Trinity’s Day Nursery celebrates 50 years in operation

Posted on: 18 December 2019

The first on-site workplace creche in Ireland, the Day Nursery on campus at Trinity College Dublin, celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.

To mark the occasion, the college held an event in Regent House on campus welcoming many parents and staff from past and present along with many excited children.

Aoife Cox nursery manager, Teresa Heeney Chief Operating Officer of Early Childhood Ireland, Dr Nóirín Hayes Visiting Professor at the School of Education and Trinity Chief Operating Officer Geraldine Ruane.

The nursery team and children delighted guests with their imaginative and fun decorations, including lots of glitter for the stencil art pieces created by our budding artists.

Some of the children in the Montessori section of the nursery brought great cheer to the festivities when asked what they would like to be when they grow up, with the answers “a scientific fairy” and “I don’t know yet, I’m a child” drawing the most delight.

In her welcome address, Trinity Chief Operating Officer, Geraldine Ruane praised the nursery in supporting University staff and students for the past 50 years.

She said:

The Day Nursery opened 50 years ago in response to the discovery that staff and students had no supports for childcare.. we now take care of up to 52 children from the ages of three months up to five years.

With so many services in Dublin now only taking children from 12 months upwards, the Day Nursery stands out and continues to listen to and support families in their return to education and work by catering for children in the earliest stages of their life.

Mrs Kestell with Senan, one of the children who attends the nursery, and nursery manager Aoife Cox

Invited guest Dr Nóirín Hayes, Visiting Professor at the School of Education, spoke of her experience as both a parent with children attending the nursery and as a tutor to students on practice placement there.

Praising the quality of the service and the staff she said:

Their professional approach created an atmosphere of calm where children were happy, secure and learning in a rich play-based environment.

Dr Hayes managed to hold the attention of the parents in the room, if not the little ones, who were at this time excitedly decorating ginger bread cookies.


Teresa Heeney, Chief Operating Officer of Early Childhood Ireland, spoke about the central role played by early years providers in the lives of many young children and families. She highlighted the importance of inclusion and the Trinity Day Nursery’s participation in the LINC programme, which trains early years educators in how to ensure early years experiences are inclusive and accessible for all children.

Ms. Heeney warmly congratulated staff, children, and families at the nursery on its 50-year anniversary, calling it an important milestone and reflection of its trusted place within the Trinity community.

Professor Clodagh Brook, Trinity’s first Associate Vice-Provost for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion said:

The nursery is of strategic importance to Trinity. The fantastic work at the nursery supports parents in returning to work and developing their careers, as well as enabling students to carry on with their studies. The nursery plays a key role in supporting Trinity’s goals for gender balance under Athena SWAN.


Parents Alesya and Matthew Moore, whose two children have attended the nursery over the past several years, echoed the positive message of the evening, explaining:

As a student, knowing our children are close by and in the care of such loving, caring and talented professionals made the journey through college so much easier. We are certain that the Nursery has provided our boys with the best possible start in life and has helped them develop into the bright, curious, polite and independent young boys they are today.


Nursery manager Aoife Cox spent time reminiscing with one of her predecessors, Mrs Kestell, who, in her 90th year, was delighted to be part of the celebration and shared her own stories from her 20 years working with Mrs O’ Neill, who was the very first manager of the service in 1969.

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