Queen's University, Belfast, was founded as Queen's College, Belfast, under Sir Robert Peel's Colleges Act (1845): in common with the two other colleges created by the Act (at Cork and Galway), Queen's Belfast first admitted students in 1849. The colleges were at first constituent parts of the Queen's University in Ireland (1850), and later, alongside University College, Dublin, more loosely associated with a new Royal University of Ireland (1880). The Irish Universities Act (1908) created both a National University of Ireland (binding the colleges of Cork, Galway, and Dublin) and a new Queen's University of Belfast out of the former Queen's College. Since 1908 the social character of the university has been transformed: once a small and largely presbyterian body (the college had only 195 students in the session 1849–50), Queen's now reflects, if still inadequately, the increasing political and economic strength of the catholic community in Northern Ireland.
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