UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK
UCC was established in 1845 as one of three Queen’s Colleges - at Cork, Galway and Belfast. These new colleges were established in the reign of Queen Victoria, and named after her. Queen's College, Cork (QCC) was established to provide access to higher education in the Irish province of Munster. Cork was chosen for the new college due to its place at the centre of transatlantic trade at the time and the presence of existing educational initiatives such as the Royal Cork Institution and a number of private medical schools.
The site chosen for the new college was dramatic and picturesque, on the edge of a limestone bluff overlooking the River Lee. It is associated with the educational activities of a local early Christian saint, Finbarr. It is believed that his monastery and school stood nearby, and his legend inspired UCC’s motto: ‘Where Finbarr Taught, let Munster Learn.’
The limestone buildings of the Main Quadrangle (as it is now known) are built in a style inspired by the great universities of the Middle Ages, and were designed by the gifted architectural partnership of Thomas Deane and Benjamin Woodward. The iconic image of UCC, it is set in landscaped gardens and surrounds the green lawn known to all as the Quad.
By the beginning the twentieth century however, it was clear that higher education in Ireland required a new arrangement to permit the next stages of development. That change came in 1908 through the National University of Ireland (NUI), of which the former QCC, now University College Cork (UCC) is a founding member. Since 1908, UCC has grown - from 115 students to over 20,000, from one building to dozens, from less than 20 staff to more than 1,600 today. Since 1997, it has become a university in its own right within the NUI, but retains the UCC name as part of its heritage of learning since 1845.