DUBLIN's prestigious universities have slipped further down a global league table.
Trinity College Dublin fell 11 places from 129th spot to number 138 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
And its rival academic centre University College Dublin went into freefall and is now out of the top 200.
This means UCD dropped from 161st place to a band between 226 and 250.
But there was better news for centres outside of the capital.
NUI Galway jumped 53 places to the ranking between 251 to 275. The west university is now placed ahead of University College Cork (UCC).
The table of the world's top 400 universities is based on 13 performance indicators, grouped into five areas, with 60pc of marks going for research activity and its influence, measured by the number of times the work is cited.
Rankings editor Phil Baty described it as a "real shock result for Ireland".
"Competition in the global knowledge economy is intensifying, and Ireland needs to invest and work hard strategically to stay competitive against the rising nations of Asia," he said.
And Higher Education Authority (HEA) chief executive Tom Boland warned: "There should be no doubt that we are now at a tipping point".
California Institute of Technology has the top spot ahead of Harvard University and Oxford.