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Catholic University of Ireland

Catholic University of Ireland. Though from 1793 catholics could take degrees at Trinity College, Dublin, few chose to do so, and in 1844 Peel proposed the establishment of undenominational colleges at Cork, Belfast, and Galway. The Irish catholic community split in response but the majority condemned them as godless, and the Synod of Thurles in 1850 warned catholics not to attend. Archbishop Cullen then presided over a committee to set up a catholic university. Newman was installed as rector and the lectures he gave in Dublin formed the basis of his Idea of a University. The Catholic University opened in 1854 with twenty students but could make little progress without government assistance. It gained some help from the Royal University, set up in 1880 as an examining and funding body, which financed some fellowships. Augustine Birrell, chief secretary in the Liberal administration of 1906, introduced the major reconstruction of 1908, which established the National University, with component colleges at Dublin, Cork, and Galway. Though formally undenominational, it was under catholic control. Queen's College, Belfast, was given university status at the same time.

J. A. Cannon

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