The University was founded in 1845 as Queen’s College Galway. It was one of the three Queen’s Colleges founded under the Queen’s Colleges (Ireland) Act, 1845, the others being located in Belfast and Cork. The College opened for students on 30th October 1849.By the Irish Universities Act (1908), Queen’s College Galway became a Constituent College of the new National University of Ireland, and under a new Charter the name of the College was changed to University College, Galway.
In 1929, the College was given a special statutory responsibility under the University College Galway Act in respect of the use of the Irish language as a working language in the College.
Under the Universities Act, 1997, University College, Galway was reconstituted as a University, under the name of Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh / National University of Ireland, Galway, and became a Constituent University of the National University of Ireland (together with NUI Dublin, NUI Cork and NUI Maynooth).
Since the 1960’s the University has experienced significant and continuous growth, both in its stock of buildings, facilities and physical resources and also in the numbers of its students and staff. Its total student enrolment during 2003/2004 academic year was about 14,500 (including students from over 40 countries), with academically strong programmes of teaching and research throughout its seven Faculties, namley Arts, Science, Commerce, Engineering, Celtic Studies, Medicine & Health Sciences, and Law.
Galway City of the Tribes
Galway was founded in the 13th century by the Anglo-Norman de Burgos as a medieval settlement on the eastern bank of the River Corrib. It became a walled and fortified city state ruled by fourteen powerful merchant families, later known as the “Tribes of Galway”. Today the city is a vibrant, bustling centre of the arts and commerce, though it still retains a relaxed and intimate atmosphere. Galway is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The city, with its medieval streets, waterways, extensive range of shopping facilities, wealth of music sessions and other cultural events, is a place to be treasured. The seaside town of Salthill, a Galway suburb, is a renowned summer resort. Its fine beaches open directly onto spectacular Galway Bay. Galway’s numerous annual festivals and celebrations – among them the ‘C™irt’ International Festival of Literature, the Galway Arts Festival, the Galway Races and the Oyster Festival – are famous throughout Ireland and beyond. Galwegians can justly claim a quality of life that is surpassed nowhere in the world.
Being a university city, Galway is a lively energetic place throughout the year. The University, situated close to the heart of Galway, enjoys an intimate relationship with the city and during the academic year, 15% of the population of the city are students. A compact, thriving city, Galway caters to youth like few other places can. The University’s graduates have played a pivotal role in all areas of the development of Galway, including the arts, industry and commerce.