Michael Byrne, affectionately known as “Old Man Belfield” by staff and students was a constant presence on UCD campus for over 30 years. When the University shared the sad news of his passing in 2021, thousands of messages poured in from students, alumni, staff, past and present, and the local community – each one sharing their deep affection for this kind and gentle soul who came to affect the lives of so many of us.

In choosing to make UCD’s Belfield campus his home, Michael touched people in ways he may not have known. His was a face in UCD that so many knew to see and he was someone around whom the UCD community gathered. Many members of our community supported Michael with basic needs including food and, during the worst of weather, shelter. The University was proud to host Michael’s funeral service and to share our grief and affection for him.

Through his gentle presence and quiet acceptance of support, Michael helped to build a community that understands the importance of caring for those in need. The UCD community has come together to remember Michael fondly by supporting the Michael Byrne Community Fund, which was established to honour Michael’s memory and the impact he had on the UCD Community.

UCD has paid tribute to Michael in two ways:


1: installing a memorial bench in the Rose Garden at Belfield House so that those who come to sit and take their rest can fondly remember Michael.

2: establishing the Michael Byrne Community Fund to foster and recognise community building activities at UCD. This fund supports:

  • The establishment of accommodation bursaries for students who may not be able to afford accommodation otherwise.
  • UCD in the Community initiatives that support support staff, students and alumni to build impactful community activities.
  • Helps to support two sanctuary scholarships for refugees to study and live in Dublin.
The UCD Michael Byrne Mile


As part of the UCD Festival 2024 the Michael Byrne Mile will be returning on Saturday June 8th. The event will allow the UCD Community to come together to remember Michael in his home of UCD and to support the Michael Byrne Community Fund. The event is open to all and we would like to invite the UCD Community to come to celebrate and remember the deep impact Michael had on us all. Join us for a mile run/walk on the UCD running track between 12pm – 2pm in memory of Michael. There will be an official mile run/walk on the track kicking off on the half hour at the following times – 12pm, 12.30pm, 1pm and 1.30pm. To book your place, please click the link below.

Register for the UCD Michael Byrne Mile

We are are asking our present and past UCD Community to come together in support of it. To add your support, simply click below to make a once-off or a monthly gift. Gifts from Irish taxpayers of €250 or more per annum qualify for tax relief and are worth up to 45% m ore to the fund, making your support go even further.

The communal outpouring of support for the Michael Byrne Community Fund highlights the deep affection held for Michael by those who remember him. This fund continues to grow over time and has helped establish a lasting legacy of “Old Man Belfield”, keeping his memory alive to inspire and impact current and future generations. Michael Byrne will be deeply missed around campus.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Support The Michael Byrne Community Fund Today

Banner image: Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin