Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Educating Rita (or Jane, Joe, or Bob) in Ireland

Ireland's Universities are First Rate
Every now and then, someone from the States asks me about the quality of higher education here. The un-asked question is 'Are Ireland's colleges and universities any good in that my son, daughter, cousin, friend wants to go to school there.' So I go through my usual blather of why I like the place, what I'd do if I were them, and what it is about many Irish colleges and universities that is so special. But hell, I'm biased. I sent my three kids to university in Ireland. What do you think I'd say?

But if you're one of those who is considering coming to Ireland for a year of higher education, let me tell you, this place offers some of the best colleges and universities around. And here's why:

Such a Choice!
Okay, Ireland isn't the United States. We don't have over 300 million people here, so we simply don't need the thousands of colleges and universities that are available in America. Ireland (for those of you who don't know) has a population of about 4 million - but we have an exemplary selection of schools, providing a choice of excellence.

Want to live and learn in Dublin? Then check out Trinity College, University College Dublin (UCD), Dublin City University (DCU) or the National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM). Each has something special to offer.
I'm biased in that I do some guest lecturing at NUIM. That's the university pictured above. It's a great place: a smaller campus, great staff, excellent lecturers (what did you think I'd say?), and some amazing opportunities for those of you who want to find it. There's something about NUIM that is sort of 'like home' - an intimacy that I've not found in a long time.

But the other universities are super too. Go to Trinity and you're on almost hallowed ground. Trinity is proud to display the Book of Kells on a permanent basis. So if you want to see an illustrated manuscript that's hundreds of years old, and get a great education in Ireland's bustling capital, then Trinity is for you.
Outside of Dublin
Want to get out of the Dublin area, explore and live in an area outside the Pale, but still get a wonderful educational experience? Then look into universities in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Belfast. Cork has a great school, UCC (University College Cork). Great academics, and a wonderful place to live. In Galway, try NUI Galway (NUIG). My daughter did her BSc in Marine Science there, and she found it wonderful. Not only is the quality of education great, but Galway offers something special: a small intimate city populated by some incredibly fun people; a gateway to Connemara, and some of the most beautiful parts of Ireland. Go to Galway and you'll participate in some almighty Craic that you'll remember for the rest of your life.

Limerick offers the University of Limerick. This esteemed university is renouned for the quality of its sciences. Or if you desire to go north, check out Queen's University Belfast, a superlative institution, and allowing you to live - and experience - the wonderful life of our Northern Irish cousins.
This, of course, is only a small sampling of what Ireland has to offer. But to answer the question: does Ireland offer some great education? You bet'cha, is all I can say.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tom,

    I have a question about attending University in Ireland. My husband is Irish so our kids have Irish citizenship. We live in California right now but we have talked about them attending college in Ireland. Is there some sort of residency one would have to establish before going there as a citizen? If you don't know, where would I find the answer?