One of three colleges constructed in Belfast, Galway and Cork, the original buildings of UCC were nominally designed by Thomas Deane. However it is now more accepted that most of the design was due to his brother Kearns Deane. Kearns died several days after delivery of working drawings for the construction.
The most Oxford-like of the three colleges, and loosely based on Magdalen, the complex is entered from a turreted gatehouse on the river frontage. The river front also features the library and aula maxima rising dramatically out of the river bank trees.