Alumni Scholarships Family Matters Learning in a

Winter 2013
Maynooth Alumni Magazine
Alumni Scholarships
Family Matters
Learning in a
Changing Climate
Alumni Events
Hitting the Right Note, Graduations 2013
Maynooth Memories & Memorabilia, and
much, much more…
‘These are the ties
that bind – family,
friendships and a
shared alma mater.’
1 The Bridge
The Bridge
Wİnter ’13
01 Welcome
Hello again!
02Alumni Events
Alumni return to campus for a
variety of events during the year
04Making Positive
And forging lifelong
friendships along the way
05Alumni Support
Introducing our new alumni
scholarship winners
06 Cuimhní ar
Mhá Nuad
Scéal eile
07 Graduations 2013
New alumni join the ranks
08Learning in a
Changing Climate
Climate change and a
geographer’s passion
10Celebrating the
Transition Years
Class of 1963 return to campus
Family Matters
Following in the footsteps...
12 Maynooth
Memories &
Magnificent memories
Strategic Plan
Planning for the future
15Hitting the
Right Note
The Chamber Choir build
transatlantic musical bridges
16Online Archive
Spoken Irish from the 1920s
and 30s now online thanks to
collaboration between NUI
Maynooth and the RIA
17Silence Would
be Treason
Hello and welcome to the
annual alumni magazine, the
Bridge. Hard to believe it’s
been a year since I edited
the Bridge 2012! A lot has
happened since then in the
world of Maynooth Alumni.
Delighted to let you know
about the scholarship
programme we launched
this year for our alumni –
you’ll find out more on page
5 when you read what this
year’s recipients had to
say about them. We also
had our inaugural Summer
Soiree back in May. A
performance by international
soprano, Regina Nathan
and a reading by journalist
John Drennan from his
current book ensured a
great evening was had by
all – we’re already planning
for the 2014 one (keep 29/5
free) it was that good!
Maynooth Alumni Advisory
Board (MAAB) met regularly
during 2013 and we welcomed
some new faculty members
to our MAAB family. As
we head into 2014, our
new chairperson is 1988
alumnus, Flor Madden, who
follows in the footsteps
of our former chair, Bernie
Coyne – we thank them all.
Our Maynooth Memories and
Memorabilia piece in the 2012
magazine proved so popular
with alumni, that we’ve run it
again in 2013. See pages 12
and 13 for photos and fun!
This magazine will be
available on the alumni
website, http://alumni.nuim.
ie. If you need any copies for
fellow alumni, please call
me at +353 1 708 6492 or by
email at [email protected]
Hope you enjoy this
year’s magazine.
It is with great pride
that I write to you today.
2013 was a momentous
year for NUI Maynooth
in a number of ways.
I’m delighted to say that
we awarded the first three
Alumni Scholarships for
postgraduate study at the
University. The Alumni
Scholarships are funded
through revenues from
the Maynooth Alumni
Affinity Credit Card, an
inspiring example of
alumni supporting the next
generation of students.
Thank you to all involved
in this initiative, your
contribution is truly valued.
We launched our Strategic
Plan earlier this year
which sets out the
direction of the University
and its contribution to
education until 2017.
Ken Sara-Wiwa’s book and audio
archive published by NUI Maynooth
18Clubs & Societies
Adding to the Maynooth Experience
A key element of the
Strategic Plan is engagement
with alumni as advisors,
friends and supporters of
the University in ways that
allow our graduates to retain
a close relationship with
Maynooth and which will be
of mutual benefit to alumni
and future undergraduates.
I welcome your input on this.
We hosted the inaugural
Alumni Summer Soiree
this year – a great success
with over 200 alumni and
friends enjoying an evening
of art, literature and music
on a beautiful summer’s
evening in the University’s
new library. Keep an eye
on the alumni website for
details of the 2014 event –
it’s a great opportunity to
reconnect with old friends.
Thank you for your continued
support and interaction with
NUI Maynooth through the
year and I look forward to
meeting you at future events.
Warm regards and go raibh
maith agaibh go léir.
Karen Kelly
Alumni Officer
Professor Philip Nolan
President, NUI Maynooth
20 Events in the
A snapshot of the 2013
University events
22 Where are our
Alumni now?
Continue your Maynooth
Experience with the
Maynooth Alumni Association
Company Develops
System to Increase
Intellectual Ability
Why not join the Maynooth Alumni Association Online
Community at
and discover free membership benefits including:
Graduate Profiles
SMART move!
eing the first to know about University
news and events (including news about job
opportunities or career initiatives)
The Bridge is a magazine published by NUI Maynooth. Contributions
in the form of articles, graduate profiles and photographs are welcome.
We would be delighted to receive your comments and ideas for future
editions – please email [email protected]
The opinions and views in this publication are those of the contributors
and are not necessarily shared by NUI Maynooth. While every care has
been taken to ensure accuracy in the compilation of the magazine,
NUI Maynooth cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions
or effects arising thereof. However any errors or omissions should be
brought to the attention of the Alumni Office.
Karen Kelly
Clondalkin Group
- l ifelong learning opportunities (guest lectures,
inaugural lectures, music and cultural events)
- i nvitations to class reunions (or we can
assist you in organising one)
- a ccess to college services like the library or
the sports facilities at reduced rates
- n etworking opportunities at home and abroad
Maynooth Alumni Association Stay Connected, Keep Connected
Search for Maynooth Alumni
[email protected]
Search for NUI Maynooth
3 The Bridge
2 The Bridge
4/10/2013 ↓
RTÉ’s Big Music Week
comes to Maynooth
Inaugural Guest History Lecture
since the Bridge 2012
During the year, many alumni
returned to the University
and enjoyed a wide variety
of events. For some it was a
chance to reconnect with their
alma mater, to be reunited
with former lecturers and
classmates or just to take a
trip down memory lane.
Geography Master Class
in Climate Change
Summer Soiree
But don’t just take our word for it – as one
alumnus commented after the Summer
Soiree ‘as a graduate of NUI Maynooth,
it is always a pleasure and an honour
to return to events that celebrate the
success and progress of the College and
of course to catch up on old friends.’
night as alumni took full advantage of the
library tours on offer. The night began with
alumnus John Drennan reading from his
recently published book ‘Standing by the
Republic – 50 Dáil Debates that Shaped the
Nation’, a preview of the recently acquired
art exhibition featuring pieces by artists
such as Robert Ballagh, Martin Gale and
Louis le Brocquy, and finished with a high
octane performance by alumnus and
international soprano, Regina Nathan who
was accompanied on piano by Dr Antonio
Cascelli from the Music Department.
29/5/2013 ↓
Pride, culture and friendship
see alumni return to
Maynooth for the first
ever Summer Soiree
The foyer of the new €20 million library
extension was the venue for the inaugural
Maynooth Alumni Summer Soiree on
29th May. Over 200 alumni and friends
enjoyed an evening of art, literature and
music on a beautiful summer’s evening
in the University with the new library
proving to be the star attraction on the
4. Enjoying the Summer Soiree
As part of the RTÉ Radio 1 Big Music Week,
the Ronan Collins Show was broadcast
from the Aula Maxima in NUI Maynooth
on Friday, October 4th. Following an
invitation to apply for the tickets allocated
to alumni, many alumni enjoyed what
was an engaging and delightful hour of
music at Maynooth. The show featured
performances by the University Chamber
Orchestra, alumnus Éimear Quinn (BA
Music 2003), The Heathers (one of whom
is an alumnus), The Last Boys and Gavin
James. (You can listen back to the show
by visiting the RTE Radio Player website
7. Alumni Alison Hood and Éimear Quinn
with conductor, Sébastien Petiet
10/12/2012 ↑
Carol Service 2012
On 10th December, 70 alumni and friends,
as guests of the Alumni Office, attended
the Carol Service in the College Chapel
and enjoyed a mulled wine and mince pie
reception afterwards in Renehan Hall.
President of NUI Maynooth, Professor
Philip Nolan extended season’s greetings
to the invited guests some of whom had
last been on campus over 25 years ago. This
was the first time we had a special alumni
gathering and reception afterwards at the
Carol Service. It was such a resounding
success we’re planning on doing it each year!
1. (l-r); Ciaran Connolly, Natalie Lough (BA 2007), Louise
Mooney (BMus 2007) and Stephen McGovern
6/3/2013 ↑
Alumni return to give career
talks to Anthropology
Society Members
Following an appeal by the Alumni Office to
postgraduate alumni to return to campus
to talk to current students about their
career path/choices since receiving their
postgraduate qualifications, a lively and
informative evening took place in the
SU building on Wednesday 6th March.
Hosted by the Anthropology Society,
President Jennifer McConnell welcomed
a combination of first year and final
year undergraduates to hear talks from
Fiona Larkan (BA 2002, PhD 2008), MSc
Course Director for the Centre of Global
Health at TCD, Dominic Martella (BA 1992,
MA 1997), External Communications &
Media Relations Manager for UCD and
Therese Lyons (BA 2008, MA 2012) now
working in the recruitment industry.
2. Jennifer McConnell with Dominic Martella
Maynooth Alumni Association Stay Connected, Keep Connected
10/3/13 ↗
17/6/2013 ↑
On Sunday 10th March, 30 alumni and
friends were invited as guests of the
Alumni Office to the performance of
Haydn’s Creation in the College Chapel.
The NUI Maynooth Choral Society with the
Orchestra of St Cecelia directed by Dr John
O’Keeffe and featuring soloists Claudia
Boyle (Soprano), Eamonn Mulhall (Tenor)
and Jeffrey Ledwidge (Bass) entertained
a capacity crowd who were not deterred
from attending by the wintry weather. For
some alumni, the opportunity to enjoy this
performance as a spectator rather than as a
former member of the choir, made the event
even more pleasurable. As one alumnus said
afterwards ‘it really was something special.’
Alumni, staff and conference attendees
enjoyed an evening in Renehan Hall on
17/6/2013 to mark the retirement of
Professor O’Farrell and acknowledge
his contribution to the Mathematics
Department and the University over the
last five decades. Professor O’Farrell,
who retired on 30th September 2012, was
Professor of Mathematics at Maynooth
since 1975 and was responsible for
the establishment of the University’s
Computer Centre in December 1975.
Former departmental staff who
joined the celebrations on the evening
included alumnus Dr Richard Watson.
Easter Music Event –
Haydn’s Creation –
3. John O'Keeffe Conductor
Alumni mark retirement
of Professor Anthony
G. O’Farrell
5. Nicola Tickner (BSc 1995), Professor Anthony G.
O’Farrell, Aileen Wynne (BSc 1995), Louise Tyrrell
16/8/2013 ↑
13/10/2013 ↑
An alumni reunion of the ECTS Group of
1993 (some had travelled from Germany,
Austria and Spain) and Maynooth
contemporaries together with former
lecturers Professors Marian Lyons and
Colm Lennon was held on Friday 16th
August. The reunion, which was hosted by
the Alumni Office, began with a reception
at 6pm and was preceded by a tour of the
new library, kindly facilitated by fellow
alumnus and Deputy Librarian, Helen Fallon.
On Sunday October 13th, over 25 alumni
and friends who first came to Maynooth
in 1963 returned to campus. Following
a tour of the John Paul II new library
extension and artwork, the group were
then shown around the North Campus or
their ‘old stomping grounds’ as one alumnus
called it, by Alumni Officer, Karen Kelly,
before returning to the South Campus
for a further trip down memory lane and a
commemorative mass in St Mary’s Oratory.
6. (l-r); Prof. Marian Lyons, Pedro J Oiarzabal, Karin
Leithner, Eva Keunecke, Marisol Garcia Montoya,
Thomas Leipnitz, Line Verselder, Peter Miller, Prof.
Colm Lennon, Cristina Sanchez, Caitriona Whelan
8. Pictured (l-r); Jim O'Gorman, John Lyons, Dick Mohan,
Mossie Lee, Eamonn O'Boyle, Micheal O'Diarmada*,
Tim Hurley, Paddy Hickey, Tom McGuinness, Dan
Ahern, Denis Bergin, Jimmy O'Sullivan, Liam Devine,
Joe Brosnan*, Seamus Hanrahan, Frank Masterson,
Christy McQuinn, Matt Carley, Patsy Lee, Michael
Dolan, Michael Meade, Larry Fingleton (*: partly hidden;
missing: Sean McDermott, Jim Lynch, Andy Doyle
ECTS 20 Year Reunion 16
August 2013
50 Years on – The Class of
1963 return to campus
A note from the Editor…
If you would like to attend our alumni
events, why not join our Online
Community at and we’ll make
sure you know all about them.
5 The Bridge
4 The Bridge
‘Friendships forged in Maynooth,
in my experience are forged deep’
A note from
the Editor…
Support Alumni
Pictured (l-r); Niall McLoughlin, Gary Byrne, Martin Clancy, Donnacha Brady
We would like to offer more
scholarships in the coming years.
If you would like to help us do
that, please consider taking out a
Maynooth Alumni Affinity Card.
In 2013 the Alumni Office launched three Alumni Scholarships for
Postgraduate study in the University. Funded by revenues earned
from the Maynooth Alumni Affinity Card, the Scholarships were
launched at the Graduate Studies Open Evening in March and
formerly presented at Prizes Night in the University in November.
Speaking to the Bridge, Sarah, Alan and Tara, our inaugural alumni scholarship
winners, shared what their scholarship meant to them;
Niall McLoughlin
BA 1994
This summer three friends and I made our
first trip back to Maynooth together since
our time there in the early 1990s. Exactly
twenty years had passed since we last threw
each other around the SU to ‘Smells like Teen
Spirit.’ However, I’m very happy to report that
as a bunch of friends, we are as close now as
we were back then – friendships forged in
Maynooth, in my experience are forged deep.
So what had changed? Surprisingly the train
from Dublin didn’t rattle, screech or let the
rain in, and was quite a pleasant experience.
In time-honoured fashion we managed
to miss our first intended train so had to
go for a pint to wait for the next one.
On arrival, we turned up by the canal. It
took us a while to get our bearings but we
succeeded in identifying and paying our
respects at each of the houses we had lived
in. The memories and stories of all-nighters
(both parties and cramming), food rations and
marathon games of Risk came flooding back
and took us all the way back to the College.
The new campus has developed almost beyond
recognition, with shinning new buildings in every
direction. The library is twice the size that it
was, and overall the place looks pretty fantastic.
The road which ran through town and under
the footbridge is of course no longer the main
artery between east and west so there is a weird
and welcome lack of traffic around the place.
Maynooth Alumni Association Stay Connected, Keep Connected
Sarah Ryan
MA Mathematics
What hasn’t changed of course is the magnificent
old campus, the chapel, the Aula Maxima and
the beautiful squares. More memories, this
time of Frank McGuinness and Peer Gynt,
geography practicals and a rugby match that
was blown up 10 minutes before time by the
(home) ref when Maynooth took a surprise lead.
We finished up in the Roost and as we were
leaving to get the train home bumped
into the great Professor John Sweeny
and who kindly took a photo of us.
As Director of Development now with the
Irish Youth Foundation, my role aims to
make a positive difference to the lives of
the many vulnerable and disadvantaged
children and young people in Ireland.
Looking back, I was fortunate
to share my time in Maynooth
with some wonderful people,
and to have learnt from some
great (and patient) teachers.
Their influence of course lives on in us and
this is particularly true for me personally
when I think of Fr Michael McGreal and his
passion for social justice. That has never
left me and it continues to be a driving force
in what I do professionally every day.
Having first read
about the Alumni
Scholarships 2013
on the University’ s Mathematics and
Statistics Department website I thought
it was a fantastic idea for whoever
would eventually receive one. After long
deliberation and seeking second and indeed
third opinions, as to whether I should apply,
I submitted an application with the attitude
‘if you’re not in, you can’t win’! My initial
reluctance was primarily due to my false
assumption that as a Mature Student, I
couldn’t compete with younger students
who I also thought should be prioritised
due to their longer future employment
potential. When I was informed that I
had actually been chosen to receive the
Science and Engineering Taught Masters
Scholarship, I was completely stunned.
Its value of €5000 meant that the fees
for the first year of my programme were
almost covered which was a huge help
financially but the marvellous sense of
achievement greatly outweighed that. I am
honoured to have been chosen and still find
it somewhat surreal. The whole process
from making the application to actually
receiving the award was very efficient
and well organised, thanks in particular to
Karen Kelly from the Alumni Office and Eilis
Murray from the Graduate Studies Office.
I would encourage everybody
considering undertaking a taught
Masters Programme in 2014 to apply
for the next round of scholarships,
and wish them all the best of luck!
Alan Clarke
MSocSc Social
Having developed a
deep fondness for
NUI Maynooth over the course of my
undergraduate studies, I was determined
to continue my postgraduate studies
at the same university. Like many of
my peers, I wasn't sure whether my
ambition would become a reality due to
the significant costs of pursuing further
studies at third level in Ireland. Fortunately,
through word of mouth I became aware
of the New Alumni Scholarship, which
aimed to provide three graduates of NUI
Maynooth with a €5,000 contribution
towards their postgraduate fees. Believing
demand for such a scholarship would be
extremely high, I originally procrastinated
about applying for the scholarship
but ultimately concluded I had nothing to
lose in trying! As the staff in the Alumni
Office already had access to my academic
transcripts, the application process was
relatively straightforward, involving no
more than a short personal statement and
the provision of other relevant personal
information. When I received the news
I had been selected as one of the three
successful candidates for the scholarship,
it cemented my decision to return to
NUI Maynooth. Not only has the Alumni
Scholarship reduced the financial burden
of completing my master’s degree in Social
Science (Rights and Social Policy) but it has
also enabled me to focus wholeheartedly on
my academic studies and it has introduced
me to a wider network of contacts through
the Maynooth Alumni Association.
Tara McDonald
MA Digital
I first heard
about the
Alumni Scholarship whilst attending
the postgraduate open evening in
NUI Maynooth. As there was only one
scholarship available per faculty, I did not
believe that I stood a chance of getting one.
Receiving the 2013 Alumni Scholarship has
been incredibly beneficial. It has allowed
me the chance to further my education
without the burden of debt hanging over
my head. This has allowed me to focus all of
my attention on my master’s degree, rather
than being preoccupied with working off
a student loan. I am incredibly grateful to
the Alumni Office for this opportunity.
The closing date for applications for the
2014 alumni scholarships is 1/6/2014.
These scholarships are only open to
graduates (including 2014 graduates) of
NUI Maynooth. The terms and conditions
and application form are available online
The University also offers John and Pat
Hume Research scholarships each year
for undertaking full-time PhD study at
the University. The scholarships provide
four years full fees and a stipend of
€5k per annum to new entrants into
postgraduate research programmes; in
some departments an additional teaching
scholarship of €3k is offered. Interested
applicants should first contact the
Department/Research Institute where
they wish to study to identify a suitable
research topic. For further information,
please contact [email protected]
7 The Bridge
6 The Bridge
Cuimhní ar
Mhá Nuad
Bhí mé seacht mbliana déag nuair
a leag mé mo chos ar thalamh
na hOllscoile Má Nuad i 1972.
Díreach amach as scoil chónaithe do chailíní i
Muineachán, ba bheag taithí ar shaoirse a bhí agam
seachas cúpla seachtain ag obair i B+B i mBun Dobhrán
an samhradh céanna. Thug mo thuismitheoirí ann
mé, sna héadaí álainn nua a ceannaíodh dom roimh
imeachta. Bhuaileamar le m’uncail, sagart de chuid
deoise Ard Mhacha a dúirt liom go ceanúil ‘An bhfuil
aithne agat ar dhuine ar bith?’ ‘Níl ’ ar arsa mise. ‘Bhuel,
caithfimid rud éigin a dhéanamh faoi sin’ arsa seisean
ag labhairt leis an gcéad cailín a tháinig an treo, ár gcur
in aithne dá chéile. Mhair an cairdeas sin le Clare ar
feadh na mblianta ina dhiaidh sin agus bhí cónaí orainn
sa teach céanna go dtí gur fhágamar beirt Má Nuad.
Bhí Coláiste Phádraig, Má Nuad, mar a tugadh air an
uair sin, beag agus pearsanta – go háirithe ó thaobh
na mac léinn seachtrach de. Ní raibh ann ach sé bliana
roimhe sin ó ceadaíodh cailíní isteach don chéad uair.
Bhí aithne ag gach duine ar a chéile – aithne súl, pé scéal
é. Nuair nach raibh fonn oibre ort d’fhéadfá dul chuig
an ceaintín – an foirgneamh beag réamhdhéanta sin
trasna ón Aula Maxima – siúl isteach, agus cinnte dearfa
bheadh duine éigin ann a mbeadh aithne agat orthu.
An chéad lá agam san ollscoil sheasamar go léir, lucht
na chéad bhliana, taobh amuigh den Aula Maxima –
neirbhíseach agus tógtha. Ní raibh an oiread sin leaids
feicthe agamsa in aon áit amháin le chéile roimhe sin!
Bhí an saol ar fad romham – saoirse, neamhspleáchas
don chéad uair, an seans mo roghanna féin a dhéanamh
gan cur is cúiteamh le héinne. Bhí Má Nuad roghnaithe
agam mar go ndúirt duine éigin liom gur áit dheas
chairdiúil a bhí inti, nach raibh sé i mBaile Átha Cliath,
agus go raibh sé beag. Bhí an ceart ag an duine sin!
Roimhe sin bhí mé le dul le bunmhúinteoireacht agus
an oíche roimh an agallamh d’athraigh mé m’intinn
agus dúirt le mo thuismitheoirí gurbh fhearr liom
go mór an mheánmhúinteoireacht agus go raibh
mé ag dul go Má Nuad. Agus b’shin sin! Ní raibh brón
riamh ina dhiaidh sin orm as an athrú intinne sin.
Bhí mé lán dóchasach agus mé ag tabhairt faoi
shaol na hOllscoile agus níor fheall Má Nuad orm.
Bhí sí mar a tuairisc – muinteartha, pearsanta,
daonna. Bhí craic ar dóigh againn, sna ranganna
agus lasmuigh de na ranganna. Bhí fonn oibre ar na
mic léinn don chuid is mó. Ní hionann sin is a rá gur
oibríomar go dian an t-am ar fad ach bhí fhios againn
cad a bhí le déanamh againn agus rinneamar é.
Maynooth Alumni Association Stay Connected, Keep Connected
As is the tradition at Maynooth, the
graduation ceremonies were held in
early September and at the end of
October in the Aula Maxima. Although
the weather was not particularly
kind this year, graduates and their
families travelled from the four
corners of Ireland and beyond to
attend the biggest events of the
year that are held on campus.
An Dr Íde Ní Uallacháin (BA 1975, HDip 1976, MA 1992, PhD 1998)
Bhí eagla Dé orainn ár mbéal a oscailt sa leabharlann
agus d’éirigh linn go leor taighde a dhéanamh dá bharr
sin. Bhí aithne ag na léachtóirí go léir orainn agus é
deacair go leor éalú ó aistí agus tionscnaimh mar gur
cinnte go gcuirfí ceist ort luath go leor cá raibh an
aiste chéanna. Bhí aithne phearsanta ag go leor acu
orainn freisin agus cineáltas ag dul leis – chuir léachtóir
amháin ceist orm, tar éis bhás m’athar sa dara bliain,
an raibh fadhbanna airgid ar bith agam ó cailleadh mo
Dhaid, agus go raibh sé sásta cabhrú liom. Ní raibh – ach
bhí an-mheas agam ar an bhfear as an cheist a chur.
Bhíomar soineanta ar go leor bealaí. Chuamar
amach oíche amháin sa tseachtain – an Déardaoin
– chuig dioscó sa seanhalla i lár an bhaile. Sa chéad
bhliain bhí mise i mo chónaí i mBrú na mBan Rialta
Sailéiseach, Teach Auxilia, ar an gCampas Thuaidh.
Bhí smacht orainn – bhí orainn bheith istigh gach
oíche roimh 11.00, agus 1.30 ar an Déardaoin, nó
chuirfí an doras faoi ghlas! Bí cinnte nár tharla sé
rómhinic gur fágadh lasmuigh den doras sinn.
Sheas mé lasmuigh den Aula mar chailín óg
neirbhíseach I Meán Fómhar 1972 agus sheas mé
arís laistigh den Aula céanna trí bliana ina dhiaidh
sin, ag bronnadh na céime, fásta agus muiníneach
agus an-bhrodúil as an tréimhse a bhí caite agam san
Ollscoil iontach seo. Bhí cairde maithe déanta agam
don chuid eile de mo shaol – Leona, Clare, Mairita,
Mary agus Margaret. Bhí áthas agus brón ag baint leis
na laethanta a chaith mé ansin, ach ócáidí fás a bhí
iontu go léir. Bhí luachanna iontacha i measc lucht na
hollscoile a thug bunús láidir dúinn go léir agus muid
ag tabhairt faoi shaol na hoibre agus na clainne.
Níl agam ach cuimhní maithe ar na blianta a chaith
mé in Ollscoil na hÉireann Má Nuad – blianta i
mbun bunchéime, Ard-Teastas san Oideachas,
Máistreacht agus faoi dheireadh thiar thall I 1998
céim dochtúireachta. Fuair mé mo sheansanna saoil
go léir san Ollscoil seo agus beidh mé riamh buíoch
do m’Alma Mater féin – ní amhain I gcúrsaí oideachais
ach i gcúrsaí grá chomh maith – mar gur san áit seo
ar bhuail mé le m’fhear chéile, a tháinig go Má Nuad
sa bhliain 1969 agus atá fós ann. Lean ceathrar dár
bpáistí sinn isteach in Ollscoil na hÉireann Má Nuad,
sa tslí gur féidir liom a rá go buíoch beannachtach gur
ollscoil saoil é an Coláiste céanna ar mhórán slite.
September graduation ceremonies
saw over 1,850 students conferred
over three days. Included this year
for the first time were graduates
from the BA in Public Policy, BA
in Multimedia International, BBA
in Business and Accounting,
BBS in Business and Accounting
International, BBS in Equine Business
International, as well as the Diploma
in Leadership, Management and
Defence Studies for members
of the Defence Forces and An
Dioplóma i Múineadh na Gaeilge.
1,025 graduates were conferred
in October during which three
new qualifications were awarded;
Honours Degree Bachelor of Arts
(Community and Youth Work)
from the Department of Applied
Social Studies; Higher Diploma in
Further Education from the Froebel
Department of Primary and Early
Childhood Education and the
Bachelor of Science (Biological and
Biomedical Science International).
1. The Reynolds family from Lucan
who are all graduates of NUI
Maynooth,(l-r); Séamus (2012–13
Students’ Union President); Róisín
and Micheál (both conferred with a
BA Double Honours in September
with Saoirse and Cormac.
2. Graduates from the LLM
(Master of Laws); Chang Qi, Megan
O’Connor and Joanna Malek
3. Niamh Kelly, Naz Mohammed,
Aoife Scanlon – all of whom
received an Honours Degree of
Bachelor of Arts (Multimedia).
4. Mother and Daughter Pauline
Rafter from Dunshaughlin, Co.
Meath with her daughter Liann
Rafter who both graduated with a
BA Double Honours in September.
5. BA Double Honours graduates;
Fiona Hartley, Kilkenny; Aoife
Lennon, Longford; and Catherine
Fagan, Co Meath singing in the rain
6. Kate Fitzpatrick, Navan with
her 3 year old daughter Faye
Scott celebrating as she was
conferred a BA Double Honours
7. Graduates of the Department
of LawLLM (Masters of Laws);
Philip Devoy, Jamie Whelan, David
Byrne, Laura Vidal Foi Patience,
John Devenney delighted with
their achievements at the October
graduation ceremonies.
8. Prof Philip Nolan, President,
NUI Maynooth pictured with
graduate Robert Holt NUI
Maynooth rugby scholar who
plays with NUIM Barnhall RFC
9 The Bridge
8 The Bridge
Learning in a
Changing Climate
Dr Conor Murphy’s (alumnus and lecturer with the
Department of Geography, NUI Maynooth) passion
for climate change research takes him to Africa.
When Conor Murphy arrived at NUI Maynooth in
1999 as an undergraduate to study Geography and
English, he did not envisage that in 2013 he would still
be here, having carved out an immensely successful
academic career. Nor did he imagine that he would
be taking his passion for climate change research
to Zambia and Malawi. His latest project, funded
by Irish Aid, is seeking to transform the nature of
engagement between rural communities and policy
makers in addressing the issues of climate change
and food security. The project is strongly focused
on integrating teaching and research and brings
together the expertise of over thirty academics in
the areas of climate change, adult and community
education, agriculture, biology and sociology to
develop a master’s programme and research agenda
for practitioners who work with vulnerable rural
communities in both Zambia and Malawi. Conor sees
geography as a key discipline in this work, bringing an
appreciation of both the physical and social processes
necessary in addressing such complex issues and a
central recognition of the importance and uniqueness
of place in facilitating local scale adaptation.
Conor completed his master’s and doctoral studies
within the Department of Geography where he is now
a permanent member of staff, and Acting Director of
ICARUS – the Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units.
Since realising my love for
geography as a secondary school
student at Gorey Community
School I always wanted to study
the subject at NUI Maynooth.
‘Then, as now, the Department is the strongest
nationally with a very strong international presence
on topics that are highly relevant for society, the
most outstanding of which for me was climate
change. I couldn’t imagine myself studying and
working on this topic anywhere else in Ireland and
Maynooth Alumni Association Stay Connected, Keep Connected
I haven’t been disappointed. As both a student and
staff member colleagues have been supportive,
encouraging and often inspiring, offering a great
environment in which to learn, teach and research.’
Following completion of his PhD studies on
climate change impacts on catchment hydrology
in 2007, Conor’s research interests have evolved
to detecting and attributing change in catchment
hydrology, understanding uncertainty in simulations
of future climate, decision making in adapting to
climate change, understanding the dynamics of
adaptation at local levels. He has published his
work in several leading international journals, most
notable of which is his paper in Nature Climate
Change exploring the role of social contract theory
in understanding the process of adaptation in
response to extreme events. This work has been
shortlisted for the Lloyds Science of Risk Prize 2013.
With colleagues John Sweeney, Rowan Fealy and Steve
McCarron, Conor helped the development of ICARUS
into the largest dedicated climate research centre in
Ireland and highlights the vibrancy and relevance of
the work undertaken by colleagues and researchers
there as central to his own development, particularly
the role of PhD students in pushing the boundaries
of new knowledge. The range of work conducted by
the group on all aspects related to climate change,
and the contribution that has been made to national
policy and international knowledge in the field has
been impressive. Following the recent retirement
of John Sweeney, Conor relishes continuing that
contribution as Acting Director, and continuing to teach
climate change to both undergraduates and students
studying on the MSc in Climate Change programme.
1. Michael Kenny (Adult and Community Education, NUI Maynooth),
Dr David Sibalwa (Zambian Open University ZAOU), Dr Conor Murphy
(Dept of Geography NUI Maynooth), Dr Bernie Grummell and Prof.
Anne Ryan (Adult and Community Education, NUI Maynooth) and Prof.
Mwananyanda Mbikusita Lewanika (Zambiab Open University ZAOU). 2. Prof. Anne Ryan and Conor Murphy from NUI Maynooth
with TEN (Transformative Engagement Network) – the group
delivering the MA Programme in the African Universities
11 The Bridge
10 The Bridge
‘These are the ties that bind
– family, friendships and
a shared alma mater’
Celebrating the
Transition Years –
A Half-Century Later
Family Matters
Denis Bergin (BA 1966) recalls the time he first came to
Maynooth in 1963 and the era it heralded to a socially and
culturally different Ireland of the 1960s. He is a writer and editor
who lives in Co. Offaly and in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
Many alumni have family members who attended the
University over the years. Mother and daughter, Breda and
Maria Sunderland who graduated with BA’s over 30 years
apart, share their memories of college life with the Bridge.
Breda Sunderland (nee Desmond)
We were the ‘transition year’ students,
a motley grouping of youthful promise
from the four corners of Ireland who
were riding out the most traumatic turn
of events in the history of the nation, the
Catholic Church and its institutions. In the early 1960s, a ‘perfect storm’ was
blowing up around the advent of television,
the workings of Vatican II, the awakening
of the oppressed that was to give rise
to three decades of Northern ‘Troubles,’
the prospect of universal free secondary
education, and the opening up of the
protected Irish economy and workplace
to the realities of modern commerce.
For the one hundred members of the
Maynooth entry class of 1963, the effects
were not very noticeable at first. The
solid structures and traditions that had
buoyed up a dozen generations of trainee
pastors for the Irish church protected
us from the harsh edges of change.
But soon the diminishing numbers on the
class list told the truth: at this rate, less
than half of the initial enrolment would
reach their planned destination. It took
a while for the reframing to take place:
most of us were being educated, or had
been educated, for something different
than what we had set out to be.
Our diet of secular knowledge was not
exactly meagre, but it was limited. There
were luminaries among our professorial
corps (O’Fiaich in History, Connolly in
English, McConnell in Maths Physics,
O’Doibhlinn in French), but in some
departments the professors almost
outnumbered the students in any given
year, and those seeking cultural adventure
or intellectual excitement in the broader
context often had to look elsewhere.
The winds of change could be felt, however,
in small advances. Two nuns joined the
Arts course and the post-graduate Higher
Diploma in Education class was opened up
to lay participation in 1966, experiencing an
enrolment explosion in the subsequent years.
And out of what might be regarded as an
unpromising mix in that transitional era
came what might be claimed to be one of
the most impressive cohorts of professors,
educators, public servants and (dare we
say it!) pastors in the College’s history.
So when the Class of ‘63 assembled on
the forecourt of the John Paul II Library
on a Sunday in October 2013, there were
apologies from a Professor of Politics at
Princeton, the current Minister for Trade
and Development in the Irish government,
the founding professor of Ireland’s first
university department of Communications,
and the former Head of Human Resources
at Bournemouth University.
Maynooth Alumni Association Stay Connected, Keep Connected
But we had with us on the day a former
member of the International Monitoring
Commission for Northern Ireland, the former
heads of a half-dozen of the country’s largest
secondary schools, an international authority
on stress in industry and education, a retired
Professor of Classical Philology from the
University of Hamburg, the current chairman
of Dundalk Town Council and the man who
up to recently was the Prior of Lough Derg!
As on most such occasions, the talk was
mostly of student escapades, professorial
quirks, and the perspective that the passage
of time brings to all human endeavours. But underlying the light-hearted banter was
the sneaking suspicion that we were, in fact,
the heralds of a future Maynooth where the
lion of intellectual advancement would lie
down with the lamb of spiritual discernment
to create something unique in the progress
of Irish third-level education. Floreat! 1&2. Members of the Maynooth Science Class of
1963–66: at back: Dick Mohan (Tyrone); front left to
right: Michael Dolan (Leitrim), Christy McQuinn (Carlow),
Larry Fingleton (Laois)… and on the same spot fifty
years later: Michael Dolan, farmer and community leader;
Larry Fingleton, formerly Vice-Principal, Blessington
Vocational School; Christy McQuinn, formerly Principal,
Tullow Community School; Dick Mohan, formerly Prior,
Lough Derg and currently P.P. Clones, Co. Monaghan
BA 1979, MA 1980, PhD 1989
St Patrick’s College in 1976 was on the cusp
of great change; I was a 1st Arts student.
Within a year the North Campus was
open. In ways my undergraduate journey
paralleled the emergence of the university
from a cloistered past towards tentatively
embracing its academic potential. In later
years, as a postgraduate and through
my work, I’ve watched proudly as NUI
Maynooth progressed towards a justifiable
confidence in what it does so well – teaches.
Maynooth was truly an alma mater,
nurturing passion for learning. Special
memories include Patricia Coughlan’s
lectures on ‘Wuthering Heights’ and
Heaney; Tadhg Ó Dúshláine on Ó Riordáin’s
‘Brosna’ and every course taught by Fr
Peter Connolly. I was blessed by inspiring
academic supervisors – John Sweeney,
Peter Denman and, again, Peter Connolly.
A circle of friends wont to talk about
Yeats or ‘Hamlet’ over lunch was such a
privilege – we were serious students!
I’ve worked in Athy College for over 32
years. I enjoy liaising with the University’s
Access office – Ann O’Brien became part
of the tapestry that is ‘My Maynooth.’ I
love when our students – including my
daughter, Maria – opt to study at NUI
Maynooth. This autumn I sat in the Aula
Maxima as Maria was conferred with an
MSc and quietly reflected on the bonds that
Maynooth has forged, between past and
present, between mother and daughter.
Maria Sunderland
BA 2009, PGDE 2010, MSc
(Mathematics for Education) 2012
Having spent the past six years as a
student at NUI Maynooth, I can honestly
say that I chose the right place to study!
As a student of mathematics and
geography, I have many happy memories
of great lecturers. I’ll always be grateful
to Ann O’ Shea for continuing to build
my interest in mathematics as an
undergraduate and as a postgraduate.
John Sweeney, whose geography courses
I loved, was even there in mum’s time!
I enjoyed many visits to the library – often
for a social call! Most special to me are
the friendships forged that will last a
lifetime. I have survived exam fever,
writer’s block, deadlines, Christmas
day in the SU and even a canteen fire!
Currently, I am teaching mathematics and
geography in Piper’s Hill College, Naas.
In Springsteen’s words, ‘These are
the ties that bind’– family, friendships
and a shared alma mater.
A note from
the Editor…
If you or a family member would like to share
your memories of your student days in Maynooth,
we’d love to hear from you.
13 The Bridge
12 The Bridge
Memories &
Where to start? In no particular order:
Sunday night movies in the Aula Maxima. Hoping
they'd finish before last orders in The Roost.
Student Union discos on a Wednesd ay
night in the students’ union building
Rag Week 1994 Responses
Here’s a selection of some of the
comments from our LinkedIn and
Facebook members after we posted the
Rag Week ’94 videos to YouTube:
peal to
Following a successful ap
e is delighted
alumni in 2012, the Bridg
to feature a selection of
ar’s appeal.
we received from this ye
Week ’94
Also, check out the Rag
to YouTube.
videos that we’ve posted
ise anyone
Let us know if you recogn
and do share it with your
Sc (General ) Chemistry class outside Logic House – April 1977
Back: Vincent McCarvill, Tom Slevin, Ger Curtin, Patrick Layola, Francis Mulligan,
Michael Halton, Tommy Byrne. Front: Eamon Mulvihill, Ann McDonald, Sr Nora
Ryan, Michael Nevin, Revd Prof. Michael Casey, Mary Duffy, Tony Shields
Ciarán Nugent (BA 1995)
Wow. That’s me at the 1.00 minute mark
in Episode 2 being kissed by Stephen
Murphy (who was dressed as a woman for
some reason). Dáithí Neligan is the
Crimeline policeman. Others featured
are Joe Donnelly and Denis Clohessy
(the SU president and Vice President).
Joe Donnelly is now a radio producer
and presenter whilst Denis scores
music for theatre and film productions.
I could go on for ages here but I’ll
end by remembering that the Rag Week
t-shirts worn by the Hit Squad were
designed by Deirdre de Barra. She’s
creating comic books these days.
Patricia Rose Love (BA 2003)
What a great place!
Patrick Downey (BA 1997)
I LOVE IT! Great seeing those
old faces. Thanks for posting
and for making my day! :)
Karen O'Hanlon Cohrt (BSc 2007)
I miss Maynooth now!!
that was a glorified shed, at the back
of a field behind the Arts Block.
Bringing over a video tape (yes, it was a long
time ago) for the barman in the students’
union to show a movie and whiling away a
rainy afternoon with some friends there.
The grass getting cut in Joe’s square
and people getting worried as that
was the indicator about how prepared
you should be by then for exams.
Everyone being evacuated from the chemistry
lab by Logic House, due to someone
breaking a thermom eter or some such.
Studying in Loftus Halls in the
evenings, coming up to the exams
and strolling around the Graf.
7. The song contest.
8. The carol service in The Gun at Christm as.
Sitting around in sparsely furnished
student houses, including our own, and
doing nothing of value and enjoying it.
Happy Days (1985-1988)
By Seamus O'Boyle
Kevin Walsh (BSc 1999)
The year I started! Makes me
feel old but great memories :)
Conferring ceremony outside the Aula Maxima, November 1981
Prof John Briody, Mary Lynam (BSc 1981), Prof Peter Carr, Tony Alcock (BSc 1981)
ECTS Students St Joseph’s Square 1993
ughlin and Denise Boles (BA 1994
Evelyn Slye (BA 1994), Niall McLo
1994 – Celebrating their thesis submission
Thomas Leipnitz , Sharon Fides, Bernadette Talty, Prof. Vincent Comerford, Christophe Caron,
Maynooth Alumni Association Stay Connected, Keep Connected
Conor McHugh (BA 1996)
I'm loving the Rag TV videos. I was
actually one of the camera men in
1996. One of the best weeks of my
life! Back when college was still
fun! I was at the Galway Cycle Ball
last Friday night, and got chatting
to a gang of lads who were in
college during that era. Your videos
have prompted great memories!
Annmarie Cudden (BA 2011)
Amazing to think this was almost
twenty years ago. Few flashbacks to
the nineties, hair, clothes and the
ashtray with the cigarettes in. How
times have changed, no more cigarettes
indoors, new canteen, and better
still a new library... Onwards and
upwards Maynooth University, but
thank you to you guys for giving
us something to look back on :)
Graduation Ball
Anne Plunkett (BSc 1981), Teresa Redmond (nee Berrill) (BSc 1981),
Bob McKiernan (BSc 1980), Michael ?(Biology Dept Technician) and Cathal ?(BSc 1980)
A note from
the Editor…
Why not join our Facebook and
LinkedIn Groups so you can be part
of the discussion?
15 The Bridge
14 The Bridge
Minister Quinn
Strategic Plan
Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn TD
and Professor Philip Nolan, President NUI Maynooth
The NUI Maynooth Strategic Plan 2012–2017
was launched in June this year by the Minister
for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, TD.
The Strategic Plan sets out the direction of the
University and our contribution to education and
research until 2017 and focuses on key areas such as
a radical enhancement of undergraduate education,
developing centres of excellence for research, doubling
international student mobility and collaborating with
other institutions domestically and internationally.
Speaking at the launch, University President, Professor
Philip Nolan said: ‘We know the world is changing more
rapidly than at any point in human history, and we asked
ourselves how we can prepare graduates for such a
complex and unpredictable future. Our goal is to be
the best place in Ireland to learn, where we furnish
graduates not just with knowledge and skills, but with the
capacity to reflect, to analyse, to reason, to articulate
clearly their point of view, with the flexibility to adapt
to challenge and change, and with the confidence
and capacity to make their world a better place.’
NUI Maynooth’s Strategic Plan sets out the direction
of the University and its contribution to education until
2017. It focuses on key areas such as creating a liberal
education model, collaborating with other institutions
domestically and internationally and developing centres
of excellence for research and entrepreneurship.
Developing centres of excellence in key areas of research
-- Building on the University’s existing research strengths
to create centres of excellence in information and
communications technology, biochemical sciences, social
and spatial analysis, digital humanities, and innovation
-- Implementing strategic measures to attract
the best researchers and scholars
-- Ensuring that the benefits of university research
flow to the economy and society, building on the
University’s strong record of commercialisation
Further internationalising the University
-- Doubling international student mobility, the number
of international students attending Maynooth
and the number of Maynooth students with an
international experience as part of their degree
-- Creating a vibrant multi-cultural, multi-lingual
environment that will prepare graduates to work
across boundaries, across borders, across cultures
Increased collaboration with other institutions
Key initiatives under the Strategic Plan include:
-- The consolidation of Froebel College of Education to
NUI Maynooth, the 3U Partnership with DCU and
RCSI, and the recently announced partnership
with Athlone Institute of Technology,
Developing a radically different model
of undergraduate education
Speaking at the launch of the Strategic Plan, Minister
for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn TD said: -- Developing new subject combinations across the
sciences, social sciences and humanities to prepare
graduates for emerging roles in the economy and society
‘I am particularly pleased to see
the focus that NUI Maynooth’s
Strategic Plan provides on creating
graduates who can think critically.
-- Ensuring students are highly competent in their own
subject areas, but also giving students structured
opportunities to broaden their education so
they can appreciate different perspectives
and operate in interdisciplinary teams
-- A strong emphasis on the important intellectual skills of
reflection, analysis, critical thinking and problem-solving
I welcome the long-term view that the University has taken.
I too am firmly of the view that education is for life, and
while there is much that needs to and is being reformed
within the system, I am always conscious that the purpose
of any reform is to improve outcomes for students.’
Hitting the Right Note
The University’s Chamber Choir make their debut tour of the US.
In March 2013, the NUI Maynooth Chamber Choir
returned from a hugely successful debut tour of the
US, performing a special St Patrick’s Day Concert
at The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception,
Albany. The tour, which also included performances
in the Leighton Concert Hall, Notre Dame and the
Irish American Heritage Center, Chicago, generated
significant media publicity on St Patrick’s Day radio
in NYC, on Albany state television and in the Irish
Examiner New York edition. US based alumni were
invited to attend these performances which received
standing ovations at each and every venue.
The Choir, consisting of twenty-four singers under the
direction of alumnus and conductor Michael Dawson
(BMus 2011), performed an imaginative and exciting
programme of Irish, European and American choral
music. While in the States, they were invited to perform
live on the Adrian Flannelly Radio Show in New York
on Irish Radio Network USA and to perform for the
‘Fighting’ 69th Infantry Regiment in New York where
they were presented with a Medal of Excellence.
Another tour highlight was their performance for the
Ireland-US Council and Governor Como of New York.
In 2011, the Choir celebrated their 25th anniversary
with a gala performance attended by former President
Mary McAleese as Guest of Honour under the baton
of Maynooth Alumni Advisory Board member, Áengus
O’Maoláin (BMus 2009, MA 2011). The Chamber Choir
also performed at one of the regional finals of the
2013 All-Island School Choir competition which was
recorded by RTÉ in October in the College Chapel.
Membership of the Choir is by audition and is open
to all students and staff of both NUI Maynooth and
St Patrick’s College Maynooth. Members are offered
the chance of choral experience at a very high level
and to date over 250 of the Choir’s graduates have
gone on to take their place in many of Ireland’s
premier choral groups, including Anúna and the
National Chamber Choir. The on-campus work of
the Choir centres each year on its involvement in
the annual Maynooth Carol Services and on a major
end-of-year concert in the College Chapel which
in 2014, will take place on Sunday, 11th May.
Founded in 1986 under Emeritus Professor Gerard
Gillen, the Choir was first directed by alumnus Dr
John O’Keeffe. Since then the Choir has gained
recognition as one of the leading university choirs in
Ireland. It has mainly specialised in the performance
of sacred repertoire from renaissance polyphony to
contemporary works, maintaining a consistent focus
on major works by twentieth-century composers,
stretching from Duruflé, Vaughan Williams and Pizzetti
through to Bernstein, Barber and Part. The Choir
has an established tradition of commissioning and
promoting new music and has presented premières
of a number of pieces by Irish composers.
A note from the Editor…
If you’d like to be kept up to date on music and cultural events
in the University, make sure you’ve registered with our Online
Community at
If you’re a former member of any of the University’s choirs,
the Alumni Office would love to hear from you.
Pictured (l-r); Siobhain Maguire, Amy Gleeson, Mikaela Bonner and Erin Dollard
Maynooth Alumni Association Stay Connected, Keep Connected
17 The Bridge
16 The Bridge
‘In the month since you left, I see
the situation in N. Ireland has
improved tremendously.’
Online Archive
of Spoken Irish from
the 1920s & 30s
Academics from NUI Maynooth have been working with The Royal
Irish Academy, to put a unique record of the sounds of Irish as
it was spoken throughout Ireland in the 1920s and ’30s online. is home to audio
recordings made by Dr Wilhelm
Doegen, who came to Ireland
eighty-five years ago at the
request of the new Ministry of
Education, to make a permanent
record of the spoken language
in all districts in which it was
still spoken. The project ran
from 1928 to 1931, and 136
speakers from 17 counties
recorded 400 stories, songs,
prayers, charms and parables.
The original wax matrices
were transferred to Berlin and
reformatted onto shellac disks.
Although the shellac recordings
have been long known to
linguists, the Academy Library
wanted to make them freely
available to all via a digital
archive on the internet. In 2008,
with a funding grant under the
Higher Education Authority’s
PRTLI4, the Academy Library
commenced a project to
transfer the recordings to the
web, together with annotated
transcripts of content, speaker
details, translations of the
transcripts and other data.
The site is fully bilingual. It
will enable linguistic, folkloric
and musicological research
and teaching, as well as
providing a resource for
family and local history. Lead academic project
partner is Professor Ruairí
Ó hUiginn, Roinn na NuaGhaeilge, NUI Maynooth, and
website editor is Dr Eoghan Ó
Raghallaigh, Roinn na NuaGhaeilge, NUI Maynooth.
The project also benefitted
from work done by Maynooth
students Siobhán Barrett and
Líadan Ní Chearbhaill under
the NUI Maynooth Summer
Programme for Undergraduate
Researchers (SPUR).
About Dr Wilhelm Doegen
Dr Wilhelm Doegen (1877–1967)
was Director of the Lautabteilung,
Preussische Staatsbibliothek (the
Sound Department at the Prussian
State Library), Berlin. Doegen had
made recordings with the Odeon
Recording Company, Berlin (1909–14)
for the purpose of teaching foreign
languages at the Borsig High School,
where he was employed as a teacher.
During World War I, he visited 70
POW camps where he recorded over
250 languages and dialects, as well
as examples of traditional music. The
prisoners of war recited the Parable
of the Prodigal Son in their own
language and dialect for comparative
purposes. This work resulted in the
production of 1,650 shellac records.
In 1926 the Irish government asked
Dr Doegen to make recordings of
Irish speech in the Gaeltacht and in
areas of the country where Irish had
suffered decline. Suitable speakers
were secured and arrangements
were made for them to be recorded.
Speakers were transferred to the
recording location where they were
expected to sing a song, tell a story,
recite a version of the Parable of the
Prodigal Son (based on a copy supplied
to them in advance), count numbers or
recite a prayer. The recordings were
made on wax matrices which were
then transported to Berlin where
they were converted to shellac.
Siobhán Fitzpatrick, Royal Irish Academy
Librarian, Professor Luke Drury, Royal Irish
Academy President, and Dr Eoghan Ó Raghallaigh,
Roinn na Nua-Ghaeilge, NUI Maynooth
Maynooth Alumni Association Stay Connected, Keep Connected
Helen Fallon, Sr Majella McCarron, Dr Íde Corley, Dr Owens
Wiwa, Prof. Philip Nolan, Baroness Nuala O’Loan, Dr Anne
O’Brien (Kairos Communications) and Dr Lawrence Fox
Silence Would
be Treason
NUI Maynooth publishes book and audio archive
to mark the 18th anniversary of the death of
human-rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa.
A book of letters and poems written by Nigerian
environmental and human rights activist and Nobel
Peace Prize nominee Ken Saro-Wiwa, was launched
at NUI Maynooth on November 8th by his brother,
Dr Owens Wiwa, to mark the 18th anniversary of his
execution by the then Nigerian military regime.
The book, ‘Silence Would be Treason, last writings of Ken
Saro-Wiwa’ features the private letters written by Ken SaroWiwa to Irish missionary nun Sister Majella McCarron (OLA)
while he was on death row, as well as a selection of his poems. Ken Saro-Wiwa was the author of poetry, short stories,
novels, children’s books and various pieces of journalism. He
produced work for radio and wrote a topical television series
that satirized the get-rich-quick mentality of his countrymen
and women. Much of his fiction addressed current Nigerian
socio-political and economic issues. He was a member of
the small ethnic group, the Ogoni, numbering over half a
million people who inhabit a small region in the South East
of the Niger Delta. Over 100 oil wells, a petrochemical
complex and two oil refineries were located in the area.
Smuggled out of his detention centre in bread baskets,
the letters document Ken’s painful transition from
political activist to political prisoner, his courageous
efforts to protect the Niger Delta, and an enduring
friendship with Sister Majella. The letters also address
the growing political instability in Nigeria, the writer’s
hopes for peace in Northern Ireland, and his passion
for peace and justice throughout the world.
The letters were donated two years ago to the University
by Sister Majella, a native of Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh, who
first met Ken during the 1990s, on foot of NUI Maynooth
sociology students’ involvement in environmental
campaigning. The resulting book was edited by Dr Íde Corley,
Helen Fallon and Dr Laurence Cox of NUI Maynooth.
The strong bond between Saro-Wiwa, who is considered
to be one of the great humanitarian figures of the late
20th century, was strengthened following Saro-Wiwa’s
arrest and detention as Sr Majella became his lifeline to
the outside world. He shared with her his despair at his
incarceration and also the comfort he received from their
correspondence. In one letter, dated the 16th September
1994, he wrote, ‘In the month since you left, I see the situation
in N. Ireland has improved tremendously. The possibility
of peace is so comforting, I hope it happens. 25 years is
a long time to be fighting, surely. God grant that it works.
Nigeria has progressively gone down the drains to its worst
possible nadir. With all sensible newspapers banned, a
lot of people in detention & laws which establish that the
dictatorship cannot be challenged in court, we are in real
trouble, to say the least.’ She was to receive his final letter
one month after his execution by hanging. He also sent her
a number of his poems which had not yet been published.
At the launch, the University also unveiled a new Ken
Saro-Wiwa Audio Archive in the Library. The audio
archive, a joint initiative between NUI Maynooth Library
and Kairos Communications, features a collection
of recordings including extensive interviews with
Sister Majella, speaking of her childhood in County
Fermanagh, her decision to join a religious order, working
in Nigeria and meeting Ken Saro-Wiwa, and her efforts
to save his life and the lives of the Ogoni Nine. The web-based audio archive is on open
access at
19 The Bridge
18 The Bridge
Adding to the
Experience –
Clubs & Societies
the years
For many, clubs and societies are considered
to be the lifeblood of extra-curricular activity
on campus. These student-led groups provide
every student with an opportunity to get
involved in activities outside of the lecture
halls, to try new activities they might never have
considered before becoming a student and to
acquire skill sets which became invaluable to
them when they entered the working world.
Traditionally, there have always been two
major highlights of the academic year for
clubs and societies – Clubs & Societies Fairs
Day and Clubs & Societies Awards Night.
Clubs & Societies Fairs Day, which takes place at
the start of every academic year, has consistently
proved to be the main method of recruiting
members. Originally held in the Aula Maxima on
the South Campus until 1991, it was transferred to
the Sports Complex where it has been held every
year since then (bar one when the new Phoenix
Restaurant was being built). Over the years, the
University has seen the formation of a diverse
and eclectic mix of clubs and societies. Societies
in the 1980s, which included the Caradas Society,
Maynooth Alumni Association Stay Connected, Keep Connected
Nigerian Students Union, and the Social Action
Group, reflected the social and cultural landscape
of that decade. Some of the more traditional
societies such as the Biology Society and the
Sociology Society are still in existence today.
Another key date on the student activities
calendar is the Clubs & Societies Awards Night.
This event had humble beginnings under Mags
Murphy and Ronan Barry (SU President and
Vice-President) in the academic year 1994 / 95
when the ceremony was hosted in the SU Bar.
However, as its popularity soared, the event was
transferred to the local Glenroyal Hotel where it
has gone from strength to strength each year.
2014 is the 20th anniversary of the
Clubs & Societies Awards Night and
we would like to invite any alumni
who served as a committee member
with a club or society over the years
to get in touch and register their
interest in a reunion event. Just email
[email protected] stating the year
and club or society you were involved
with. We’d love to hear from you!
1. Grace Crehan, President of the Rugby
Club celebrates with her club mates as
they win the Best Club Award at the 2009
Clubs and Societies Awards night
2. Enjoying Clubs & Societies Fairs Day 2/10/2013
A number of our society winners have gone on
to achieve national recognition of their efforts
at the Board of Irish College Societies (BICS)
National Society of the Year Awards including;
Paul Donnelly (Best Society Individual 2008),
Lydia Farrell (Best Fresher 2008), GLB Society
(Best Society 2008), Erin Barclay (Best Individual
2009), Spotlight Fashion Show (Best Event 2010),
Anthropology Society (Most Improved Society
2012), Finomics Society (Best New Society 2013).
21 The Bridge
20 The Bridge
1. Investment Funds Industry
Offers Job Opportunities for
Award-Winning Graduates
Two NUI Maynooth students have
won awards for their work during an
innovative new funds law course taught
at the University. The investment funds
industry is a growth area for jobs in Ireland,
employing about 12,000 people. NUI
Maynooth anticipates that its new funds
law course, launched earlier this year, will
open opportunities for its graduates.
Andrew Norry and Tomás Nolan were
presented with their awards on 30
September at the offices of Dublin law
firm Matheson. Andrew Norry won the
prize for best overall student, winning
a 6-month internship at Matheson.
NUI Maynooth partnered with Matheson
to create the first-ever funds law module
available at an Irish university earlier this
year. In a unique collaboration between
academia and industry, Liz Grace of
Matheson designed the course and taught
the students at Matheson’s docklands
headquarters every week. She is Visiting
Professor in Funds Law at NUI Maynooth.
The funds law module formed part of
the Master of Laws Degree and the
Master of International Business Law
Degree offered by NUI Maynooth.
Pictured (l-r); Andrew Norry, Winner Matheson
Funds Law Intern 2013, Liz Grace, Matheson,
Visiting Professor in Funds Law and Prof. Michael
Doherty, Head of NUI Maynooth Law School
2. Young Scientist Tanzania
Now in its Second Year
NUI Maynooth is pleased to announce its
association with the second year of the
Young Scientist Tanzania Exhibition, the
genesis of which occurred when trainees
from Tanzania were in Ireland through a
project hosted by researchers at Maynooth.
Young Scientist Tanzania aims to promote
and popularise science and technology
by linking these disciplines to social
themes, such as active citizenship and
the fight against poverty. Participating
secondary-school students generate the
ideas for their projects under four broad
categories – Biological and Ecological
Sciences, Chemical, Mathematical and
Physical Sciences, Social and Behavioural
Sciences, and Technology – based on
the realities within their communities. The Young Scientist Tanzania is the only
example of its kind in sub-Sarharan Africa. More than sixty projects from eighteen
of the twenty-three regions of Tanzania
were competing for twelve awards.
Pictured (l-r); Aisha Nduku, Monica Shinina and
Nengai Moses from Kibosho Girls Secondary School
in Kilimanjaro are honoured at NUI Maynooth.
3. Irish Universities Pledge to Help
Small Business Succeed in China
A group of five Irish Universities and
Institutes of Technology, led by NUI
Maynooth have come together to
support small businesses in China. The
Ireland-China International Strategic
Collaboration Programme (ISCP) funded
by Science Foundation Ireland aims to
unlock the experience of many years
of research operation in China to help
companies make their first moves into
the world’s second largest economy. The ISCP University partners include NUI
Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin, DCU, DIT
and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The SFI supported event brings together
Enterprise Ireland and the IDA in a unique
single venue to support Irish Business.
Discussing the initiative, Professor Bernard
Mahon, VP Research said: ‘As the recent
international financial crisis has engulfed
the economies of the western world, the
importance of the Chinese economy on
the world stage has never been more
evident. The Chinese domestic consumer
market continues to go from strength
to strength, and Chinese companies
are now increasingly emerging as not
only out-sourcing partners for western
business, but also as competitors to
these same businesses. With these
Maynooth Alumni Association Stay Connected, Keep Connected
market trends in mind it is becoming
more important Irish Universities to
support the business community to gain
a greater understanding of the Chinese
economy, and Chinese society’. Further information at
Pictured (l-r); Prof. Bernie Mahon, Vice-Pres for
Research, NUI Maynooth; Shelly Xiong, Senior Partner,
Haoliwen Partners; Bernard Durkan, TD, Vice Chairman
Foreign Affairs Committee, Xiaochuang Wu, Chinese
Embassy, Brian Harrison, Science Foundation Ireland
4. Breakthrough for
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
A research team led by Professor Paul
Moynagh, Head of the Department
of Biology has made a breakthrough
discovery by identifying a protein
‘Pellino3’ that may protect against
inflammatory bowel diseases such as
Crohn’s disease. The research findings
have been accepted and published in the
prestigious ‘Nature Immunology’ journal.
The research team has discovered a crucial
role for a protein, Pellino3, in controlling
unwanted inflammation in the intestine
and therefore protecting against the
development of Crohn’s disease. According
to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of
America, 1 in 200 Americans struggle
with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, while
in Europe it is estimated that upward
of two million are suffering with it.
When chronic inflammation occurs
in the intestine, this can lead to
conditions known as inflammatory
bowel diseases of which Crohn’s disease
is an especially debilitating strand.
The team at NUI Maynooth has discovered
that the levels of Pellino3 are dramatically
reduced in Crohn’s disease patients, which
is a major advance in the understanding
of inflammatory diseases of the digestive
system. The team is now building on these
findings and aims to use Pellino3 as the
basis for a new diagnostic for Crohn’s
disease and as a target in the design of
drugs to treat this incurable disease.
5. 3U Partnership and Ikea Combine
to Highlight Diabetes Risk
A novel way to reach the estimated
30,000 Irish people with undiagnosed
diabetes, and the many thousands
more at risk of developing diabetes
was launched earlier this year at IKEA’s
Dublin store by the 3U Partnership
comprising academics from NUI Maynooth,
Dublin City University (DCU) and Royal
College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).
On varying days, the free IKEA tape
measures that customers pick up to
help with their purchasing will also carry
the critical waistline markers –
32 inches for women and 37 inches for
men – that are the globally recognised
indicators of risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Dr Jan Rigby, Head of Geography at NUI
Maynooth said the idea to approach IKEA
came about during the consortium’s study
over the past year: ‘What we found time and
again was that often people in Ireland were
completely unaware of what their waist
sizes were. And I think that’s partially
linked to another modern phenomenon.
The tape measure in the sewing box was
once commonly available to keep track
of family heights and waistlines so we
wanted to bring the tape measure back
into people’s lives and were delighted
that IKEA decided to come on board.’
She added that customers could take
the tape measures home and use them
for a handy reference guide in the future.
Pictured (l-r); Prof. Philip Nolan, President, NUI
Maynooth; Dr Ruth Davis, Director, 3U Partnership
and Prof. Brian MacCraith, President, DCU
6. Maynooth Education Forum
In the summer of 2013, NUI Maynooth
hosted the inaugural Education Forum,
an event which will become an annual
platform for open and honest dialogue,
and stimulating debate. The 2013 Forum,
entitled ‘Irish Education: Differing
Views, Developing Visions’, brought
together the very brightest and best in
modern thinkers, strategists, academics
and practitioners to analyse topics
such as What is An Educated Person?
Is Higher Education Educating? and
Schools for the 21st Century. 7
The event featured speakers including
Professor Richard Pring of Oxford
University, Professor Richard Arum of
New York University, Dr Kevin Marshall,
Head of Education at Microsoft Ireland
and Sean O’Foghlú, Secretary General
at the Department of Education
and Skills, with lively contributions
from panellists and the floor.
The University welcomes your
attendance and contribution at future
events which will be run as part of
Maynooth Education Forum.
Pictured at the event are Dr Kevin Marshall, Microsoft
Ireland; Prof. Richard Pring, Oxford University;
Prof. Richard Arum, New York University and
Prof. Philip Nolan, President, NUI Maynooth
7. NUI Maynooth Tops Irish
Rankings in World’s Best
‘New’ Universities
In June this year NUI Maynooth was named
as the highest placed Irish university in
the Times Higher Education (THE) 100
Under 50 rankings, which lists the leading
new universities in the world. The ranking
which focuses on the world's best 100
universities less than 50 years old, is now
in its second year and NUI Maynooth,
named at #74, retains its position as
the top-ranked Irish institution. The survey helps identify which
countries are challenging the US and
UK as the next education powerhouses. Universities are ranked according to
a range of criteria including research
income achieved, reputation for teaching,
numbers of PhDs awarded, the number
and quality of scholarly papers and
citations from staff and numbers of
international staff and students. Commenting on the rankings NUI Maynooth
President Professor Philip Nolan said,
‘It is important not to place too much
emphasis on rankings of this nature as
they are largely subjective and fail to
capture the full value of a university’s
work, however this does underline that
the tremendous achievements of NUI
Maynooth since its foundation continue
to be internationally recognised.’ Full details on the Times Higher
Education 100 Under 50 at www.
8. Official Opening of the Library
NUI Maynooth’s library building
was also officially opened by the
Minister for Education and Skills,
Ruairi Quinn in June this year.
At a total size of 10,000sqm, the
University’s library caters for a diverse
range of study styles ranging from
social and collaborative to silent and
individual. The library features fullyequipped seminar and group study rooms
for groups, complete with computer
access and interactive whiteboards to
aid collaborative study activities and
meets the changing needs of students
with longer opening hours, particularly
flexible during exam times, and extensive
electronic resources and services.
Professor Philip Nolan thanked those
who had brought the project to fruition.
‘This new library building represents an
investment of €20 million by the State,
an investment from which generations
of students will benefit. I would like
to thank all those in Government, the
Department of Education and Skills,
the Higher Education Authority and the
design and construction teams as well
as the staff here in the University for
making this a reality for our students.’
Pictured (l-r); Prof. Philip Nolan, President, NUI Maynooth,
with Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn at
the launch of the University’s Strategic Plan 2012-17
This does underline that the tremendous achievements
of NUI Maynooth since its foundation continue
to be internationally recognised.
Prof. Philip Nolan
23 The Bridge
22 The Bridge
Where Are Our…
Sr Isabelle Smyth
Mary Lynam
BA 1969, MA 1970
BSc 1981
I went to Maynooth in 1966 when it first
opened to women students – there
were only seven of us there in my first
year and the late David Thornley was
our lecturer. I witnessed the present
campus being built brick by brick.
I graduated from Maynooth with a BSc.
(hons) in Biology and Chemistry in 1981.
In 1985 I obtained an MS in Chemistry
from the University of Notre Dame. After
graduation I worked at the University of
Minnesota, and Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute (NY) and the University of
Michigan (Ann Arbor). I returned to school
and graduated with a PhD in Environmental
Health Sciences from the University of
Michigan in 2003. From there I moved to
North Carolina to pursue postdoctoral
research at the US Environmental
Protection Agency in Research Triangle
Park. In 2007 I returned to Michigan to
teach in the Science and Mathematics
Department at Marygrove College, Detroit.
In 2010 I became a Research Investigator
in the Department of Environmental
Health Sciences at the University of
Michigan. I am a member of a group that
characterizes constituents in air pollution,
e.g. particulate matter, mercury, trace
element etc. My job entails, field monitoring
of air pollutants, laboratory analysis and
manuscript writing, all of which I love.
I belong to the Medical Missionaries
of Mary (MMM). My first assignment
after graduation took me to Tanzania
in the inspiring times of Julius Nyerere.
I was the Administrator of a small
but very busy mission hospital at
Makiungu - a semi-desert area.
After that I spent six years as Secretary
General of MMM and my next assignment
was to Brazil where I was greatly influenced
by Paulo Freire and his pedagogy of the
oppressed, as well as by liberation theology.
I was recalled to Ireland after seven
years to work at the Communications
Desk of the Irish Missionary Union,
and later ran the Communications
Department for MMM, editing the
Yearbook ‘Healing & Development’.
This job took me travelling to USA, UK,
Nigeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda,
Malawi, Rwanda and back to my beloved
Tanzania. I am now kept busy as Writer in
Residence with MMM based in Dublin.
Since 2005 I have been involved with the
Irish anti-human-trafficking campaign
known as APT (Act to Prevent Trafficking).
I am the Website Content Manager of Maynooth Students
actually feature in our masthead
helping this campaign. In October 2013
APT collaborated with the Maynooth
chaplaincy and Social Justice Week
to bring a Belfast theatre company,
called Spanner in the Works, to the
Student Centre to stage their riveting
play about human trafficking, Diablo.
I believe tackling the problem of
human trafficking is the cutting
edge of Christian mission today!
My days in Maynooth were filled with great
times, great professors, students, friends,
parties, dances etc. There is so much about
my education there that makes me realise
how progressive and forward looking a
place it was in the 1980s. During my last
year of studies, there were ten of us in the
BSc (hons) cohort. We had small lecture
classes, engaged in undergraduate research
and interacted with faculty on a daily basis.
Thirty years later, research is considered
a must in the undergraduate curriculum in
the Science Technology Engineering and
Mathematics (STEM) fields in the United
States. Maynooth was also ahead of its
time with respect to the presence of women
faculty in STEM fields notably, Professors
Anne Burnell (Biology) and Susan McKenna
Lawlor (Physics) who were my teachers
and role models who inspired me to pursue
a career in the sciences. My education at
Maynooth prepared me to pursue further
studies in the US and compete with the
brightest and best from around the globe.
Maynooth Alumni Association Stay Connected, Keep Connected
Alumni Now?
Sean Ryan
Mark Neville
BA 1989
BA 1991, 1992 HDip Ed
Elaine Collins
In 1985 I went to Maynooth to study
for the priesthood and lived on the ’Old
Campus’ in different buildings. College life
included singing (Chapel Choir and Choral
Society), sport (soccer and swimming)
and dramatics. On Saturdays I took the
number 66 bus to explore Dublin. I would
board the Nesters bus at the Leinster
Arms to travel to Ballinasloe for holidays.
In 1989 I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts
(Hons) in History and Geography. I studied
other subjects: Philosophy, French, English
and German. After a year studying theology
I decided that priesthood was not for me.
After moving to London in 1990 I got a
job working as a curator at the Science
Museum where I set up the Documentation
Centre and then worked as information
manager on the Wellcome Wing project.
In 1996 I worked in the private sector as
a consultant at A.T. Kearney and Ernst &
Young. My education continued with an
MSc in Information Science from City
University and learning French and Italian.
In 2000 I moved to Paris working at Ernst &
Young Consulting then at the headquarters
of Capgemini’s French business as a senior
communications manager. Since 2012, I
am an executive coach, communications
consultant and corporate journalist working
with French and international companies.
Life can be an interconnected journey as my
contact with NUI Maynooth continues by
attending seminars at the Centre Culturel
Irlandais given by visiting lecturers. In May
2013 I successfully passed the University’s
Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge A1 exam. I
am also in charge of communications
for the Irish Chaplaincy Paris.
Since leaving Maynooth in 1992 after
completing a BA and HDip Ed, I managed
to get a job at Castleknock College for six
years. During this time I married my lovely
wife Brenda (née O’Shea) who also is a past
student of Maynooth having graduated
in 1991 with a BA Th. We took a career
break in 1998 and travelled to Australia
on a one year work/holiday visa. Having
visited New Zealand during this time, we
decided to return there once we finished
our year. Since arriving in New Zealand in
2000, we have had three children Daniel
12, David 10 and Leah 4 and are very well
settled in this beautiful country. Currently
I am a Year Head at St Peter’s College in
Auckland where Brenda is also teaching.
We have very fond memories of Maynooth
as this is where we meet and it will always
be a special place for us. Having gone back
to Ireland in 2008 for my sister’s wedding,
we popped in to show them the campus and
look around. Lots of great memories came
flooding back and of note was how friendly
and warm everyone was there and the great
friendships that were made. I can’t believe
that it is 25 years since I first attended – it
doesn’t feel like it one bit! The years have
been good to Brenda and me and for those
of you who have not been to New Zealand,
I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Mark Wehrly
BSc 1999, HDip
Mathematics 2000
BA 2002, PhD 2009
I will always remember my time in
Maynooth as one of the happiest periods
in my life. My studies with the Science
Department provided me with a knowledge
base and skill-set that helped me to forge a
career with Dell over the last twelve years.
I must admit that even though my science
degree brought with it a heavy schedule
of lectures and labs, I still found time to
enjoy the social aspects of the college
with some memorable nights of fun and
laughter spent in The LA, The Roost and at
SU bar Extensions. It was however, during
a hectic, end of year revision session in the
JP2 library that I met my future husband
and even though he was an Arts student,
Mick Grogan and I finally tied the knot in
September, after almost 16 years together.
Although my academic life got off to a
shaky start, after a repeat of first year,
I embraced the challenge and went on
to complete a post grad in applied and
theoretical statistics. The day after
finishing my final exams, I started work in
the Department of Finance but after a brief
stint (a year); I left the security of the civil
service and started work with Dell Inc. My
first years were spent as a business analyst
and after many interesting and diverse
roles I am currently the worldwide Director
of Customer Experience for
It is difficult to convey just how much the
Maynooth experience gave me, I will always
be grateful for the valuable life lessons
learned there but primarily it offered
me the opportunity to discover how to
survive and thrive in an environment unlike
anything I had previously experienced.
If you’d like to get in touch,
you can find me on LinkedIn;
Maynooth was a very different place on
the eve of the millennium when I started
my academic career, studying English and
History. On campus in 1999, there were
fewer students, fewer buildings, and lots
of talk of the Y2K bug causing chaos!
Three years later I graduated on the day
the world marked the first anniversary
of the cataclysmic events of 9/11. The
world was a very different place.
I recall a particularly energetic and
enthusiastic debate surrounding those
events in my final BA year. Despite many
differences of opinion, there was a great
sense of collegiality and togetherness.
We were – students and teachers alike
– united in our desire to make sense of
the post-9/11 world – and to cheer on
Ireland (sadly without Roy Keane) at
the World Cup in Korea and Japan!
Doing Arts was a great fit for me because it
gave me lots of options. After graduating,
I worked as a journalist for 18 months
in the sports department at Ireland on
Sunday (now the Irish Mail on Sunday).
I came back to NUI Maynooth to do a PhD
in history in 2004, and went through a
very different – but equally rewarding –
second career in Maynooth, forging new
friendships and exploring new horizons,
both intellectually and in ‘the college of life’.
Since graduating in 2009, I worked in
various academic institutions as a lecturer
in journalism and history, before fate called
me back to Maynooth once more in my
current job as a National Administrator
with the Golfing Union of Ireland, whose
headquarters are in Carton House.
25 The Bridge
24 The Bridge
University Company
Develops Online
System to Increase
Intellectual Ability
Irish research reveals it is possible to increase
intelligence – significant increase in students’ IQ levels.
A new spin-out company from NUI Maynooth has
demonstrated that it is possible to increase intelligence
levels and has developed an online programme which
can measurably increase intellectual ability.
The company,, has developed
the ‘SMART’ (Strengthening Mental Abilities with
Relational Training) programme which equips the user
with the cognitive skills which lay the foundation for
better intelligent reasoning and thinking and increases
intelligence levels. Unlike ’brain training’ products on the
market which merely enhance memory, SMART improves
the ability to reason logically and think clearly, so it
also leads to improvements in verbal ability, perceptual
reasoning and speed of information processing.
The system has been trialled in Irish schools with the
latest research showing primary school students
experienced an average IQ rise of 23 points.
An increase in IQ above 10 points represents a
significant increase in intellectual ability. Evidence
shows that increases in the IQ levels of SMART
participants are still in place four years later.
The latest trials were conducted with 15 students
from Rathmore National School in Athboy, Co
Meath where students took training exercises
two to three times weekly for over four months.
SMART training helps to improve skills such as
vocabulary, abstract thinking, concentration, memory,
judgement, task management, alertness to detail,
eye-hand coordination, non-verbal reasoning, planning
ability and processing speed for information.
Results from the latest trial included:
-- Average IQ rise among students of 23 points
-- The average IQ of the children before their
SMART training was 97 (Average). After training
it was 120 (Superior Intellectual Functioning).
-- In two cases, diagnoses of dyslexia were
revised following improvements in reading
skills that resulted from SMART training
-- Lowest IQ level rose from 84 before
training to 106 following the training
-- Highest IQ level rose from 119 before
training to 140 following the training
-- 2 children moved from the low average
range into the average range
-- 4 children moved from average to high average,
1 moved from high average to superior
-- 4 children moved from average to superior,
2 children moved from high average to
exceptional intellectual functioning (gifted)
The SMART system is based on Relational Frame
Theory, which has been developed over the past
20 years and concludes that the development of
relational skills, i.e. understanding words and numbers
in terms of how they are related to other words and
numbers (the relational concepts of Same, Opposite,
More than, Less than, Before, After, and so on) is
critical to intellectual development. Behavioural
analysis research has shown that relational skills are
fundamental to all the main features of intellectual
development in education such as reading, writing,
vocabulary, problem solving and mathematics.
The SMART programme was developed by Dr Bryan
Roche, Lecturer in Psychology at NUI Maynooth
and Dr Sarah Cassidy, Psychologist and Licensed
Psychometrician, who designed a series of training
programmes (55 in total) packaged into an online
game where users acquire points as they advance
through the levels. The team is currently launching the
programme internationally to the general public. Discussing SMART training, Dr Bryan Roche, Lecturer in
Psychology at NUI Maynooth said: ‘Much of what we need
to know in order to solve problems cannot be figured
out by the brain on its own and involves skills rather than
mere brain mass. The skills that make up intelligence relational skills – must be learned and even a brain that
is highly developed has to learn how to solve problems.
The SMART system, unlike some ‘brain training’ games,
does not work by merely enhancing memory, it improves
the ability to reason logically and think clearly, so it
also leads to improvements in verbal ability, perceptual
reasoning and speed of information processing.
The programme we have developed
teaches a range of basic ‘relational
skills’ that facilitate more
intelligent thinking. Relational
skills were first discovered by
psychologists using a theory known
as Relational Frame Theory, which
over the past two decades has
revolutionised the way we think
about learning and intelligence.’
The SMART programme is suitable for both
adults and children and is designed to improve
performance in school, at work and in normal dayto-day decision making and problem solving.
The programme is available online
Dr Bryan Roche, Dr Sarah Cassidy and John
Chambers with the pupils of Rathmore NS.
Maynooth Alumni Association Stay Connected, Keep Connected
Help us
award alumni
Enjoy a great rate with the NUI Maynooth
Affinity Credit Card and each time you
use your Bank of Ireland Affinity card a
percentage of every transaction supports
NUI Maynooth in the following areas:
 Provides scholarships for our Alumni
 Adds to the development of the
University library
 Contributes to the construction of our
new education building
Funds from the Maynooth Affinity Card have
provided scholarships for Sarah Ryan and her MA in
Mathematics, Alan Clarke and his MSocSc in Social
Science and Tara McDonald and her MA in Digital
Humanities pictured here with Professor Ronan Reilly,
Dean of International and Graduate Studies.
To apply:
Visit any Bank of Ireland branch
' or call 1890 365 100
You must be over 18 to apply for a credit card. Lending Criteria, terms and
conditions apply. Credit cards are liable to Government Stamp Duty annually.
Currently e30 per account.
Bank of Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.