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About Saor-Ollscoil Na hÉireann (Free University of Ireland)


Saor-Ollscoil Na hÉireann (Free University of Ireland) was established in 1986 by a small group of educationalists with a creative vision of the life-long learning process. The university is a Free and Independent institute not in receipt of state funding.

Saor-Ollscoil Na hÉireann was created as an university of 'civil society' and our motto is 'Beholden to None'.


Saor-Ollscoil has been established as a research college with charitable status. One of the most interesting features is that all the lecturers and administrators give their time free of charge. This is the lecturer's contribution to the establishment of Saor-Ollscoil as an important concept in the evolution of the 'idea of a university'. The lecturers would also have to be very enthusiastic about the subjects they teach to give such a commitment. Saor-Ollscoil is a very small institution but we believe that 'small can be beautiful.


Saor-Ollscoil is open to students of all ages who have a love of learning and who wish to expand their knowledge in an academic environment.


Saor-Ollscoil offers a B.A. Degree in the Liberal Arts. The degree is awarded by the Academic Board of the Saor-Ollscoil Na hÉireann. A student is awarded the degree when that student has completed the necessary requirements.


Saor-Ollscoil has an open system to suit the needs of Adult Students. The system of credits is based on co-operation. There is no competition encouraged there are no exams. Credits are awarded for written assignments. The student may aim to complete the degree in a minimum of three years or in his/her own time.


The student is surrounded by like-minded individuals who are present because of their interest in learning in the broadest sense. The groups are small, which allows for interaction between student and lecturer and student and student. The atmosphere created for the student is that of peaceful co-operation and learning


Saor-Ollscoil Na hÉireann is situated in the Old City Arms Hotel at 55 Prussia Street just down from Hanlon's Corner. The building itself has a varied history it is mentioned over twenty times in James Joyce's Ulysses. The main character Leopold Bloom stayed in bed room number 9 beside 'the smelly loo' on numerous occasions and had many a debate with the 'culchies' up for the market with their cattle. The smelly loo is long gone but room number 9 is still there on the third Floor.


Education is not a Means to an End, Education is an end in itself


If you are interested in the ideas and the concepts of the Saor-Ollscoil, we would ask you to help us by reading the information in the "About Us" section carefully. We have included a section on the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) for your information.


The Saor-Ollscoil is a unique educational establishment not least because all of the lecturers and staff give their time on a voluntary basis, free of charge.


The structure of the credit system used in the Saor-Ollscoil means that students can work in a system that suits them with no artificial exam pressures.


The Saor-Ollscoil has no academic entrance requirements or restrictions.

We are looking for students who have the following attributes:
A love of knowledge, a love of learning and an open mind.

These are our main entrance requirements. We encourage people of all ages and backgrounds.

Please note that the format of most courses will change from time to time but the course outlines on our brochure can be taken as a reasonably accurate guide to a particular course. Some courses may not be available to students in a particular year.


If you are interested in our approach to education and learning we invite you to join us and look forward to meeting you when you register.


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