the influx of new students, and the buildings which now border St. Joseph's Square (to the rear of Stoyte House) were completed by 1824. The university chapel is located on the South Campus, just off St. Joseph's Square; masses and choir services are frequently held in the chapel, as is the traditional Christmas carol service. The South Campus also houses the National Science Museum.[25]

Pope John Paul II Library on Maynooth University's South Campus

North Campus

The North Campus was developed far more recently than the South Campus, in the latter half of the 20th century. Here, the main buildings are the Students' Union, Sports Complex, Biosciences and Engineering Building, Callan Science Building (named after the inventor of the induction coil, Nicholas Callan), the Iontas building, the Arts Building, the Science Building and the John Hume Building. The new ICT Hub is currently under construction and is set to house the department of Computer Science, the Business Incubation Centre and IVI, Hamilton and Callan Institutes with several teaching spaces.[26]

The North Campus also contains the student residences, most of the student service departments, a number of playing fields and a sports complex, which includes a fully equipped gym, that is free to all university students. The remainder of NUIM's academic departments as well as many research institutes such as the Institute of Microelectronics and Wireless Systems, the Hamilton Institute and the Institute of Immunology are also located on the North Campus.

The Eolas building
Iontas Building and The John Hume Building in the background

Kilkenny Campus

The university has also maintained a campus in Kilkenny since September 1997, based at St. Kieran's College, with students enrolled in certificate, diploma and degree programmes.

Academic organisation and reputation

The university is divided into three faculties: Arts, Celtic Studies and Philosophy; Science and Engineering; Social Sciences, with most students studying within one of these streams (although some cross-discipline courses are available). The faculties are further divided into various schools and departments.

As of 2009, there were 990 students at post graduate level.[27] Some postgraduate students also have links to the various research institutes that are based on campus.

As well as the main campus in Maynooth town, the university also has a campus in Kilkenny city. Froebel College of Education will also become part of NUI Maynooth by 2013.

Faculties, schools, departments and centres

Faculties Schools Departments
Social Sciences
Adult and Community Education
Applied Social Studies
Economics, Finance and Accounting
School of Business Management
Design and Innovation
Innovation Value Institute (Research Institute)
Science and Engineering
Computer Science
Electronic Engineering
Experimental Physics
Mathematical Physics
Arts, Celtic Studies and Philosophy
An Foras Feasa (Research Institute)
Ancient Classics
Celtic Studies
Nua-Ghaeilge (Modern Irish)
Sean- agus Meán-Ghaeilge (Old- and Middle- Irish)
Celtic Studies
English, Media and Theatre Studies
Centre for Media Studies
Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Froebel College of Education

As of 2015, Froebel College of Education is situated at NUIM. NUI Maynooth has established a "Froebel Department of Early Childhood and Primary Education" and awarded Froebel College’s four-year Bachelor of Education degrees, Higher Diploma in Primary Education, Master's degree in Special and Inclusive Education and Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in Special Education, as well as working to develop new courses.[28][29][30]


Admission to undergraduate study for European Union school-leavers is generally handled by the CAO (Central Applications Office), and not by NUIM. Applicants have to compete for university places solely on the basis of the results of their school leaving exams. Places are awarded in mid-August every year by the CAO after matching the number of places available to the academic attainments of the applicants. Qualifications are measured as "points", with specific scales for the Irish Leaving Certificate, and all other European Union school leaving results, such as the UK GCE A-level, the International Baccalaureate along with other national school leaving exams.[31]

Academic affiliations

NUI Maynooth is a member of Universities Ireland,[32] The Irish Universities Association,[33] European University Association,[34] European Association for International Education[35] and Eurodoc.[36] NUIM is also a member of Dublin Region Higher Education Alliance, along with three other universities; TCD, UCD, DCU, and four institutes of technology; DIT, IADT, ITT and ITB.[37]

The L.L.M. in International Business Law[38] is offered as a dual degree offered in conjunction with the Catholic University of Lyon(UCLy) in France,[39] the course is delivered in English.

Any student of St Patrick's College, Maynooth prior to the passing of the Universities Act, 1997, upon whom a degree of the National University of Ireland was conferred is now legally considered to be a graduate of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. The college continues to share its campus with National University of Ireland, Maynooth but remains a separate legal entity with training in canon law, philosophy and theology and awards the degrees of the Pontifical University and is associated with several other colleges.


In 2011, NUI Maynooth became the first and only institution outside of the United States to be included in the Princeton Review of Best Colleges.[9][10][11]

In 2009, NUI Maynooth was listed as a Top500 university in the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings.[7][8]

In 2008, NUI Maynooth occupied fourth place on the Irish Sunday Times University League Table 2008, the newspaper’s annual league table of Irish third-level institutions, behind TCD, UCD and UCC having jumped three places since 2007. It was also the top institution for research income won per academic, with one of the best graduate employment records of any Irish university at almost 100 per cent.[40] NUIM was also named University of The Year 2008 in The Sunday Times University Guide (UK), beating UCD which finished second.[41]

In 2010, NUIM recorded the highest growth in first preference school-leaver applications in the university sector.[42][43]

Academic competition

St Patrick's College (NUI) won the inaugural University Challenge based Irish Higher Education Quiz show on RTÉ, Challenging Times in 1991, winning again in 1992 and as NUIM in 1999.

NUI Maynooth and University of Newcastle, Australia’s joint robotic soccer team 'Numanoids’ won the soccer Standard Platform League (2-Legged Robot) RoboCup World Championship which was held in Suzhou, China from 14–20 July 2008. 2008 was NUI Maynooth's first year to enter the international robot competition which hosted 440 teams from 35 countries.

NUI Maynooth first entered the Microsoft Imagine Cup in 2007. NUI Maynooth achieved both first and third place in the Imagine Cup Ireland finals, earning participation in the world finals in Seoul, South Korea in August 2007. Team inGEST (Interactive Gesture), who developed a low-cost interactive system for teaching sign language using standard web cameras for feedback, achieved a top-six position in the finals and went on to Silicon Valley in February 2008 as part of the Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator Program. In 2008, NUI Maynooth students tied for second place in the Microsoft Imagine Cup in the category of "Embedded Development". A total of 124 teams representing 61 countries and regions took part in 2008.[44] In 2010 NUI Maynooth won the award for Best Windows Azure Application with their cloud-based medical record system.

Research and innovation

A number of research institutes fall under the auspices of NUI Maynooth:

Spinout companies

  • Socowave
  • Blue Box Sensors
  • Beemune
  • IGeotech[58]

Student life and traditions

Maynooth Students' Union represents the students of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, St. Patrick's College, Maynooth as well students at the associated campuses across Ireland (such as the Froebel College of Education and outreach campus at St Kieran's College).

Student clubs

Clubs on campus include those for rugby, gaelic football, hurling & camogie, judo, ultimate Frisbee, badminton, swimming, kickboxing, tennis, archery, trampoline, surfing, canoeing and kayaking ('MUCK'), golf, Skiing, parkour & free running, etc. Most of the universities clubs take part in intervarsity competition to some degree. NUI Maynooth also participate in an annual intervarsity sporting competition with Dublin City University, known as the 35s.

The National University of Ireland, Maynooth Drama Society(or simply NUIM Drama Soc) is a student society of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.[59] There is a colourful history of drama at NUI Maynooth, which can be traced to alumni such as Brian Friel (1948) and faculty such as the notable playwright Frank McGuinness.

Sporting scholarships

The university offers a number of sport scholarships to aspiring students in Gaelic games, rugby, golf, swimming, Soccer and snooker. Maynooth is the only university in Ireland to offer scholarships in swimming. Rugby scholarships were introduced to NUI Maynooth in 2006 in which scholarship students are obliged to attend the rugby performance centre and to play with the university teams and Barnhall RFC. The NUI Maynooth Rugby Performance Centre is open to all Rugby Club members attending NUIM. The aim of the centre being to enhance students' prospects within the game of rugby and to continue to achieve success with the university teams. As part of the link up with Barnhall RFC, players from the youth system 16-20's are invited to take part in a summer programme.

Recent accolades

Year Placement Sport Competition
2014 1st Collingwood Cup Soccer
2008 1st Intervarsity Swimming Championships Swimming
1979 2nd Fitzgibbon Cup Hurling
1977 2nd Fitzgibbon Cup Hurling
1976 1st Sigerson Cup Gaelic Football
1976 2nd Fitzgibbon Cup Hurling
1975 2nd Fitzgibbon Cup Hurling
1974 1st Fitzgibbon Cup Hurling
1973 1st Fitzgibbon Cup Hurling
1973 2nd Sigerson Cup Gaelic Football

Student societies

There is a colourful history of drama and theatre at NUI Maynooth, which can be traced back to eminent alumni such as Brian Friel (1948) and faculty such as internationally renowned playwright Frank McGuinness. Students of the university and St Patrick's College take part in various dramatic productions throughout the year, ranging from tragedy to comedy, melodrama, farce and improv. NUI Maynooth Drama Society annually confers the Eugene Niland Spirit of Drama Award on a recipient who demonstrates an extraordinary level of dedication to the craft of theatre, complete with a display of integrity and honorable principles in the practice thereof.

The Drama Society won Best Society at the Students Union Clubs and Socs Awards 2006 and again in 2007 and the Society's Improvisation Team won the 2009 Irish Student Drama Association Improv event.

In-keeping with Maynooth's traditional ecclesiastical focus, Christian Union is a multi-denominational, Christian, faith-based society which operates as a part of IFES Ireland[60] (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) along with 25 other Christian Unions in Ireland. Its aim as a society is to unite Christian students on campus, to bear witness to the Gospel, and to promote meaningful dialogue on the NUI Maynooth campus. The Christian Union was awarded "Most Improved Society" 2010/2011 at the Maynooth Students Union Clubs & Socs Awards.

Each year the Games Society at Maynooth holds their annual gaming convention, 'Dominicon'. The event was first held in 1995 and has been run each year since then with the exception of 1999. Originally it was run during February each year but the date was eventually moved to November. The Games Society donates all profits from the convention to charity.

Other societies include those for music, dance, LGBTQ, biology, art ('Playdo'), fashion ('StyleSoc'), mathematics, literature and debating ('Lit & Deb'), Maynooth Students' SVP - St Vincent de Paul Society, as well as political societies such as Young Fine Gael and Ogra Fianna Fáil.

BICS awards

NUI Maynooth annually compete for university/college society awards at a national level, which are organised by the Board of Irish College Societies (BICS).[61]

Recent awards
Year Award
2013[62] Best New Society
2010[63] Best Event
2009[64] Best Society Individual
2008[65] Best Society
2008 Best Society Individual
2008 Best Fresher



In addition to individual clubs' intervarsity competitions, NUI Maynooth has a standing intervarsity competition with Dublin City University (DCU) each year called the 35s, in which the two colleges compete as a whole. Each club faces their counterpart in DCU, the winning university being whichever takes most points out of the 35 available over all sports.[66]

Christmas carol service

A carol service is held in the chapel on an annual basis. The service is open to staff and students of the university and St Patrick's College, as well as members of the general public. Because of high demand, tickets are allocated by lottery.[67]

Maynooth Alumni Association

The Maynooth Alumni Association, is for graduates of NUI Maynooth and St Patricks College, Maynooth, who wish to keep in touch with their College and also provides the means to stay in touch with friends and classmates. It hosts a number of events such as the Alumni Ball, Networking events, and publishes the Alumni magazine The Bridge.[68]

Notable alumni and faculty

John Hume, Nobel Laureate

Nobel laureates and contributors

  • John Hume, graduate, politician, activist, Nobel laureate and winner of the Sean Mc Bride Peace Award.[69] MP for Foyle and leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party 1979-2001.
  • John Sweeney, ICARUS Director and lecturer in the department of Geography. Sweeney contributed to the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007

Government, politics, law and public policy

Arts and the media

Science, technology and academia


  • Cornelius Denvir
  • Former president of Maynooth, and later Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia, Daniel Mannix was nominated in his adopted country as one of the 'one-hundred great Australians' of the 20th century.[79]
  • Current Prior of Lough Derg, Fr. Owen Joe McEneaney

Honorary graduates


Currently active

  • University News: Quarterly bulletin
  • ReSearch: Magazine detailing current research at the university
  • The Bridge: Biannual alumni magazine produced by the Alumni Association.
  • The Print: Monthly magazine published by the Maynooth Students' Union, featuring editorials, interviews, creative works and campus news
  • The Golden Thread: Newsletter featuring editorials, comments and articles on current issues regarding the law department and the area of law in general
  • The Irish Law Journal: Peer-reviewed and student-edited law journal
  • Archivium Hibernicum: founded in 1911 is an annual historical journal published by St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, and the Dept. of Modern History, National University of Ireland, Maynooth.[81]


  • The Tonic / Maynooth Advocate: newspaper titles published by the Publications Society.
  • The SUS / / The Spoke: former newspaper & magazine titles published by the Students' Union (predecessors to The Print).

See also

External links

  • Official site
  • Maps of Campus
  • Students' Union
  • Centre for Business, Management and Innovation Studies
  • The Institute of Microelectronics and Wireless Systems
  • National Science Museum at St Patrick's College
  • NUIM Rugby Club
  • Maynooth Christian Union


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