I hope I can shed a little empirical light on Smurfit for you; I was invited to spend 5 days in Dublin in early December, with 8 other candidates (3 Canadians, 6 Americans made the trip). Evidently, Smurfit has a generous benefactor in one of its alumni who pays for selected candidates to fly to Dublin in order to get an impression of what UCD might offer them, and they UCD.
It would take forever to go into detail, but to say that we were treated like kings (from the moment we were collected to the airport, to alumni dinners organized specifically for us, to the posh luncheon at the Fitzwilliam Hotel preceding our formal interviews). Furthermore, we were given carte blanche with regard to time spent with teaching faculty, alumni, administration.
Smurfit has had an MBA program since 1964, I believe, making it the first university in Europe to offer one. Though originators are often surpassed by innovators, in UCD's case this is not so. I encourage you to check out its website ucdbusiness.ucd.ie/ and research some of the ways in which the school is helping to lead the economic boom (the 'Celtic Tiger') Ireland is in the midst of (look no further than The Economist
's outlook for 2005 issue of December in which Ireland ranked number one in the world).
A cautionary note on the "other" school: though it has a storied reputation (literary more than anything), Trinity College's program--in my opinion, having researched both--pales embarrassingly compared to Smurfit's. As a matter of fact, one of the people in our group had a arranged a meeting with Trinity's admissions officer, during which she gleaned from him the hotel in which we were staying, and immediately sent along a package (university t-shirts, hats, the like) in order to try to poach us away from Smurfit. Cheeky and unscrupulous to say the least, as Smurfit had paid several thousand euros a head to bring us over.
Anyway, had I not gone over, I would still be singing the praises of the school: it has a fabulous program called NovaUCD http://www.ucd.ie/nova/
which fosters student entrepreneurs, a dedicated career office (which played no small part in it getting ranked 5th in the world in career advancement by The Financial Times in its MBA global rankings), and a peerless teaching faculty ...........
I hope this helped..... good luck!
please email me if you have any questions I might help you with