Newman’s Irish University

Colin Barr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


John Henry Newman’s The Idea of a University remains one of the classics of the philosophy of higher education. Composed in several parts in Dublin in the 1850s, it can only be properly understood in the context of the creation and relative failure of the Catholic University of Ireland, of which Newman was the first rector; although written by an Englishman, it is in several important respects an Irish book, shaped by and for Irish conditions. But it also draws on Newman’s own experiences, particularly of Oxford. Newman’s views on higher education were shaped by the debates of the 1810s and 1820s on the purpose and nature of higher education, and then by his own experiences as a fellow and tutor of Oriel College. It is the fusion of Ireland and Oxford that lies at the core of Newman’s classic text.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIrish Literature in Transition, 1830-1880
EditorsMatthew Campbell
Place of PublicationCambridge, United Kingdom
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781108634977
ISBN (Print)9781108480482
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2020


  • Ireland
  • John Henry Newman
  • HIgher Education
  • Catholic University of Ireland
  • Catholicism
  • philosophy of education
  • Oxford
  • Universities


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