Queen’s University Belfast, officially The Queen’s University of Belfast (also known as “Queen’s”, “Queen’s University” and “QUB”), is a public research university in Belfast and one of two universities in Northern Ireland (the other being Ulster).
The university received its charter in 1845 as “Queen’s College, Belfast” and opened four years later. It was simultaneously founded with Queen’s College, Cork, and Queen’s College, Galway, as part of the Queen’s University of Ireland – founded to encourage higher education for Catholics and Presbyterians, as a counterpart to Trinity College, Dublin, then an almost exclusively Anglican institution.
The Irish Universities Act, 1908 dissolved the Royal University of Ireland, which had replaced the Queen’s University of Ireland in 1879, and created two separate universities: the current National University of Ireland and Queen’s University of Belfast.
Its main building, the Lanyon Building, was designed by the English-born architect, Sir Charles Lanyon. The building is an outstanding example of Tudor-Gothic architecture and of early Victorian architectural achievement in Ulster.
Victorian architects often used historical associations to create authority and presence. Lanyon used this style to reflect the medieval foundations of ancient universities such as Oxford and Cambridge that aimed to provide an appropriate reference for new seat of learning with high ambitions.
The building is built in mellow, patterned brick with stone trim on the buttresses and parapets and diamond-paned windows. The long front façade is boldly massed, sculptural and has a wealth of architectural detail.
At its opening, it had 23 professors and 195 students. Today, it has around 4,000 staff and 24,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Alumni have included politician Arlene Foster, actor Liam Neeson, poet Seamus Heaney and Irish president Mary McAleese.
FOR MORE INFORMATION on guided walking tours around Belfast visit this page.