Ireland’s largest university has seen a dramatic fall in its placing on the latest international university rankings.

This year's Times Higher Education tables see UCD drop more than 60 places, and out of the world's top 200 institutions.

UCD has questioned the methodology of the rankings.

It described the drop as puzzling and not a realistic reflection of what is happening at the college.

The trend in recent years for Irish universities, in the Times Higher Education and in other rankings, has been downward.

The latest tables published today confirm this.

UCD has fallen from 161st place to between 225th and 250th place.

Trinity College has also fallen, by nine places to 138th.

NUI Galway has bucked the trend: it is further down the tables but has moved upwards, into the 251-275 range.

UCC maintained its position in the 276-300 range.

The Higher Education Authority has said the tables show the Irish higher education system doing well despite significant pressure.

However, it says Ireland runs serious risks to the quality of the system if current funding arrangements are not addressed.

The HEA says Ireland needs to take note of concerns that our universities are not in a position to compete.

Trinity College has also called for more investment.

It says it is battling intense competition, especially from Asian universities.

Questioning the methodology of the Times Higher Education Rankings, UCD has pointed to other tables published earlier this month.

The QS international university rankings placed UCD in 139th place, the same place it occupied last year.

The rankings measure Universities around the world based on a number of criteria, including reputation among other academics, the amount of times academic papers are cited, the number of PhDs and the staff student ratio.

While critics say they are not reliable measures of university performance, the rankings play a very important role in the marketing of universities, especially abroad.