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.



STUDENTS – UNDERGRAD – 17,330, POSTGRAD – 6,895, TOTAL – 24,225

STAFF – ACADEMIC – 1,833, NON ACADEMIC – 1,615, TOTAL – 3,448


The construction of phase two of the Roebuck Residence, designed by Kavanagh Tuite, is completed.

UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady launches the University’s Strategic Plan to 2014 – Forming Global Minds.

The development of the Boundary Woodland Walks network which weaves through the various woodlands opened up sections of the campus which had hitherto been little used and promoted greater awareness of the wide range of biodiversity present on campus.


UCD forms strategic alliances with recognised colleges of the NUI, National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and the Institute of Public Administration (IPA).

The UCD Global Lounge in the basement of the UCD Restaurant building opens.

Phase one of the UCD Science Centre (Science Centre South), designed by RKD, is completed and opened by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD. As one of the key science developments in Ireland, this is an endorsement of those who research, innovate and teach science and applied sciences at UCD.

The UCD Charles Institute, designed by RKD, is completed.

76 years after its original installation in Earlsfort Terrace, the stained glass window commemorating the life of medical student, Kevin Barry, an IRA volunteer who was executed by the British Army during the War of Independence, was unveiled in its new location in the UCD Charles Institute. The window, designed by Richard King of the Harry Clarke Studio, was funded by medical graduates and commissioned in 1932. The relocation of this historic artwork marks the final stage of UCD’s move from Earlsfort Terrace to Belfield.


Phase two of the new Student Centre, designed by Fitzgerald Kavanagh & Partners, is completed forming a focus for social, creative and sporting activity on campus. The state-of-the-art facility, funded in large part by students, will cater for a diverse range of learning and leisure activities, forming an integral part of the University’s vision.

UCD Ad Astra Academy established. The unique opportunities provided by Ad Astra are divided into three streamlines for gifted students: the UCD Ad Astra Academic Scholars, the UCD Ad Astra Elite Athletic Scholars , and the UCD Ad Astra Performing Arts Scholars.

Phase two of UCD Science Centre (Science Centre East), designed by RKD, is completed.

The Systems Biology Ireland Building, designed by RKD, is completed.

SBI combines the power of computers and modern biology to understand diseases such as cancer and develops diagnostics and therapies that are tailored to the individual patient.

UCD signs a contract to establish Beijing-Dublin International College (BDIC) in partnership with Beijing University of Technology.

During his first official visit to Ireland, Mr Xi Jinping, Vice-President of People’s Republic of China, along with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, witnessed the historic contract signing to establish the first international university in the Chinese capital.


Construction of UCD Sutherland School of Law, designed by Moloney O’Beirne, is completed. This is the first purpose-built law school in the country since 1816. It is located at the southern end of the campus spine as imagined by Wejchert. A donation of €4 million by UCD alumnus Peter Sutherland in 2006 led to the realisation of the project with further support from more than 100 donors. The iconic facility, which measures over 5,100 square metres, is located on the edge of a newly designed and landscaped lakeside setting. It brings together the teaching, research and professional development activity of the Law School into a single building.

The new colour and design for UCD graduation robes were worn for the first time. The robes are in St Patrick’s blue and saffron, the traditional sporting colours of the University dating back to 1910.


Professor Andrew J Deeks is appointed UCD President (2014-present).

UCD opens First Global Centre in Beijing. During her visit to China the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD announced details of UCD’s global engagement strategy which sees the opening of global centres in China, India, Malaysia and the United States. The UCD Beijing global centre is co-located in the premises with the Irish Embassy and Enterprise Ireland. Its purpose is to provide a focal point for education, for alumni, for research and academic collaboration, and for trade and intercultural exchange.

Professor Mary E Daly is elected as the 55th and first female president of Ireland’s leading academic institution, the Royal Irish Academy.


UCD launches its Strategic Plan 2015-2020.

The new UCD strategy aims to position UCD within the top ten universities in the world in terms of global engagement.

An academic restructure results in six Colleges and 37 Schools. The Colleges are:

  • UCD College of Arts and Humanities
  • UCD College of Engineering and Architecture
  • UCD College of Science
  • UCD College of Business
  • UCD College of Health and Agricultural Sciences
  • UCD College of Social Sciences and Law

UCD Decade of Centenaries programme is launched. The programme is designed to inform national debate and understanding of the period from 1912 to 1923 and to profile the many unique papers, documents and photographs held by UCD.

Award winning UTEC University Campus, Lima Peru, designed by Grafton Architects opens, its mass concrete construction mimicking surrounding geological formations.


Ashfield Student Residences, designed by MCA Architects, opens. This 354 bedroom residence increases campus accommodation to 3,170 bedrooms.

The Rose Garden, adjacent to Belfield House, is made into a commemorative garden in remembrance of the six students killed and seven seriously injured in the Berkeley California balcony collapse accident on 16 June and to all students who have died while attending UCD. They lived and laughed and loved and left.

‘Thaw’ is commissioned to commemorate the anniversary of the 1916 Rising. The concept of commissioning a contemporary work of art in glass was inspired by the Kevin Barry Window. It was decided that a glass art work reflective of the modern world would be most appropriate to inspire current and future UCD students in the spirit of the 1916 proclamation.

Signatories, a play of monologues with eight Irish authors, all UCD alumni, each taking a signatory of the Proclamation and also Elizabeth O’Farrell, the nurse who carried Pearse’s orders, was performed at the historic Kilmainham Gaol and a number of Dublin venues. UCD Press published the associated book, a legacy to future generations of students. The legacy of 1916 was also celebrated with a series of supplements in the Irish Independent.

The inaugural UCD Festival is held in June, welcoming alumni, staff, students and friends to campus. Over 100 events entertained and informed the 6,500 visitors.

The Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, designed by Hertzog and De Meuron opens, seven years later than planned.


The UCD Confucius Institute, designed by Robin Lee Architecture is under construction.

The Confucius Institute for Ireland was the organisation’s first purpose-designed building and as such, it was pioneering from the outset. With no template, the architect, Robin Lee Architecture sought to make an evocative setting where Chinese and Western cultures would meet.

Total student numbers: 29,560
Postgraduate: 9,912
Undergraduate: 19,648

Total staff numbers: 4,142
Academic: 2,127
Non-Academic: 2,015

UCD announces an architectural competition for the design of a new gateway to the campus, including a new creative centre.


UCD announces Steven Holl Architects as winners of the Future Campus Competition.

The Gateway Project is part of the future development of the Belfield campus with a focus on the area alongside Stillorgan Road and a re-imagination of the main entrance to UCD. The flagship building will be the Centre for Creativity, partly inspired by the Giant’s Causeway. It will house the School of Architecture as the Richview site is set to be sold.

Theme 1. Creating a Sustainable Global Society
Theme 3. Building a Healthy World
Theme 2. Transforming through Digital Technology
Theme 4. Empowering Humanity

UCD President, Professor Andew Deeks launches the University’s strategy to 2024;
Rising to the Future – which sets out four strategic themes that will shape research, influence teaching and learning, and impact on the way the University behaves and functions as a community and as an institution.

The founder of the Catholic University (1854), Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890) is canonised at a ceremony in Rome.

The Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) opens in the Aula Maxima of Newman House on St Stephen’s Green. Celebrating Ireland’s rich literary heritage MoLI is a partnership between UCD and the National Library of Ireland, supported by The Naughton Foundation and Fáilte Ireland. It is set inside UCD Newman House, the original home of UCD and where noted Irish writers like James Joyce, Maeve Binchy, and Kate O’Brien formerly studied. Named for the character Molly Bloom in Joyce’s Ulysses, the museum hosts a range of literary treasures from Ireland’s rich writing tradition.

UCD Governing Authority announces the appointment of Marie O’Connor as Chair for a five-year term. This is the first time in its 165- year history that the University has appointed a woman to this role.

The UCD Moore Centre for Business, designed by RKD, opens, adjacent to the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business. It features a range of new facilities to enable business students to tackle complex ideas through the latest advances in learning technology. Integrating fully with the Quinn School across three levels, the expansive wing includes interactive learning hubs, a 320-seat lecture theatre, and extensive co-working zones designed to mimic those in start-ups and innovation hubs. The Centre is opened by founding donor and business leader Angela Moore to honour the legacy of her late husband, entrepreneur, philanthropist and UCD alumnus Dr George G Moore.

The University Club, designed by Scott Tallon Walker, opens.

The University Club provides a space where the University community can meet together socially and professionally, and where hospitality is available to visiting faculty, alumni and partners of the University. Encompassing O’Reilly Hall, the Club provides a venue for meetings, conferences, dinners and receptions.

An extension to Merville House (East Courtyard – NovaUCD), designed by Kavanagh Tuite, is completed.

A Georgian villa dating from 1750, Merville House was previously home to a riding school before its acquisition by UCD. Its first integration into life at Belfield saw the building house biotechnology laboratories until the Conway Institute was founded, leaving the building open for new development. Its refurbishment was overseen by Kavanagh Tuite Architects and it is now home to the UCD Innovation Centre.

An extension to Ardmore House, designed by RKD, is completed.

Work begins on Future Campus 2020 through the development of Residences by Reddy A+U.

With the southern portion of the Belfield Campus earmarked for the development of a new quarter for student residences, Reddy A+U have developed a masterplan for its realisation. This will see residential accommodation on the campus grow by 3,000 units. This newly created precinct is set to provide sustainable, modern living to thousands of students each year at Belfield.

Work begins on the development of the Centre for Creativity, designed by Steven Holl Architects.

Work continues on the development of the Centre for Future Learning by RKD.

Work begins on the development of a new Athletics Track adjacent to Clonskeagh Road, designed by Heneghan Peng Architects.

A new strain of Coronavirus, COVID-19, impacts around the world as many countries are thrown into lockdown while health services battle against the virus. A nationwide lockdown begins in March, impacting educational institutions, business and entertainment. Teaching and Assessment for the remainder of the trimester moves online. Summer exams at the RDS are cancelled.

The university launches Belfield 50, celebrating 50 years of UCD at the Belfield campus. This exhibition, a photographic exhibition in the space between the Newman and Tierney buildings, and a book ‘Making Belfield’ are some of the components of the celebration.


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