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National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland


NUI Galway (Irish OÉ Gaillimh) is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland. It is located in Ireland's westerly city of Galway. A tertiary-level educational institution, it is ranked among the top 2 per cent of universities in the world.[2]

The university was founded in 1845 as Queen's College, Galway, and was more recently known as University College, Galway (UCG) (Irish: Coláiste na hOllscoile, Gaillimh or COG). Alumni include the incumbent Taoiseach and President of Ireland, Enda Kenny and Michael D. Higgins respectively, as well as numerous other prominent politicians. Other leading figures in Irish official life to have been educated here include Attorney General Máire Whelan and Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy.

NUI Galway is a member of the Coimbra Group, a network of 40 long-established European universities.

Service-Learning at NUI Galway

Service Learning is a pedagogical tool that encourages students to learn and explore issues vital to society inside and outside the classroom and instil in students a sense of social responsibility and civic awareness.

Over 1400 NUI Galway students learn through service learning each academic year through their participation with over 500 community partners.

These students connect theory to practice within the community sector, in over 60 academic modules that are led and supported by NUI Galway lecturers and community partners.

Co-Director and National Coordinator

  • Lorraine Mc Ilrath


Since 2004 Lorraine McIlrath has coordinated the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at the National University of Ireland Galway. There she is responsible for developing and supporting civic engagement activities across the university, with the CKI team, including service learning and student volunteering.

She is Principal Investigator (PI) of Campus Engage, a national Irish network to support civic engagement within higher education in Ireland. Since 2010, she has been a member partner in a nine university EU Tempus Funded Project to support the introduction of service learning to five universities in Jordan and Lebanon entitled the Tawasol Project.

She spent the previous ten years in Northern Ireland where she pursued postgraduate studies exploring the role of the media in contested societies. After which she became a Lecturer at the University of Ulster's UNESCO Centre. Primarily she taught courses on the Northern Ireland conflict and peace process which underpinned service learning. In addition, she was worked on the development of the Northern Ireland curricula framework for ‘Local and Global Citizenship' in partnership with the Citizenship Foundation, UNESCO Centre and CCEA and published a "Resource Directory" (2002) for all schools in Northern Ireland.

She has consulted for the British Council in Russia - supporting the development of the College for Multicultural Education in Sochi on the Black Sea - and the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) in the US - as Programme Director in Northern Ireland.

Lorraine has published on the broad theme of civic engagement and higher education in books and journals and is coeditor of the recently published Mapping Civic Engagement within Higher Education in Ireland [All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE) and Campus Engage 2009] and codirected and coauthored a national survey of civic engagement within higher education in Ireland (Campus Engage 2011). Her most recent book entitled Civic Engagement and Higher Education - Comparative Perspectives was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012. She is peer reviewer on a number of higher education journals and reviews a number of university civic engagement awards including the MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship.

The Team

  • Ann Lyons
  • Lorraine Tansey
  • Geraldine Marley

National Networks/Research Groups

Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI)

Institute For Lifecourse And Society