University College Cork
We’re traveling to a new part of the country for this week’s uni spotlight: picturesque Cork! University College Cork (UCC) is perched on a limestone bluff above the River Lee, a beautiful spot chosen for its proximity to Saint Finbarr’s ancient monastery and school. Saint Finbarr is the patron saint of Cork, as his monastery essentially founded the city, and was the impetus for the school’s motto: Where Finbarr Taught Let Munster Learn.
The school was originally established by Queen Victoria at the same time as universities in Belfast and Galway in 1845, but became a national university in 1908 with the enactment of the Irish Universities Act. Today, UCC is an award-winning university in every category with approximately 22,000 students (about 3,000 international, from 104 different countries!) They’ve even received an “Award for Outstanding International Student Satisfaction” with a score of 9.5, with their International Education Office at the forefront of adapting students to life in Ireland. Students can study almost anything they can dream of and receive a degree in 3-4 years, with the school roughly divided into four colleges: Arts, Celtic Studies, and Social Sciences, Business and Law, Medicine and Health, and Science, Engineering, and Food Science. UCC consistently ranks in the top 300 universities in the world and has a student rating of 4.4 stars (by survey site StudyPortals) for its high quality of both study and student life. It’s also been named Irish University of the year on five separate occasions by The Sunday Times.
UCC is considered the leading research university in the country (and top 2% worldwide,) with the highest research income in the state (in 2016, for example, the university had €96 million in funding and a five-year allocation plan.) The university chooses what research to fund based on global need for innovation, considering impact over monetary gain, and its top research subjects include food, health, and perinatal medicine. Many top research labs are located at UCC, including the Environmental Research Institute (which studies climate change, sustainable living, and the circular economy) the APC Microbiome Institute (which looks into alimentary health and functional foods,) and the Tyndall National Institute (concentrating on microsystems, nanotechnology, and photonics.)
But science isn’t the only place where UCC is innovating: the university houses 40 Gateway companies that were started as high-potential start-ups with UCC’s support. With a focus on entrepreneurship, UCC enjoys a graduate employment rate of over 90% with many courses of study including internship and work-study programs (often utilizing the on-campus companies!) Even their Humanities programs put innovation first with its groundbreaking Digital Arts and Humanities degree, which utilizes technologically advanced tools to explore the arts of humanities in new, pioneering ways. (Though, don’t worry, it’s set against Ireland’s rich history—for example, the university’s extensive archival holdings include the Ogham Stones, the earliest known artifact of a written Irish language.)
Alongside the rigorous academics, attendees experience a balanced student life living on a quiet campus in the middle of a bustling, cosmopolitan city (this is another college, like most in Ireland, with a wealth of student-friendly accommodation throughout the city, versus on campus—though there is international student housing.) Cork is the second largest city in Ireland, after Dublin, housing everything from the famed Blarney Castle and Crawford Gallery to jazz festivals and culinary marvels. The campus also strikes a balance between the old and the new: while the Aula Maxima (the “Great Hall”) is original to the school’s 1847 construction, UCC was the first school to be awarded the international Green Flag for its environmental friendliness. This sense of history within positive change creates a close community at University College Cork—from long held superstitions (it’s rumored if you walk across the Aula Maxima’s quad before graduation you risk failing your exams) to over 100 student societies (including a beloved Irish language club,) 50 sports clubs, and innumerable charitable efforts throughout all the various colleges. UCC is undoubtably a place that both holds the past close while looking forward!
Next time, we’re off to yet another part of Ireland: Galway! Check back soon!
This post is part of a series. Read our modern Ireland post, all about romantic movies related to Ireland, here. Check out the blog every Monday and Thursday for more posts about Irish history, dance culture, community news, and spotlights on our dancers, staff, and families—among other fun projects! And don’t forget to dance along with us on both Facebook and Instagram.
Find all of our latest news on our Scoil Rince Luimni Facebook page!