UCC opened its doors to students in 1849. It was one of three Colleges built on foot of the Queen’s Colleges Act in 1845 under Robert Peel’s government "in order to supply the want, which has been long felt in Ireland, of an improved academical education equally accessible to all classes of the community without religious distinction". To this day, students and staff from all creeds and none are welcome.
This is not to say that UCC is fully secular, however, as it runs to a Christian calendar and at present the Chaplaincy is a multi-faith Christian chaplaincy. Additionally, there is a lack of dedicated prayer spaces across the various campuses and while the university closes for four days for Christmas, no similar homage is paid to important festivals for other faiths.