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Maynooth University (MU), is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland in Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland. It is Ireland’s youngest university as it was founded by the Universities Act, 1997 from the secular faculties of the now separate St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, which was founded in 1795. It is also the only university town in Ireland, all other universities being based within cities.
The university consists of two connected campuses: an older southern campus, with 19th-century buildings, shared with St Patrick’s College, and a modern northern campus, occupying about 100 acres.
The university and St Patrick’s College, Maynooth have a common history from 1795 to 1997. The college in Maynooth was established by the government as a college for Catholic lay and ecclesiastical students in 1795. It functioned solely as a Catholic seminary for almost 150 years, until later becoming a recognized constituent college of the National University of Ireland in 1910.
In 1966 the college again allowed the entry of lay students; this greatly expanded the student body and essentially set the foundation stone for Maynooth University. In 1997 the Universities Act resulted in the transfer of the faculties of arts, Celtic studies, philosophy and science of the recognized college of St Patrick’s College to the new university. The university has also expanded into finance and engineering since its creation in 1997.
With over 13,000 students enrolled, and over 900 staff from over 20 different countries, Maynooth is Ireland’s smallest, yet fastest growing, university. In 2011, it became the first and only institution outside of North America to be included in The Princeton Review of Best Colleges.
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