University College Cork
University College Cork Reviews
May 16, 2007
University College Cork (UCC) is currently home to over 15,500 students from 75 countries around the world. Each and every year, approx. 5,000 students are conferred with degrees by UCC. UCC has been recipient of Irish University of the Year in 2003/2004 and again in 2005/2006, awarded by the Sunday Times. The University receives more research funding than any other University in Ireland, and consequently is one of Ireland's leading research institutions.
The college was established in 1845 and was then known as Queen's University Cork. The College motto is "Where Finbarr Taught, Let Munster Learn", which is in connection with the patron saint of Cork, St. Finbarr. There is an amazing cathedral in Cork named after St. Finbarr, which I highly recommend seeing.
The rich history and tradition of UCC is reflected in the imposing limestone buildings of the Main Quadrangle and the mature grounds. In contrast, UCC also boasts many new buildings and facilities such as the award-winning Lewis Glucksman Gallery.
The main quadrangle ("The Quad") in the college was designed by Thomas Deane and Benjamin Woodward and built between 1847 and 1849 in limestone. The style of this building has been variously referred to as Perpendicular Gothic, Tudor Gothic and Victorian Gothic. The tower clock was installed in 1851 by renowned Cork jeweller and clockmaker, James Mangan.
There is a "Stone Corridor" inside the quad, which boasts impressive and unique inscribed Ogham stones. There are 28 stones here, which is the largest collection on public display in Ireland. The inscriptions are the earliest written source of the Irish language and oldest recordings of Irish personal names. They date back to the mid fifth and late seventh centuries. The Ogham alphabet comprises 20 characters arranged in four groups of five characters each.
The Aula Maxima (Great Hall) is the symbolic heart of the University. It is the venue for many of the formal events such as honorary conferrings, concerts, recitals, banquets, and in my case particularly, end of year exams! The Cork Examiner in 1849 described it as "one of the most magnificent rooms in Ireland". The window on the east wall commemorates the great mathematician, George Boole (1815-1864), the first Professor of Mathematics at UCC, whose algebra became the foundation of modern computer science (programmers will be familiar with "boolean" variables).
The Honan Chapel was opened in 1916 and signified that UCC was at last acceptable to the Catholic bishops. It houses fine examples of the Irish Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century. Today the chapel is commonly used for graduate weddings. In order to get married in the Honan Chapel, BOTH the groom and bride must be UCC graduates (previously only one had to be a graduate) due to the popularity of the chapel.
The Student Centre (Aras Na Mac Leinn) was opened in 1995, and is certainly the most modern structure in the college, featuring an impressive glass facade. This centre is home to various facilities such as bookshop, travel shop, stationery shop, food shop, an information desk, a cafe/restaurant and "The New Bar".
The Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Ireland's newest art space, opened its doors to the public in October 2004. It is named after American financier and philanthropist Lewis Glucsman. It has been described as "the best piece of public architecture in Ireland for decades". It was recently awarded the honour of "Best Public Building in Ireland" by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland.
Situated on the banks of the river Lee, UCC's Mardyke Arena is dedicated to sport, leisure and recreational pursuits of all kinds. It features a full gym, two swimming pools, a steam room, a sauna, 3 full-size sports halls, squash courts, treatment rooms, a cafe and a state of the art climbing wall. The adjacent grounds also provide facilities for rugby, GAA, tennis, cricket, hockey and athletics. The rear of the arena houses a stand for observing the pitches. Each and every student in UCC is a member of the Mardyke Arena and has full access to its facilities.
University College Cork has a long history and features some of Cork's, and indeed Ireland's finest architecture and culture. It is lively during the student season (October to April) and is a must-visit for anyone visiting Cork. Much of this review features facts and information from UCC's own guide to the University, written by Nancy Hawkes. For more information, visit the University web site at www.ucc.ie
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