The University of Dublin was modelled on the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge as a collegiate university, Trinity College being named by the Queen as the mater universitatis ("mother of the university"). The founding Charter also conferred a general power on the College to make provision for university functions to be carried out. So, for example, the Charter while naming the first Provost of the College, the first fellows ("in place of many') and the first scholars, in addition named William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley to be the first Chancellor of the University. No other college has ever been established, and Trinity remains the sole constituent college of the university. The project of establishing another college within the University was seriously considered on at least two occasions, but the required finance or endowment was never available.
The most recent authoritative statement of the position is in the Universities Act, 1997. In the section relating to interpretation it specifies that:-
"3.—(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
"Trinity College” means the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin established by charter dated the 3rd day of March, 1592, and shall be held to include the University of Dublin save where the context otherwise requires in accordance with the charters and letters patent relating to Trinity College;"
and then further stipulates:
“the University of Dublin” means the university established by the charters and letters patent incorporating Trinity College and which said university is further provided for by the letters patent of the 24th day of July 1857;"