School History & Facts
The Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, located in the Brookfield Health Sciences Complex University College Cork, which encompasses the Jennings Building with its very distinctive yellow brick and grand porch facade.
It was Francis Jennings son, Thomas, who built Brookfield in 1898. Thomas was a noted athlete and was captain of the University Athletic Club while at Cambridge. He had strong views about house building, with an almost obsessive concern about fire. He may have had a bad experience when he was living in London, of course, the disastrous fire in the College in 1862 was still remembered. Hence the less than beautiful yellow firebrick, specially imported, the steel panelled fire doors and the 5000 gallon lead water tanks in the attic.
When Thomas Jennings died in 1935 Brookfield passed to his three daughters Meg, Eithne and Muirne, but only Meg, who never married, remained at home. She wanted company in the house and also some additional income to help meet the outgoings of such a large house. George and Eileen Coomber, who had just moved to Cork from Dublin, found in Brookfield an ideal home, and they, with their son, Brian, shared it with Meg for some 35 years until her death. Muirne, with her husband Bernard Gedge, then returned from London and remained in Brookfield until she moved into a nursing home in the early 1990s. As there were no Jennings children it was the wish of the family that Brookfield should be transferred to the Coombers. Eileen Coomber remained in Brookfield after her husband's death until 1998, when she was no longer able to live there alone, and Brookfield then became a part of UCC with the doors opened to the first nursing students in 2004
The Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, Ireland was established in 1994 by Professor Geraldine McCarthy.
Professor Geraldine McCarthy and Professor Josephine Hegarty with the help of staff of the School of Nursing and Midwifery UCC co-authored a text book which outlines how health care and nurse and midwifery education evolved in an Irish context with a particular focus on the developments in the Cork region and the formation of a Department of Nursing in 1994. The book is titled: “Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork: 25 years - Origins to 2019”. The book is organised around five key sections including: the context within which nursing and nurse education developed; the call for change: Commission in Nursing, establishment of the Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery; the school within UCC and development of undergraduate and post graduate education; the student experience; and research and scholarship. Reflections by the three Heads of School are provided with perspectives on the Future of the School outlined. The book was launched on the 27th November 2019 with students from the first class of Public Health Nursing in attendance as well as colleagues from across the University, wider Health Services and key partner organisations.
The “Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork: 25 years - Origins to 2019” is available for purchase in hard-back from
Over the 25 years the School has:
- Graduated just under 5,000 nurses and midwives.
- Provided postgraduate education and continuing professional development to 2,000 nurses and midwives helping to advance their knowledge and skills.
- Attained over 6.5 million in research funding.
- Helped generate new knowledge which has been disseminated in over 1,500 research publications.
- Graduated more than 50 doctoral students.
- Impacted national health and social care policy and practice.
Each year, the School has:
- Over 1,300 students are registered on 19 programmes with opportunities for nurses and midwives to study for undergraduate, postgraduate, masters and doctoral level qualifications. For the past four years, 95-100% of our nursing and midwifery graduates are in employment or engaging in further study.
- Ranked in top 50 schools according to QS World University Rankings
- Attained a Global Top 100 place in the QS World University Subject Rankings for Nursing for fiveconsecutive years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
- Ranked as the top School in Ireland and 51st-75th in the world by academic subject ranking for Nursing as a subject area according to the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) released by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
- Strong and increasing track record in attaining in research funding
- Seven internationally connected active research clusters producing a consistent scholarly output of over 100 publications per annum
- Students and staff who regularly win national awards for their work
- An ERASMUS programme of placements within the European Union for undergraduate students
- International students from the wider EU and beyond for example US, Brunei, Malaysia, Nigeria, India, China, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Korea, Philippines, and the Lebanon
- The support of a dynamic and enthusiastic team who facilitate the education and support of students and engage in future orientated person centred research
- Students who experience exceptional teaching resources including a world-class clinical skills simulation resource centre located in the Brookfield Health Sciences Complex.