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.



UNDERGRAD – 12,797, POSTGRAD, 2,977, TOTAL – 15,774

Carysfort Campus in Blackrock is acquired for £8 million, comprising 19 acres.

The first student village opens at Belgrove.

The official opening of phase one of the Engineering Building.

With plans on the horizon since the early 1970s to facilitate the move of the Faculty of Engineering to Belfield, financial restraints caused by the ongoing recession meant that earlier attempts to begin construction were curtailed. The impact the 1973 oil crisis had on construction the world over can be seen in the greatly reduced window surface on the building’s facades. Eventually the “reading room” became the arts cafe and spilled into the courtyard for a cuppa in the sunshine.

The UCD Language Centre is established and commences its English Language Courses for international students and staff.


UCD relinquishes the Iveagh Gardens to The Office of Public Works. The Gardens open to the public full-time and continue to be a significant amenity to the culture of Dublin city.

The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, located on the Blackrock Campus, formally begins classes.


The second student village, Merville, opens at UCD.

The Faculty of Law relocates to Roebuck Castle as it is vacated by graduate business students.

Group ’91, a collective of mostly UCD-based architects (architecture tutors) wins the Temple Bar Framework Plan competition and is awarded the commission to transform Temple Bar into a cultural and residential quarter in Dublin City.


O’Reilly Hall, Belfield’s Aula Maxima and long-awaited ceremonial space, opens.

This was built with the largest philanthropic donation received by UCD to date of IR£2 million from Dr AJF O’Reilly and brought a public theatre and hall space in continuity with Newman House (as Aula Maxima) and Earlsfort Terrace’s great hall.

Dr Art Cosgrove is appointed UCD President (1994-2003).

National Hockey Stadium is constructed adjacent to the Sports Centre in conjunction with the Irish Hockey Union-13.


UCD Press is founded. Their mission is to showcase original and groundbreaking research by publishing the highest quality contemporary non-fiction writing across the academic spectrum, with a special focus on Irish Studies.


Construction begins on the Daedalus Centre. The Governing Body approves the name Áras Daedalus for the building, designed by Scott Tallon Walker. It is a custom-built computer teaching facility, including specially fitted teaching rooms and administrative offices.

College fees are abolished with the introduction of ‘free’ fees for undergraduate courses.


The proposal for the new Student Centre is approved.

The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry, opens in Bilbao. The steel and titanium clad structure becomes a monument for the city attracting world-wide attention.

Nexus UCD, Belfield Office Park opens.

Garret Fitzgerald becomes Chancellor of the National University of Ireland.

The Universities Act (1997) comes into effect by Ministerial order in June. This establishes UCD as a constituent university of the National University of Ireland, with the title National University of Ireland, Dublin. The Act allows for extension to the title and the Governing Body recommends that the title is extended to include the words University College Dublin.

In accordance with the provisions of the Universities Act (1997), the composition of the Governing Body changes, and the new Governing Authority, as it is now known, will consist of forty members with scope for greater representation from students, non-professorial staff and non-academic staff.


The Hannah Sheehy Skeffington Building – The Arts Annexe opens


The Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research opens.

The Computer Science and Informatics Building opens.

The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin are established with Dr Desmond Earley as Director.

Funding is allocated for construction of the Urban Institute and Dublin Molecular Medicine Centre (DMMC).


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