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Irish-India Network at UCC

UCC Special Collections

The Context


University College Cork has a rich series of historical connections with India inherited from the time when, as Queen’s College Cork, it trained civil servants for the colonial administration of the sub-continent. For a variety of historical reasons these connections have not been maintained. Now UCC as a leading research university in the Irish Republic is seeking to re-establish this connection with one of the world’s coming superpowers.

The Archives


The India connection, particularly through early alumni, led to the donation of collections of library, archival and artefactual items here, many of which survive in the collections of the Boole Library, and in the Archives and Curatorial Collections overseen by the University Heritage Office. These collections were presented to the College to inform the education of students and to prepare them for civil, military and naval service. There are many interesting and some spectacular items. They include a delicately painted early nineteenth-century costume-book in Boole Library Special Collections and a 15-foot recumbent polychrome wooden Buddha, possibly 18th-century, neither of which have ever been published or exhibited.



Many Munster families had members who served in a variety of capacities in India , sometimes at very senior levels. Their stories are not being told and the documents and artefacts which illustrate their lives are not being studied or exhibited. As the senior university of Munster, we are the natural focus for the study of their stories.  

Another theme is that of the lives and work of those involved in teaching and the caring professions in the region, both before and since independence from Britain. In Ireland there is very little appreciation of the role of the Irish in these areas. The impact of their work on those they taught, treated or worked with has yet to be examined to any great extent in UCC.  

Another chapter in the Ireland-India story is about Indian families in Ireland. Some of these families are now long-established – and some of their children have undoubtedly studied here at UCC. The experience of these families in Ireland is an Irish story as well as one of emigrants from a far-off land.

The current chapter in the Ireland-South Asia story is about developing academic, business, political and cultural links. Currently there are forty Indian students studying in UCC, their number having grown from ten over the past four years. The majority of these are enrolled in Master’s and PhD programmes in the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science. In the dairy science field in particular important Irish-Indian synergies are being developed. The story goes on…

Proposed activities


This University College Cork network is considering different approaches to the promotion, understanding and development of these neglected links between UCC and the emerging economic powerhouse of South Asia.

Seminars, lectures, research links, connections with institutions and academic associations, exhibitions of archival and artefactual material, and cultural events are all being considered to advance this issue within UCC.



Hiram Morgan, Dept of History, UCC (History)

Michael Holland, Heritage Officer, UCC (Artefacts)

Anita Wilcox, Boole Library, UCC (Culture)

Max McCarthy, Boole Library, UCC (Books & Manuscripts)

Kingshuk Roy Choudhury, Dept of Statistics, UCC (Academic Connections)

Louise Tobin, International Education Office, UCC (Student Recruitment)



UCC Special Collections

Network Directory
International Education Office


We would like to thank Crónán Ó Doibhlin,,Head of Special Collections, Archives and Repository Services, Boole Library, University College Cork for his  assistance and providing the images for this site.  Thanks to Max McCarthy for his encyclopaedic advice and guidance with this project.