History of the National University of Ireland, Galway
The university opened for teaching in 1849 as Queen's College, Galway with 37 professors and 91 students. A year later it became part of the Queen's University of Ireland. The Irish Universities Act (1908) made this college a constituent college of the new National University of Ireland, and under a new charter the name of the university changed to University College, Galway. It was given special statutory responsibility under the University College, Galway Act (1929) in respect of the use of the Irish language as the working language of the college. It retained the title of University College, Galway until the Universities Act (1997) changed it to theNational University of Ireland, Galway.
Located close to the city centre, it stretches along the River Corrib. The oldest part of the university, the Quadrangle building with itsAula Maxima was designed by John Benjamin Keane; it is a replica of Christ Church, one of the colleges at the University of Oxford. The stone from which it is built was supplied locally.
More modern parts of the university sprang up in the 1970s and were designed by architects Scott Tallon Walker. The 1990s also saw considerable development, including the conversion of an old munitions factory into a student centre. 21st-century developments include a state-of-the-art University Sports Centre (Ionad Spóirt), Áras Moyola, a new Health Science Building, Cairnes School of Business and Public Policy, the new Engineering Building, the BioSciences Research Building, the Life Course Institute and the newly opened Lambe Institute. A new Human Biology Building is under construction at present. The highly toxic substance asbestos was removed from the university grounds on 13 occasions between March 2010 and June 2014.
Fine Gael's youth wing took a hold on the university in 1973 during the Liam Cosgrave-led Fine Gael/Labour Coalition government, with Enda Kenny and Madeleine Taylor-Quinn among those behind its establishment there.
Nelson Mandela made a memorable appearance at the University in 2003. On what was his last visit to Ireland, Mandela condemned U.S. foreign policy and received an honorary doctorate from NUI Chancellor Garret FitzGerald.
In 2008, Éamon Ó Cuív was allegedly involved in an altercation with a protesting student on the grounds of the university. Ó Cuív wasCommunity, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs Minister at the time and would go on to become Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil.
In 2009, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was forced to flee from a public discussion in NUI Galway after being jostled by students opposed to the planned reintroduction of college fees.Shortly afterwards, the University announced its withdrawal of support for the Students' Union-run RAG week. The Students' Union president said she did not believe the decision was justified, with more than €20,000 having been raised for charity in 2009.
NUI Galway has also announced details of plans to make the university a "campus of the future" at a cost of around €400 million. Details of the future plans of the University also show a Human Biology building which will incorporate Anatomy, Physiology and other human sciences areas. It formed a strategic alliance with University of Limerick in 2010, allowing for shared resources. It launched its Strategic Plan "Vision 2020" (for the period 2015–2020) in 2015. NUI Galway has allowed students access their examination papers online in advance.