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Trinity College

The oldest university in Ireland, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I,Trinity College Dublin is has played a vital role in the history of Dublin and Ireland down through the years.

Trinity has not always been at the heart of the city. In fact at its foundation in 1592, it was located outside the city walls. The site was once All Hallows monastery, which had fallen to abandon and disrepair. When a small group of Dublin citizens obtained a Charter from Queen Elizabeth to found a University, the City Corporation granted them the land and its buildings.

In the late seventeenth century, Ireland entered a period of great turmoil, which naturally disrupted the life of the burgeoning college. In the early 1640's the provost was forced to flee and the fellows were expelled by the commonwealth authorities soon afterwards. Again in 1689 all of the fellows were expelled and their students with them, and the college was converted into a barracks for James II's soldiers.

The eighteenth century was a relatively peaceful one, and being a protestant university at the time, Trinity was well seen, and assisted by the parliament across the road. University during this time was rightly proud of the rigorous standards it set for students and fellows alike The majority of Ireland's finest sons of the eighteenth century were graduates of Trinity: Jonathan Swift, George Berkeley, Edmund Burke, Oliver Goldsmith, Henry Grattan, Wolfe Tone...

This was a time of building for the college, with the library being begun in 1712, then later the Printing House, the Dining Hall, then Parliament Square and Botany Bay. It was late in that century that, in common with Oxford and Cambridge, the college relaxed its religious exclusivity, allowing Roman Catholics to enter as far back as 1792.

The nineteenth century was a time of academic reform, instigated by Provost Bartholomew Lloyd. As well as the generalist Bachelor of Arts programme, the curriculum was extended to provide moderatorships, or honors programmes. The first of these programmes were in Mathematics, Ethics and Logics, and Classics. Natural and Experimental Sciences would follow some years later.

Throughout the twentieth century, the college continued to grow, despite financial troubles arising from Ireland's newfound independence from the British crown. The college admitted its first women students in 1904, and ten years later women made up 16% of the student body. Women's contributions continued to grow from that early day.

Without contest, the period of greatest growth for Trinity College has been the past 65 years. From 1,500 in 1939, student numbers at the college grew to 13,700 by the end of the twentieth century, with students traveling from 70 countries around the world to attend.