History and heritage


It all started in 1845

Queen’s University Belfast was founded by Royal Charter in 1845.

One of three Queen’s Colleges in Ireland, with the others being in Cork and Galway, it became a university in its own right in 1908.

QUB 1930-lpr

Intertwined with Belfast’s Heritage

From the beginning, Queen’s has enjoyed strong links with the city of Belfast.

They even share a motto - Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus: "What shall we give in return for so much?"

first grad

From Small Beginnings…

In 1909 there were around 600 students, mostly drawn from the historic nine counties of Ulster.

Today there are approximately 23,000 from the UK and Ireland and more than 80 other countries.

Seamus Heaney

Queen’s Nobel laureates

World renowned poet and Queen's alumnus Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.

Northern Ireland’s former First Minister and Queen's graduate, Lord Trimble, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998.

Lanyon 1949-lpr

The Heart of the university

The magnificent main building was designed in 1849 by Sir Charles Lanyon.

He was also responsible for designing other Belfast landmarks such as Belfast Castle, Crumlin Road Gaol and the Customs House.

Thomas Hamilton-lpr


Rev Thomas Hamilton, a Presbyterian Minister and academic, was Queen's first official Vice-Chancellor.

Hamilton was an accomplished fundraiser who guided the university through a period of change and expansion.


Sir William Whitla

A major Queen’s benefactor was the distinguished Belfast physician Sir William Whitla.

The Sir William Whitla Hall opened in 1949 and his former home at Lennoxvale is the residence of the Vice-Chancellor.

Tyrone Guthrie

Distinguished Chancellors

Chancellors of Queen’s have included the theatrical producer Sir Tyrone Guthrie.

More recently Senator George Mitchell, key figure in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, held the position.

Our historic campus

Over 100 listed buildings