Galway University, or, more correctly NUI Galway (Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh or OÉ Gaillimh in Irish), is a constituent, along with University College Dublin, University College Cork (which I visited last October) NUI Maynooth and a number of smaller colleges, of the National University of Ireland. It was founded in 1849 as Queen’s College – one of three Queen’s Colleges in Ireland, the others located in Cork and Belfast. It was renamed University College Galway in 1908 and became NUI Galway in 1997.
It grew rapidly in the 1970’s and 1990’s, with new buildings constructed along the banks of the river River Corrib close to the city centre. Today it’s one of the leading Universities in Ireland.
My main reason for visiting Galway was to lead a half day workshop for students studying occupational health and hygiene courses, but afterwards I had time to take a look around the campus.
The oldest part of the University is the Quadrangle, which was opened on 30th October 1849. It’s built of local limestone in a Tudor Gothic architectural style and is modelled on Christ Church College at the University of Oxford.
Thenewest building is the Engineering Building , designed by Taylor Architects/RMJM, which was voted Ireland’s favourite new building as the Public Choice in the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2012.
The building includes undergraduate and postgraduate facilities for over 1,100 students with state-of-the-art engineering laboratories, research facilities, workshops, computer suites, lecture rooms & teaching tools. It has been designed with the environment in mind with large scale rainwater harvesting, a biomass boiler, low-embodied energy materials such as zinc, novel voided slab systems, grass roofs for water attenuation, heat exchangers and many other cutting-edge technologies. Particularly appropriate as the University offers a degree in a degree in Energy Systems Engineering.
There are a number of art works in the grounds. There’s also a Geological museum, and a Zoology and Marine Biology Museum and they host temporary art exhibitions. Time preluded me from visiting them unfortunately.