Top universities in Ireland | Top Universities
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Top universities in Ireland

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Holly Hemmings

Updated Sep 25, 2023
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Ireland is home to eight universities in the QS World University Rankings, six of which can be found in the top 500. 

The rankings are based on a methodology which assesses the university on nine indicators including its academic and employer reputations, research impact, sustainability and more. 

Read on to discover the country’s eight top universities. 

QS World University Rankings – Best universities in Ireland 

Irish rank 

Global rank 

University 

=81 

Trinity College Dublin 

=171 

University College Dublin 

289 

University of Galway 

=292 

University College Cork 

426 

University of Limerick 

436 

Dublin City University 

801-850 

Maynooth University 

851-900 

Technological University of Dublin 

8. Technological University of Dublin

Technological University of Dublin

Image: William Murphy on Flickr

Kicking off our list of the best universities in Ireland is the Technological University of Dublin (TU Dublin), ranked 851-900 globally. TU Dublin is one of Ireland’s first technological universities, founded in 2019. The school specialises in STEM fields. 

Technological University of Dublin is incredibly diverse with over 28,000 students of over 140 different nationalities. It has five campuses in total: three within the city of Dublin and two more located in the nearby areas of Blanchardstown and Tallaght. 

7. Maynooth University

Maynooth University

In seventh place in Ireland and 801-850 in the world rankings is Maynooth University, which was originally established as an autonomous university in 1997 but traces its origins back to the foundation of The Royal College of Saint Patrick in 1795. 

Today, the school teaches over 15,000 students from over 100 countries. It is incredibly internationally focused, offering a wide range of international programmes and partnerships. It earns its highest score this year in the international faculty indicator, ranking fifth in Ireland and 187th overall. 

6. Dublin City University (DCU)

Dublin City University

Dublin City University is within the top 500 universities globally, ranked 436th, as well as being sixth in the Irish rankings. Dublin City University was founded in 1975 and has five campuses, three academic, one innovation campus and one dedicated solely to sports, all within 2.5km of each other. 

Dublin City University is focused on increasing students’ employability and building transferable skills. It was Ireland’s first higher education institution to integrate workplace internships into its undergraduate courses. It may also be noted that, this year, Dublin City University received a particularly high score in the sustainability indicator, ranking third in Ireland and joint 137th worldwide. 

5. University of Limerick (UL)

University of Limerick

Image: Kilkenny Limestone on Flickr

The University of Limerick ranks 426th globally this year and fifth in Ireland. Located on the west coast, along the River Shannon, the University of Limerick enjoys unspoilt natural surroundings. 

The University of Limerick also has strong links to business and industry and, as a result, its graduates experience a 15 percent higher employment rate than the national average. The school pioneered the concept of Cooperative Education in Ireland and places over 2,000 of its students in paid work experience placements, 30 percent of which are located abroad. 

4. University College Cork (UCC)

University College Cork

University College Cork ranks fourth in Ireland and joint 292nd in the world. It is significantly older than some of the other Irish universities featured in the rankings thus far, having been founded in 1849. It now has a student population of over 20,000. 

University College Cork has scored particularly highly this year in the sustainability indicator. The rankings name it the most sustainable university in Ireland and the 46th most sustainable in the world. This is due to the introduction of its Green Campus Programme, led by students, to increase sustainability and environmentalism across their teaching, research, and outreach.  

In 2020 it received a green flag from the Foundation for Environmental Education which it has maintained for the last four years. 

3. National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG)

National University of Ireland, Galway

Ranked third in Ireland and 289th overall is the University of Galway. Despite dropping 19 places in the world rankings this year, it scored particularly highly for its international faculty ratio, where it’s ranked fourth in Ireland and 170th overall. 

The University of Galway was founded in 1845. Since then, it has grown massively in both size and reputation, now having a student population of over 18,000. The University of Galway offers an extensive list of both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as part-time degrees, flexible learning and online learning options. It also places a focus on the employability of its graduates with 96 percent working or in further education six months after graduating. 

2. University College Dublin (UCD)

University College Dublin

In joint 171st place in the world rankings and second place in Ireland is University College Dublin. It teaches over 38,000 students including over 10,000 international students from 144 different countries. 

The school earns one of Ireland’s best scores for academic reputation, beaten by only one other university while also ranking 162nd in the world for this indicator. University College Dublin’s flexible curriculum and research-led learning taught by top academic staff mean that students graduate with an internationally accredited degree from a university which is within the top one percent of institutions worldwide. 

1. Trinity College Dublin (TCD)

Trinity College Dublin (TCD)

Trinity College Dublin once again takes the title of the best university in Ireland, as well as being ranked within the top 100 universities in the world. It did well across all indicators and ranked the best in Ireland for academic reputation, international research network and employment outcomes.  

Founded in 1592, the university is steeped in history with a reputation for excellence in education, research, and innovation. It is the only Irish member of the prestigious League of European Research Universities and boasts an impressive list of alumni including writers Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, scientists William Rowan Hamilton and Earnest Walton and political thinker Edmund Burke. 

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