10 Famous Alumni of Trinity College Dublin


Famous Trinity College Dublin Alumni

Last updated: 14 February 2024 Best Universities in Ireland

Founded in 1592, Trinity College Dublin is one of Ireland's most distinguished and globally recognised higher education institutions. Over the centuries, it has consistently maintained its position among the world's top universities, earning a reputation for academic excellence and innovation. 

Today, Trinity College Dublin boasts a diverse student body of over 18,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students from around the globe. However, it's not just the institution that commands respect and admiration; it's also the illustrious alumni it has produced.

Trinity College Dublin has nurtured some of the finest minds in history, from literature and philosophy to science, media, music, and political science. Learn more about some of them below, and if you would like to study in Ireland, contact SI-Ireland today.

trinity college dublin alumni

10 Famous Alumni of Trinity College Dublin

Oscar Wilde

One of the most celebrated figures in literature, Oscar Wilde, graced Trinity College Dublin with his presence from 1871 to 1874. During his tenure at the university, Wilde studied classics, and it was here that he laid the intellectual foundation for his future literary masterpieces. 

Wilde's time at Trinity College Dublin was marked by academic excellence, culminating in receiving the Berkeley gold medal in Greek during his final year. This achievement foreshadowed his illustrious literary career and cemented his place as one of the most prominent alumni of the institution. After his studies at Trinity, Wilde continued his education at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he continued to hone his craft and intellect.

Douglas Hyde

Douglas Hyde, known as An Craoibhín Aoibhinn, is a distinguished Trinity alumnus whose contributions to Irish culture and politics are deeply cherished. Serving as the first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945, Hyde played a pivotal role in the Gaelic revival and was a founding figure of the Gaelic League, a cultural powerhouse in Ireland.

His legacy lives on at Trinity College Dublin through the Douglas Hyde Gallery, a contemporary art hub established in 1978. Situated within the historic campus, this publicly funded gallery was crucial in showcasing contemporary art in Ireland, paving the way for cultural enrichment and creative expression. As an enduring tribute to Hyde's commitment to Irish culture and the arts, the gallery inspires and engages students and the wider community.

Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett, a Nobel Laureate celebrated for his short stories and plays, including the iconic "Waiting for Godot," is another illustrious alumnus of Trinity College Dublin. Beckett began his academic journey at the university in 1927, pursuing a bachelor's degree.

Beckett's profound impact on literature and theatre is a testament to the university's legacy of producing exceptional individuals who shape and redefine their respective fields.

George Berkeley

George Berkeley, a prominent Trinity alumnus, left an indelible mark on philosophy and mathematics. As an Anglo-Irish philosopher, Berkeley is best known for his groundbreaking theory of "immaterialism" or "subjective idealism," which challenged the very concept of material substance. He contended that everyday objects, such as tables and chairs, exist solely as ideas the mind perceives and cannot exist independently of perception.

Additionally, Berkeley made significant contributions to the field of mathematics. In his work "The Analyst," published in 1734, he critically examined the foundations of calculus, influencing the development of this mathematical discipline. His insightful critique paved the way for advancements in mathematics that continue to shape our understanding of the subject.

Phelim Boyle

Born in Northern Ireland, Phelim Boyle is an esteemed Irish economist and actuary whose academic journey led him to Trinity College Dublin. Boyle completed his BSc at Queen’s University Belfast before pursuing an MSc and PhD in Applied Mathematics at Trinity College Dublin.

Boyle's name is synonymous with groundbreaking contributions to quantitative finance. He is credited with using Monte Carlo methods in option pricing, a pivotal development in financial mathematics. His pioneering work earned him the IAFE Financial Engineer of the Year in 2005, solidifying his status as a trailblazer in quantitative finance.

Aisling Bea

Aisling Bea, a talented Irish comedian, actor, and screenwriter, is another shining star in Trinity College Dublin's constellation of notable alumni. Bea graduated from the institution with a degree in French and Philosophy before furthering her studies at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).

While at Trinity, Bea showcased her creative prowess by conceptualising her sitcom, "C'est La Bea," and participating in the sketch group HBAM. Her journey from Trinity College Dublin to the world stage exemplifies the institution's commitment to nurturing artistic talent and fostering creative expression.

Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk, a prominent Trinity alumnus, was an English writer and journalist known for his incisive critiques of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and his scrutiny of Israel's treatment of Palestinians. His academic pursuits led him to Trinity College, where he completed a PhD thesis on Ireland's neutrality during World War II. 

William C. Campbell

William C. Campbell, an Irish biologist and parasitologist, graduated from Trinity College Dublin with first-class honours in zoology in 1952. His academic journey at Trinity College Dublin equipped him with the foundational knowledge that would later lead to groundbreaking discoveries in parasitology.

Sean Barrett

Sean Declan Conrad Barrett, an Irish economist, has significantly contributed to civil aviation, public health, and public policy. Beyond being an alumnus of Trinity College Dublin, Barrett served as a senior lecturer in the economics department at the university. His multifaceted career has encompassed academia, research, and advocacy.

Barrett's expertise in civil aviation has been instrumental in shaping policy decisions related to the aviation sector. Additionally, his contributions to public health and economic policy have had a far-reaching impact on the well-being of the Irish population. Barrett's engagement with the university extended beyond his student years, as he served several terms on the board of Trinity College and was elected as a pro-chancellor in 2018.

Veronica Guerin

Veronica Guerin, an esteemed Trinity alumna, made an indelible mark as an investigative journalist and a symbol of fearless reporting. She studied accountancy at Trinity College Dublin, where she honed her analytical skills. Guerin's career as an investigative journalist focused on exposing organised crime in Ireland, a mission that would ultimately lead to her tragic end. Tragically, in 1996, while pursuing charges against a notorious crime figure, John Gilligan, Guerin paid the ultimate price for her commitment to uncovering the truth.

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Trinity College Dublin FAQ

Is Trinity College Dublin prestigious?

Yes, Trinity College Dublin is indeed prestigious. It's one of Ireland's top universities and is highly regarded worldwide for its academic excellence and historical significance. Many notable figures have studied there, and it consistently ranks well in global university rankings.

What famous writers studied at Trinity College Dublin?

Trinity College Dublin has been home to some famous writers, including Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift. These literary giants attended the university and went on to create renowned works of literature.

What courses are Trinity College Dublin known for?

Trinity College Dublin is known for its courses in a variety of fields. It excels in literature, science, economics, and engineering. The university offers diverse programs, making it known for its well-rounded academic offerings.

What is the acceptance rate for Trinity College Dublin?

Trinity College Dublin has a moderately selective admissions process, with an acceptance rate of around 34%.

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