Belfield 50

Join us as we evoke memories of the evolution of the UCD Belfield campus from its inception in the 1960s to the present day, alongside some key events in the history of the University. The exhibition is available to view in person on the external windows of the basement of the UCD Restaurant building.



Student numbers: 5,575 male, 4,174 female, 9,749 total
Academic staff: 676, 288 female, 964 total
Non-academic staff: 701 male, 637 female, 1,338 total

In 1980 the number of male students had climbed to 43%. Part-time degrees were popular with 1,438 students studying by night. Female students tended to concentrate on Arts while male students opted for Commerce.

The Richview Estate and Masonic School is acquired for £2.1 million, including 17.4 acres. It is adapted for use by the Faculty of Architecture by Cathal O’Neill and includes a new building laboratory and workshop.

Construction of Computer Science and Informatics Building begins.

The house at Roebuck Grove is demolished.

College Societies play an important role in expanding students’ horizons into different subject areas.

The International Society for the Study of Medieval Theatre included a productional of the 14th century Dublin Visitatio Sepulcri, performed by Shane Brennan, Martin Cunningham and Roland Purcell. The play was produced by Alan Fletcher of the Department of Old and Middle English and was under the musical direction of Maire Egan of the Music Department. It was recorded for radio and television by RTE.

UCD has a long tradition of supporting postdoctoral training of students from developing countries. The Advanced Inorganic Chemistry for Overseas Students programme is made possible through assistance from the Irish National Commission for UNESCO, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Commission of the European Communities. Students come from Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Congo Brazzaville.

The new Sports Centre opens for use by students.

The purchase of lands at Belfield originally occurred in order to provide sports grounds and so the completion of the much anticipated Sports Centre at Belfield sees this thread of intent come full circle.

The purpose-built structure means that all sports clubs now have a permanent home, enough space and state-of-the-art facilities.


Rosemount Estate (13.75 acres) is purchased, funds for which are raised through the sale of 6.5 acres at Richview.

New buildings at Belfield allowed faculty and students to hold tutorial groups, outside the traditional lecture settings, adding another dimension to learning at the new campus.

As the School of Dentistry was transferred to Trinity College from 1977, the last of the UCD dentistry degrees were conferred in June and December 1981.


A new building for the Department of Computer Science opens.


The Higher Education Authority announces approval for the construction of the second phase of the Library, despite financial restraints.

Plans to construct a new students’ centre are curtailed due to recession thus a new plan for a modest student bar are approved, with the proviso that accommodation can be extended in the future to provide a Students’ Union Building.

The Department of Regional and Urban Planning moves to Richview in October.

A bronze bust of James Joyce, designed by Joe McCaul, is unveiled between the Newman and Tierney Buildings.


The 75th anniversary of UCD in its present form.

Building work commences on Library Phase II.

Construction of the new Engineering Building is paused by request from the Government.

Among the innovations emanating from UCD Engineering is the Timoney ceramic combustion chamber engine.

The Building Laboratory at Richview is completed after previously being delayed due to funding.

UCD AFC wins the FAI Cup allowing them to qualify for the European Cup Winner’s Cup.

Andrzej Wejchert wins the Irish context award from An Taisce for the UCD Sports Centre.

A fire in the lower ground floor of the Newman Building causes considerable damage to both property and possessions to the amount of £200,000.


Construction commences on phase one of the Engineering Building, designed by Ronnie Tallon of Scott Tallon Walker.

An additional 11 acres are acquired at Roebuck Castle for £800,000 from the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The Old Bar (Building 71), designed by Freddie Fitzpatrick, UCD Architect, opens.

Rosemount House is demolished after its purchase the previous year.

The UCD Association was established to encourage closer communication between UCD and its alumni. This would be a vital step in establishing the extensive present community of UCD alumni.

The ever-popular Arts courses at UCD are over-subscribed and students are turned away due to lack of space.

The University Industry Centre, designed to connect industry with UCD research, is completed. Ronnie Tallon of STW worked with Professor John Kelly to make this clever triangular building.


In August, sporting history is made at Belfield Four Irish runners, Eamonn Coghlan, Marcus O’Sullivan, Frank O’Mara and Ray Flynn set the world outdoor record for the 4 x 1 mile relay in a time of 15:49:08 at the Belfield running track, a record which still stands.

Roebuck Castle on 10 acres is acquired for £620,000 and adapted for teaching.

Dr. Patrick Masterson is appointed UCD President (1986-1993).

The Department of Horticulture moves from St Catherine’s Lucan to Belfield.

The College Creche opens at Rosemount.


Phase two of the Library Building is completed.

The UCD Archives Department moves to Belfield from St Stephen’s Green.


An extension to the Ardmore Industrial Microbiology building is completed providing 60 undergraduate laboratory spaces.

The Deans of Residence building (St Stephen’s Chaplaincy), designed by Cathal O’Neill Architects, opens.


The Roebuck Castle student residence opens, adapted for residential use by Cathal O’Neill Architects.

Phase one of the Engineering building is complete.


Please click on the next timeline boxes to see the timeline history