Home Rule

Justin McCarthy
Chapter XII

AN effort which at one time seemed very hopeful was made by the Government for the diffusion of education in Ireland. This consisted in the establishment of the Queen's Colleges and the Queen's University in 1847. The Colleges, three in number, were founded in Belfast, Cork, and Galway. The Queen's University, to which the collegiate institutions belonged, was in Dublin. The Colleges were unsectarian in character, and were open to students of all denominations. The character and method of the education deserves praise, and many of the professors were men of the highest standing in literature or science. But the scheme did not succeed, chiefly because secular education was condemned by the Catholic Church, and a large proportion of the population held aloof from "the Godless Colleges," as they were often termed. Repeated legislative dealings with the Irish tithes system had done much to relieve the country from the fierce struggles between tithe-owner and tithe-payer, and the disestablishment and disendowment of the Anglican Church in Ireland was not far off.