Friends, Foes and Founding a University

By Ed Walsh
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Ed Walsh, son of a Cork butcher, was a young man in a hurry when he returned to Ireland in 1970, after a decade of working in United States universities. Limerick wanted a university but officialdom decreed that an institute of higher education would suffice and appointed Ed to set it up. Ireland's academic and religious 'old boys' clubs' attempted to put manners on Ed. But he found a decaying mansion on a riverside site and gathered talented young people. Soon officialdom came to dread Ed's letters and the certainty that if they didn't reply to his satisfaction, he'd be bounding into their Dublin sanctums in short order. Limerick's National Institute for Higher Education opened two years later. Despite a vicious recession Ed secured funding from the World Bank and European Investment Bank to build what became the University of Limerick. He made powerful enemies as he challenged official cant, traditional academics and clerical humbug. Later he won the support of a reclusive Irish- American who secretly pumped millions into the Limerick campus and later throughout Ireland. With surprising candour Ed describes his academic and political struggles, and his efforts to straddle the divide between warring factions. This inspiring, frank and often funny memoir, by a passionate educational leader, vividly describes the making of the first new university established in the Republic of Ireland.



Bibliographic Data

  • Book Format: Hardback
  • Published: 2011
  • Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
  • Number of pages: 384
  • ISBN: 9781848891234
  • Illustrations note: Colour photos, B&W photos,

Editorial Reviews

"Makes for fascinating reading"

– Irish Independent

"An entertaining account of the author’s struggle to set up the University of Limerick. "

– The Irish Times

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Friends, Foes and Founding a University


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