With almost 250,000 students enrolled in third-level education across the island, Ireland has become a beacon for learning, and has cemented its place as the European Union’s number-one member state for students progressing to higher education.
Ireland, both North and South, can boast of a number of world-class and world-leading universities that are internationally renowned and respected.
Here are the top 5 universities in Ireland according to global rankings.
5. University College Cork (UCC)
UCC is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland and is based in Cork city. It was founded in 1845 as one of the three Queen’s colleges, the others being in Galway and Belfast, and ranks 310 among the world’s elite universities.
The Sunday Times have named UCC as Ireland’s number one university on five occasions, most recently in 2017, and is a world-class educational institution with a strong focus on the academic subjects of medicine, health, and the humanities.
The university is home to 15,000 students, over 3,000 of which are enrolled from 100 countries globally.
Among the college’s notable alumni is former Irish Taoiseach Jack Lynch, while it has taught some of Ireland’s finest sportsmen, including former Kerry captain Seamus Moynihan and Irish rugby legend Ronan O’Gara.
Address: College Rd, University College, Cork, T12 K8AF, Ireland
4. National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG)
Situated in Galway in the west of Ireland, NUIG ranks among the top 1% of universities in the world, coming in at 259, and is the second of the three Queen’s universities.
The near 14,000 students enrolled can choose from a range of disciplines in the arts, science, commerce, engineering, Celtic studies, medicine and health studies, and law.
It is a vibrant hub for students, with over 150 active student societies, while also excelling in sports. Its Gaelic football side is the third most successful university with 22 Sigerson titles, while its senior hurling side has claimed 10 Fitzgibbon titles.
As with all of the top 5 universities in Ireland, NUIG’s alumni consists of notable personalities, such as incumbent President Michael D. Higgins and former Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Address: University Rd, Galway, Ireland
3. University College Dublin (UCD)
Created in 1854, UCD is located in Belfield, around 4 km south of Dublin City Centre, boasting 32,000 students from 139 nations, and is Ireland’s largest university.
It is regarded as one of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities and ranks among the top 1% of universities around the world, listed at 193rd place.
The college consists of six colleges, 37 associated schools, and numerous research institutes. It has secured over 1 billion euros in grants since 2008 to conduct ground-breaking, clinical research and its researchers have co-authored over 15,000 papers.
UCD also consists of a strong sporting ethos, with competitive teams in numerous sports. Its senior Gaelic football team has won the most Sigerson Cup titles with 34, its last coming in 2018.
Address: Belfield, Dublin, Ireland
2. Queen’s University Belfast (QUB)
Located in South Belfast, QUB is the only university from the North of Ireland that makes the list. Formed in 1845, it can now boast over 18,000 students from around the globe.
The university is ranked 173rd in the world and is part of the prestigious Russell Group of Universities, the UK’s 24 leading research-intensive universities. Queen’s offers over 300 degree programmes in various fields of study.
QUB is also a leading institute for sport, with its Physical Education Centre (PEC) and University Playing Fields, and with a litany of Gaelic football, rugby, and soccer pitches. QUB also offers a vibrant Students Union.
Queen’s has among its illustrious alumni Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland, and Seamus Heaney, poet and Nobel Prize winner.
Address: University Rd, Belfast BT7 1NN
1. Trinity College Dublin
Established in 1592, Trinity has long been Ireland’s number one university. Located in central Dublin at the heart of the city, it is the oldest university in the country, and was built as an Irish equivalent to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in England.
Recognised internationally for its prowess, it ranks 108th in the world and has almost 17,000 students, with 122 nationalities represented.
The Trinity building is one of the most beautiful in Ireland with its stunning architecture. The College’s historic past is married with its new state-of-the-art facilities, such as the Biomedical Sciences Institute and the Lir Academy for Dramatic Art.
The university is a world leader in research, with a vast range of subjects ranging from the arts and humanities to medicine, while students benefit from the teaching of world-class experts in their respective fields. Notable alumni include Oscar Wilde and former presidents of Ireland Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson.
Address: College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
The island of Ireland has a rich tradition of education, and its modern, state-of-the-art third-level institutions are recognised the world over for their research, graduates, and contribution to society. The top 5 universities in Ireland are world-class educational institutions that the island can be proud of.