All 2012

Michael Cusack Online Exhibition at NUI Galway

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

NUI Galway is currently running an online exhibition of unique personal material relating to the founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) Michael Cusack. The GAA, which remains a dominant force in Ireland's cultural and sporting life, was founded in 1884 as a highly influential element of the Irish cultural renaissance of the late nineteenth century and of Ireland's struggle to re-establish its own political, linguistic and cultural identity. In 2007 the nieces of Michael Cusack's daughter-in-law, Kathleen O'Connell, donated a collection of documents and photographs associated with Cusack and his family to the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway. Among the most important historical items in the collection are the complete minutes of the Dublin Hurling Club, from 1883. Cusack was Vice-President of the club, a predecessor to the national organisation founded the following year. In addition, there is a diary kept by Cusack on a visit to his native Clare in 1902 and a range of personal, biographical and photographic material on Cusack's family. Many of these items are now available as part of this online exhibition created by the NUI Galway's Library archives service.  This is one of a number of digital resources and exhibitions created by the archives service to promote access to its valuable collections. Fergus Fahey, Digitalisation Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “Aside from its value for researchers into the cultural forces at work in that seminal period, and in particular the events leading up to the foundation of the GAA, the collection is unique in constituting the only known surviving material in Cusack’s own hand. It also provides an unparalleled insight into the resilient personality of Cusack, the private family man, and his vibrant and gentle wit.” Croke Park's famous Cusack Stand takes its name from Michael Cusack (1847–1906), one of eight men present at the founding of the GAA in Hayes's Commercial Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary on 1 November 1884.  Cusack was appointed honorary secretary of the new organisation, whose aim was to promote and codify Gaelic games. Prior to the founding of the GAA Cusack had founded the short-lived Dublin Hurling Club in February 1883 and Metropolitan Hurling Club in December 1883. As well as his involvement in Gaelic sport, Michael Cusack a teacher by profession was a prolific journalist, contributing to titles such as United Ireland, Celtic Times, Shamrock, Fáinne an Lae and The Nation.  Many of these titles are available in the James Hardiman Library's Special Collections.  The Michael Cusack collection is available to view at -ENDS-

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Staying One Step Ahead of Disaster

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Ireland is now part of an academic network which hopes to improve disaster preparedness in cities worldwide. NUI Galway’s experts have joined with 67 other universities in efforts to increase society’s resilience to natural and man-made disasters. The project, called ANDROID (Academic Network for Disaster Resilience to Optimise Educational Development), aims to promote co-operation and innovation among European higher education institutions to increase society’s resilience to disasters of human and natural origin – such as earthquakes or the damage caused by ongoing wars. ANDROID, supported by an EU grant worth €800,000, will run for three years and is led by University of Salford’s Centre for Disaster Resilience, based in the UK. So far a consortium of partners from 64 European higher education institutions has embarked on the project, joined by three institutions from Australia, Canada and Sri-Lanka. Alexandra Revez from the School of Geography and Archaeology and the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy at NUI Galway, whose current research looks at flooding issues in Ireland, explains: “We need to stay one step ahead of disaster, and be prepared for all kinds of eventualities. In the case of earthquakes, this might involve strict building regulations, in the case of flash flooding this might involve public preparedness.” Over three years, the consortium partners will describe, analyse and compare the capacity of European cities and higher education institutions to address disaster risk. ANDROID will provide the link between the research and the public, helping to reinforce the connection between education and society. “There is now recognition of the need for collaboration on a large scale that involves a plurality of actors. ANDROID is based on an inter-disciplinary consortium of partners that comprises scientists from applied human, social and natural disciplines. Addressing disaster risk is an endless or continuous process that cannot stop,” said Professor Amaratunga from the Centre for Disaster Resilience. The project was inspired by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) 'Making Cities Resilient' campaign. The campaign advocates widespread commitment by local governments to build resilience to disasters, increase national government support to cities to strengthen local capacities and to develop global goals that are applicable for all cities. The next phase of ANDROID will involve using all the data collected by the consortium partners to create laws and other practical measures to build resilience. The Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy at NUI Galway is the largest national multi-disciplinary research hub focused on building an internationally-recognised programme of research-led impacts, as well as activity contributing to public policy debates and contemporary societal issues facing Ireland and Europe. The Institute fosters a culture of research excellence by bringing together scholastic strengths from the College of Business, Public Policy and Law and the College of Arts, Social Science and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, and also facilitates, supports and enhances existing and emerging collaborative research interactions nationally and internationally. For more information, please visit -ends-

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Launch of Ryan Institute GIS Centre at NUI Galway

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

NUI Galway’s Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Nollaig Mac Congáil, officially launched the GIS Centre in the Ryan Institute this week. This event took place as part of the new international conference of 2012 Sino-European Symposium on Environment and Health (SESEH 2012) in the Bailey Allen Hall. ‘GIS’, Geographical Information System and/or Science, covers both technology and a rapidly growing science. It is used for analysing spatial data in many sectors of society, ranging from economics, government, business, and environmental management. The most popular applications of GIS in society are Google Earth and GPS navigation systems. Dr Chaosheng Zhang, Head of the GIS Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This is a milestone for the University. We have received wide support from all colleges of the University and I am confident that the GIS Centre will grow quickly.” Director of NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, Professor Colin Brown, congratulated Dr Zhang on the organisation of SESEH and his assistance in establishing the GIS Centre. “The GIS Centre is already beginning to affect the way our researchers collaborate across a wide range of topic areas. We have developed an expertise that allows us to provide practical training courses for our researchers and any clients, inside or outside NUI Galway, with an interest in GIS.” The launch of the GIS Centre was sponsored by Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) Ireland’s National Mapping Agency and Supermap, a leading GIS company from China. As part of the GIS Centre launch NUI Galway launched its new MapGenie web map service, an exciting new online service from OSi which gives online access to mapping and imagery. Geraldine Ruane, OSiCEO, said: “OSi congratulates NUI Galway and the Ryan Institute on the launch of their GIS Centre and for taking the initiative as the first university to provide OSi’s MapGenie service to its students and staff. Using mapping in this way allows for better decision making and ultimately cost-savings. Using OSi’s MapGenie service in projects or research can provide better efficiencies and lead to more effective results.” -ENDS-

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Hamilton Prize Winner goes to Harvard

Friday, 24 August 2012

NUI Galway graduate and 2011 Hamilton Prize winner, Fionnuala Connolly, is about to embark on a PhD in Engineering and Applied Sciences in Harvard University. Having recently completed a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, Fionnuala, from Knocknacarra, Galway City has been offered a full scholarship as well as a Pierce Fellowship which is awarded to the top 5% of graduate students. "We are thrilled for Fionnuala and her success in applying to the best graduate schools abroad", says Professor Michel Destrade, Head of Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway. “It is a testimony to her remarkable academic achievements so far, and also to the excellent reputation of Irish Applied Mathematics. We are sorry to see her leave Galway, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which cannot be turned down.” Dr Ray Ryan, Head of the School of Mathematics at NUI Galway, said: “The Hamilton Prize is awarded each year to the third-year student who is best in mathematical sciences at NUI Galway. It has gone to students majoring in Pure Maths, Applied Maths, and Financial Maths. Its prestige is undeniable, and we encourage all students to strive in mathematical subjects and aim for it. Fionnuala has been an outstanding student – she has attained first-class honours in every exam she has taken in NUI Galway and I was not at all surprised to hear that she was offered fellowships by one of the best universities in the world.” Fionnuala began at NUI Galway in 2008, originally to study Physics with Medical Physics. “At the end of my first year, I realised I enjoyed mathematics and decided to immerse myself fully into its application to real-world problems and am grateful to the College of Science to have allowed me to switch to a degree in Applied Mathematics.” While at Harvard, Fionnuala is hoping to work in a field related to modelling in engineering or medicine, possibly with links to neurosciences. In recent years, Mathematical Sciences at NUI Galway have undergone several major changes, with for example the fusion of the former Departments of Mathematics, which included Statistics, and Mathematical Physics into a School with four Disciplines of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, and Bioinformatics, and the launch of a new Degree in Mathematical Science. -ENDS-

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Marine Student on Board Semester at Sea Abroad Program from Halifax to Galway

Friday, 24 August 2012

500 visitors come onshore for one day showcase of Galway Friday, 24 August, 2012: Over 500 students, faculty, and staff of Semester at Sea® (SAS), the nation’s premier shipboard program for study abroad, will arrive in Galway at 8:00 am on 31 August for a one day exploration of Galway before also docking in Dublin. Ireland is the first country on the academic voyage itinerary. Sarah Cosgrove, a student from the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway joined the shipboard community in Halifax where embarkation took place on 23 August. All participants are traveling aboard the MV Explorer, a state-of-the-art passenger ship that Semester at Sea has outfitted as a traveling university. Speaking in advance of her departure, Sarah Cosgrove, from Sligo and a postgraduate researcher at NUI Galway, said: “I began a Marine Science degree in NUI Galway in 2006 and I am extremely happy to be continuing my studies as a postgraduate researcher. The University has provided me with so many fantastic opportunities over the last six years and my current involvement with the semester at sea program is a perfect example of such an exciting and rewarding opportunity.” Sarah added: “I think the idea of this ‘floating campus’ which invites students from over 25 campuses across the US to travel the globe visiting a vast number of countries and experience multi-cultural diversity is a simply out-standing concept. I am both honored and delighted to share this experience and I am very much looking forward to educating and informing so many international students on what we have to offer here in Galway and the West of the Ireland. It is definitely a once in a life-time opportunity.” Semester at Sea is a global study abroad program that traces its roots to 1963. Participants, who hail from more than 250 U.S. and international universities, circumnavigate the globe aboard the 24,300-ton campus of the MV Explorer, attend classes in a closely knit environment with an international faculty, complete fieldwork and travel while in port, and receive course credit from the University of Virginia, the academic sponsor. “Ensuring a positive message about Galway Harbour and NUI Galway is vitally important to open new avenues and form new relationship with the Semester at Sea program. Galway Harbour Company is delighted to be able to support Sarah Cosgrove in delivering the key messages of promoting Galway as a cruise destination on the transatlantic passage from Halifax to Galway onboard the cruise ship Explorer”, said Galway Harbour Master, Captain Brian Sheridan. The autumn voyage departed Halifax, Nova Scotia on 23 August 2012 and will travel to international destinations including Ireland, England, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Dominica before returning to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA in December. This is the 111th voyage of Semester at Sea. Eamon Howley, Managing Director of BEM Ireland Ltd, said: “BEM Ireland was proud to be selected as the preferred Destination Management Company in the region by the Galway Harbour Board last September. We have put together a number of one day and three day tour packages for Semester at Sea that will showcase Galway and the West. BEM Ireland is delighted to be supporting Sarah Cosgrove, a marine student from NUI Galway, who will join the students from Semester at Sea aboard the Explorer on her journey from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Galway. Sarah will be presenting information on the West of Ireland and helping the students to select the tours that are of most interest to them. We hope she has a very enjoyable voyage and a great life experience.” Over the years, Semester at Sea has achieved a number of significant milestones, including groundbreaking visits to countries such as the former Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and Myanmar, and participants have met with prominent leaders including Fidel Castro, Anwar Sadat, Indira Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Corazon Aquino, Sidi Mohammed, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela. ENDS

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