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Famous alumni from Ireland’s universities

Ireland’s universities have produced some acclaimed alumni, from writers and prime ministers to lawyers and physicists. We find out where and what these famous faces studied.

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When you’re planning to study abroad, it’s usual to be curious about well-known figures who studied at your prospective university. These famous alumni can provide you with inspiration and motivation for your academic journey. They can also give you some idea of where certain degrees and qualifications can lead you in your career. We discover the renowned names and faces who have studied in Ireland.

 

Trinity College Dublin 

 

Trinity College Dublin is rated by the QS World University Rankings 2022 (QS) as Ireland’s top university and one of the top 150 institutions in the world. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022 (THE) rate the university similarly as the top institution in Ireland. Based in the capital of the country Dublin, the university has a 429-year history with approximately 17,000 students from over 122 countries.

 

Samuel Beckett

 

Samuel Beckett is one of Ireland’s most famous writers and poets. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969, and his most well-known work is the play Waiting for Godot. Beckett called Trinity College home between 1923 and 1927 as he studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree in French, Italian and English. He then embarked on a distinguished career as a writer, academic, poet, playwright, and literary translator.

 

Bram Stoker

You’re likely familiar with the creatures of folklore, vampires. You’d also know that the most famous vampire of all was Dracula. The character was the brainchild of Trinity College alumnus and author Bram Stoker. He attended the university between 1864 and 1870 earning a Bachelor of Arts, returning in 1875 to pursue his Master of Arts degree.

 

Mary Robinson

 

Mary Robinson was the seventh president of Ireland and the first woman to hold this post in Ireland’s history. Robinson was also the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for five years. She studied law at Trinity College and graduated with a first-class degree in 1967. She went on to study for her LLM degree at the prestigious Ivy League institution, Harvard University.

 

Explore the top universities in Ireland.

 

University College Dublin

 

University College Dublin (UCD) rates as one of the top universities in Ireland. QS 2022 place the institution at number two in Ireland and as a top 200 university globally. On the THE World University Rankings 2022 rate the university in the best 250 worldwide. Founded in 1854, the university has an international student community making up 29 per cent of all students, and over 30 per cent of staff are from international backgrounds.

 

James Joyce

If you know your literature, you’ll know the name, James Joyce. Joyce was a world-renowned writer, literary critic, and poet. He penned modern classics such as Ulysses.  Joyce is credited for developing the literary writing style known as stream of consciousness. He was a student at UCD from 1898 to 1902, where he studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, French and Italian.

 

Maeve Binchy

 

UCD is no stranger to famous authors. One of Ireland’s most successful novelists of modern times, Maeve Binchy, studied at UCD. Binchy was a New York Times bestselling author, selling more than 40 million books worldwide, translated into more than 37 languages. Binchy studied for a degree in history at UCD and worked for a short time as a teacher and journalist before becoming a full-time writer.

 

Find out what you need to know about studying in Ireland.

 

University College Cork 

 

Located in the city of Cork in the southeast of Ireland, University College Cork (UCC) hosts over 4,000 international students from over 100 countries. The university is viewed favourably by both QS and THE, who place UCC in the world’s top 300 universities. The university holds the distinction of being awarded Green Flag Status for its sustainability and environmental practices.

 

Micheál Martin

 

Micheál Martin is the current leader of Ireland, having taken up the position of Taoiseach (Prime Minister) in 2020. He has also served as Ireland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister for Health and Children, and Minister of Education and Science. Martin is a graduate of UCC, holding both a BA and MA from the institution. 

 

Seamus Davies

 

Seamus Davies is an acclaimed physicist who is an Emeritus Professor at Cornell University and currently works as a professor at the University of Oxford. Davies’ ground-breaking research focuses on macroscopic quantum physics, and he is the winner of numerous science prizes and awards. Davies first studied towards a BSc at UCC in the early 1980s. After graduating, he went on to the University of California, Berkeley for his PhD.

 

Wondering what the student accommodation is like in Ireland?

 

National University of Ireland, Galway

 

A world top 300 university (QS) and home to 18,000 students, the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) is known for its research and comprehensive degree offering. The university has 60 undergraduate qualifications based across four colleges, covering everything from medicine to English. The city of Galway holds the distinction of being voted as one of the top five cities in the world by Lonely Planet.

 

Mathilda Twomey

 

Mathilda Twomey was the first woman to be appointed as a judge in the Seychelles. She is also the first woman named as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the country. Twomey is both a lawyer and academic, with a specialisation in law. She is truly an international student having studied in France, England and then for her master’s degree and PhD at NUI Galway.

 

Likando Kalaluka

 

A graduate of NUI Galway LLM, Likando Kalaluka is a Zambian lawyer, legal practitioner, and Attorney General for the Zambian government. Kalaluka also worked as the CEO of the Law Association of Zambia and litigated many prominent legal cases in the country.

 

As you can see, universities in Ireland have helped nurture some prominent figures over the years. Seeing this, you may want to consider Ireland as your study destination. We’ve got some other guides you’ll find useful, including Ireland’s top student citieswhat Ireland offers international students and the top scholarships in Ireland.