University College Cork has been named the Irish university of the year for the second year in a row.
Trinity College is ranked second in a special Sunday Times supplement.
DIT is named as the top institute of technology, with Athlone IT the runner up.
It is the fifth time UCC has been named as Ireland's top university - and the only time since the Sunday Times award was established in 2002 that a university has 'successfully defended its crown'.
The newspaper cites UCC's focus on making 'teaching as much of a priority as research' as a key factor in the university's success.
It also ranks well in other areas such as its low drop-out rate (10% between first year and second year), low graduate unemployment (4%) and the high proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds (22%).
Alastair McCall, editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said: "At UCC, teaching and research excellence are not either/or options. Students benefit from this on a daily basis, enjoying high-class teaching, graduating with high-class degrees and going on to get excellent jobs, the name of their university standing them in excellent stead with prospective employers.
“We were also impressed by the efforts the university has taken to reduce the level of student debt – working with the student body to tackle the problem rather than resorting to the use of debt collection agencies to recover outstanding fees," he added.
UCC president Michael Murphy said: “Today, anyone who is appointed to UCC who doesn’t have certification [to teach] has to undergo training before being considered for permanency. You must have a driver’s licence to drive; likewise to teach.”