Friday, 14 June 2024

Partnership framework creates opportunity to jointly foster education, research and innovation for food systems transformations for zero hunger & climate resilient food systems    University of Galway has announced a partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation to combat hunger and malnutrition.   Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation Qu Dongyu visited the University for the formal signing of the letter of intent with Deputy President and Registrar of Professor Peter McHugh.   The partnership provides the framework for University of Galway to partner more closely with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation on collaborative research, education, innovation and international development activities to support the 2030 Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by enabling transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, nutrition, environment and life.   Deputy President and Registrar Professor Peter McHugh said: “The signing of a letter of intent with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation is a strong symbol of our commitment both in relation to the SDGs but also our work for the public good in line with our values of respect and sustainability. We are now provided with the framework for our University and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation to pursue a vision of a world free from hunger and malnutrition, where food and agriculture contribute to improving the living standards of all, especially the poorest, in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner.”   Professor Charles Spillane, from the Ryan Institute at University of Galway who led engagement with the UN FAO, said: “Over the past decade, University of Galway has been working with FAO on a wide range of topics across its divisions and units, especially in relation to climate change, agriculture, food systems and food security. For instance, we have been engaging with FAO on policy processes, such as climate-resilient food systems transformation; research projects such as the EcoFoodSystems project; and through joint research projects with our Masters programmes on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. Our university looks forward to further deepening of our interdisciplinary partnership activities in support of FAO's mandate and mission over the years ahead.”   Dr Qu served as China’s Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and also as Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, before being elected as the ninth Director-General of the FAO since its foundation in 1945.   On the visit to the University, Dr Qu also met Vice-President International Professor Becky Whay and Professor Frances Fahy, incoming Director of the Ryan Institute, along with academics who lead research groups within the Ryan Institute’s Agriculture, Food Systems and Bioeconomy Research Centre and took part in a Q&A with our agrifood systems postdoctoral researchers, research assistants, PhD and masters students from around the world.   Ends  

Friday, 14 June 2024

An academic of political science at University of Galway and a music teacher alumna have received prestigious Fulbright Awards to take up scholarships in the United States.    Professor Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Professor of Political Science and Director of the MA in Public Policy at University of Galway, will be based at New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House where he will carry out research on the peacemaking efforts in US civil society during the Troubles. Professor Ó Dochartaigh will examine the diverse social, political and cultural factors that shaped transatlantic civil society engagement during the conflict.    Áine Humphreys is an Irish and Music secondary school teacher and graduate of An Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. She graduated with first-class honours and under her Fulbright award she will teach Irish at the University of Montana as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship Awardee.    The recipients are among 21 awardees who were presented with their awards at a ceremony in Iveagh House, Dublin.     The Fulbright Programme in Ireland was established in 1957 and each year grants are awarded for Irish citizens to study, research, or teach in the US and for American citizens to do the same in Ireland.                Professor Becky Whay, Vice-President International at University of Galway, said: “The tradition of Fulbright is one which builds on the unique bonds between Ireland and the US, and allows us to deepen our transatlantic academic and cultural links.    “University of Galway is delighted to see Professor Ó Dochartaigh secure the scholarship award and bring his wealth of insight and knowledge to bear on our understanding of US-Ireland relations and we are also proud to see such a talented alumna as Áine Humphreys bring a rich variety of culture and music tradition to a new audience in the US.”    The University of Galway Fulbright Irish Awardees for 2024-2025 include:    Fulbright Scholar  Professor Niall Ó Dochartaigh’s publications include Civil Rights to Armalites: Derry and the birth of the Irish Troubles and the co-edited books Political Violence in Context and Dynamics of Political Change in Ireland. His most recent book, Deniable Contact: Back-channel Negotiation in Northern Ireland, relays the role of Derry businessman Brendan Duddy and his engagements with republicans and the British over many years as part of efforts to secure an end to the conflict. The book was awarded the Brian Farrell book prize of the Political Studies Association of Ireland and was shortlisted for the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Literary Prize. The Duddy archive is held in University of Galway Library.    Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant  Áine Humphreys is a native of Co Limerick where she works as a music teacher with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. Áine undertook a BA Music and Irish degree in University College Cork, where she was awarded scholarships to Gaeltacht Chorca Dhuibhne and was an active member of the Irish Traditional Music Society. She works as a Radio Presenter for Raidió RíRá and an Irish Translator with Star Translation Services. Áine fosters a love for the Irish language and culture amongst her students inside and outside the classroom.    The Fulbright Irish Awards will open on August 29th, 2024. Interested candidates should visit www.fulbright.ie for more information.     Ends 

Thursday, 13 June 2024

Bronnadh céimeanna ar bhreis is 360 mac léinn fochéime, máistreachta agus PhD in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe inniu, á gcur leis an mbreis is 133,000 alumni atá ar fud an domhain.   Ina measc siúd a bhí ag ceiliúradh bhronnadh an tsamhraidh, bhí beagnach 80 duine ar bronnadh Dochtúireacht i bhFealsúnacht (PhD) orthu.   Ar an ngrúpa mac léinn is mó a bhí i láthair bronnadh Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Leigheas, Baitsiléir sa Mháinliacht agus Baitsiléir sa Chnáimhseachas (MB, BCh, BAO) ar bhreis is 166 dochtúir.  Le linn an tsearmanais, bhronn Ollscoil na Gaillimhe 14 Bhonn don Bhliain Deiridh Leighis ar naonúr céimithe, agus cúig cinn díobh siúd ag dul don Dr Margaret Mary Glazier as Michigan, SAM as a sárfheidhmíocht acadúil. Bronntar na boinn seo mar chuid den traidisiún ina dtugtar aitheantas d’fheabhas acadúil na gcéimithe i gColáiste an Leighis, an Altranais & na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte.  Bronnadh dámhachtain speisialta amháin as taighde forleathan le linn cheiliúradh na bliana seo – bronnadh Céim Dhochtúireachta le hEolaíocht (DSc) as Saothar Foilsithe ó Ollscoil na hÉireann ar an Ollamh Michael Kerin as a chuid taighde ar ailse chíche.   Tá an tOllamh Kerin ina Ollamh le Máinliacht, tá sé ina Stiúrthóir Cliniciúil ar an nGréasán Acadúil i dtaca le hAilse atá faoi stiúir Saolta, agus tá sé ina Leas-Uachtarán ar Choláiste Ríoga na Máinlia in Éirinn.    Mar mháinlia comhairleach, tá spéis ar leith ag an Ollamh Kerin i máinliacht ailse cíche agus inchríneach. Tá sé i gceannas ar chlár mór taighde ar ailse chíche in Institiúid Lambe don Taighde Aistritheach in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, agus tá sé ina Stiúrthóir Taighde ar an Institiúid Náisiúnta don Taighde ar Ailse Chíche. Lena chois sin, tá an tOllamh Kerin ina chomhthaighdeoir ar go leor tionscnaimh thaighde eile ar ailse, lena n-áirítear Precision Oncology Ireland agus Institiúid Taighde Uile-Oileáin ar Ailse (AICRI). Tá a ainm le breis is 450 páipéar piarmheasúnaithe agus le 25,000 lua, agus tugadh meantóireacht do bhreis is 50 mac léinn MD agus PhD a chuaigh tríd an gclár taighde ar ailse chíche.   Seo mar a labhair Uachtarán Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Thar ceann phobal iomlán Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, tréaslaím le gach duine dár gcéimithe. Leagann an Ollscoil béim ar leith ar ár luachanna, mar atá meas, oscailteacht, barr feabhais agus inbhuanaitheacht, agus tá sé ríthábhachtach go gcothaímid muintearas i measc ár mac léinn chun cur lena dtaithí acadúil agus chun pobal a chruthú inar féidir le gach duine barr a gcumais a bhaint amach. Molaim obair chrua, díograis agus buanseasmhacht ár gcéimithe go léir, agus guím gach rath orthu sa saol gairmiúil atá amach rompu.  “Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas ó chroí a ghabháil leis an Ollamh Michael Kerin chomh maith. Is teist iontach é an DSc seo air mar dhuine agus ar a chuid taighde san Ollscoil seo thar na blianta, agus tugann sé aitheantas don chion céadach atá déanta aige i ndáil le hailse chíche.”  Críoch    

Thursday, 13 June 2024

Over 360 degree, masters and PhD students graduated from University of Galway today, joining more than 133,000 alumni worldwide.     Among all of those at the summer conferring celebrations, almost 80 were conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).   The largest cohort of students to graduate were the 166 doctors who received their Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) degree.    During the conferring ceremony, University of Galway presented 14 Final Medical Medals to 9 graduates, with Dr Margaret Mary Glazier from Michigan, USA receiving 5 medals for her outstanding academic performance as part of the tradition of presentation to graduates of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences recognising academic excellence.    One special award was conferred at this year’s celebrations in recognition of extensive research - Professor Michael Kerin was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) from the National University of Ireland for his published work in breast cancer research.     Professor Kerin is the Chair of Surgery, Clinical Director of the Saolta Managed Cancer Academic Network and Vice-President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.     As a consultant surgeon, Professor Kerin has a special interest in breast cancer and endocrine surgery. He leads a large breast cancer research programme at the Lambe Institute for Translational Science at University of Galway and is the Research Director of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute. Professor Kerin is also co-investigator on numerous other cancer research initiatives including Precision Oncology Ireland and the All-Island Cancer Research Institute (AICRI). He has more than 450 peer reviewed papers and 25,000 citations, and more than 50 MD and PhD students have come through and been mentored as part of the breast cancer research programme.    President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “On behalf of the entire community of University of Galway, I congratulate every one of our graduates. The University places great emphasis on our values of respect, openness, excellence and sustainability, and it is so important that we create a sense of belonging for our students to enrich their academic experience and create a community where everyone can thrive. I commend each of our new graduates on their hard work, commitment and perseverance, and wish them every success in their future careers.    “I would also like to extend my warmest congratulations to Professor Michael Kerin. Being awarded the DSc is a wonderful testament to him and his research at the University over many decades, and an acknowledgment of the impact of his outstanding contribution to the field of breast cancer.”    Ends 

Wednesday, 12 June 2024

University of Galway has been named the number one university in Ireland for sustainable development for the third year in a row. The accolade has been awarded by Times Higher Education Impact rankings in recognition of the University’s progress in responding to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The rakings also places University of Galway in the world’s top 50 and recognised globally for significant contribution to progress on 11 of the 17 UN SDGs. This includes a world ranking of number 10 for Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12) and top 100 status for 6 of the 17 SDGs. President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “University of Galway being ranked again this year in the top 50 among the universities of the world is a huge achievement. It is also a remarkable recognition to be embedded as the number one, the leading university in Ireland, and in the top 5 in the EU, for the work and progress we have made on our core value of sustainability. “Huge credit goes to staff across our university for making this happen, in our teaching and learning, in our research and in our day-to-day operations. Equally, credit is due to our students who put sustainability to the forefront of our agenda as we developed our 2020-2025 strategy Shared Vision, Shaped by Values. This has happened because of the energy, passion, and enthusiasm of our empowered university community. “Sustainability and climate action are the urgencies of this moment. At this time and from this place, University of Galway is glad to lead, for the public good.” The 2024 edition of Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings ranks the University 47th out of 1,963 institutions across the world, and in the top 5 in the EU. Assessments for THE Impact rankings are based on submissions from universities around the world in line with the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The report is a measure of the extent to which institutions are having a positive social and economic impact on the planet; from climate action and gender equality, to good health and well-being. Professor Peter McHugh, Deputy President and Registrar and Chair of the University Sustainability Advisory Board, said: “A huge congratulations to the team involved in bringing the University to where we are today. Through our community and university sustainability partnership, we are co-creating a more sustainable campus and embedding sustainability in all aspects of learning and research, culture, operations and governance. We have recently established a Sustainability Office to bolster these efforts and to empower the University’s diverse communities of staff, students and partners. “Today’s ranking follows the University’s success at the 2024 Education Awards in April, where we secured the top prize for Excellence in Sustainability. We are also very proud to be the first university to be designated a national Sustainable Development Goals Champion, recognising our leading role in achieving the SDGs. I would encourage visitors to take a walk along our SDG Trail and Biodiversity Trail to see first-hand how we have developed the campus as a living lab for the SDGs.” Dr Richard Manton, Director of Sustainability, said: “Looking to the future, our vision is that every student graduating from University of Galway will have confronted diverse aspects of sustainability and the UN SDGs in their degrees. We will continue to enhance the biodiversity of our campus and we will move ambitiously towards carbon neutrality. As recognised in SDG 17, partnership for the goals, we will only achieve our sustainability objectives by working closely with our partners in our city and region.” University of Galway is making significant progress on its sustainability ambitions:  Researchers have developed a global reputation for medtech, marine and environmental research, sustainable energy solutions, data analytics, culture, and creativity, all having an important role to play in the implementation of the SDGs. Lecturers are embedding sustainability across the curriculum and the University has developed a new tracking tool to determine the SDG content of our courses. University of Galway campus and buildings are testbeds for positive sustainable actions. Since 2006, the University has exceeded targets by decreasing its energy usage across campus by 50%. We have rolled out Solar PV panel across campus buildings and completed a demonstrator geothermal heat pump project to heat the swimming pool in the Sports Centre.   The University’s Park and Ride system is powered by electric buses and a network of internal and external drinking water fountain have been installed campus wide. University of Galway is home to the first lab in Europe to awarded Green Lab certification and all the labs in the Alice Perry Engineering Building are now certified as green. Our campus is one of the most biodiverse in Ireland: we hold An Taisce Green Campus Flag. We have introduced new wildflower enhancement schemes, bird boxes, bat boxes, insect hotels, beehives, a pollinator friendly pesticide code and a log tree hive. Ends

Monday, 10 June 2024

University of Galway has announced that renowned Irish singer Mary Coughlan will be the special guest at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre conference. The 11th biennial international conference entitled ‘Promoting Equality Through Family Support’ takes place on campus on Thursday and Friday, June 13th and 14th, to examine how social exclusion, discrimination, poverty, migration, displacement and the accompanying trauma can impact parenting and family life. The critical role family support can play in contributing to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by confronting inequality and exclusion will also be discussed. Mary Coughlan will offer her own perspective on the conference themes, interweaving three songs into her special guest speaker slot. The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre was established at University of Galway in 2007 by Professor Pat Dolan and Professor John Canavan, and the following year the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement was awarded. Professor Dolan will be honoured this week with the formal presentation of the Medal of the Maria Grzegorzewska University in Warsaw for life-long achievements in the field of children’s rights. Professor John Canavan, Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at University of Galway, said: “The award of the Maria Grzegorzewska University medal to Professor Dolan brings great honour to University of Galway and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and reflects his immense contribution to the improving the lives of children in Ireland and globally. The timing of the award is perfect as 200 delegates gather on campus at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society to reflect how to challenge inequality and discrimination in their day-to-day practice. It is a great privilege to have the renowned singer Mary Coughlan with us to reflect on those themes.” Mary Coughlan said: “I am going to explore in words, and some songs, the way I felt when I was younger, and my experience around trauma and the way I was treated, and contrast that with children and teenagers experiences in 2024.” Born in Shantalla in Galway City, Mary Coughlan has made some of the most uncompromising, wholly personal, and universal music by any Irish artist. In May of this year, she released new music ‘More like Brigid’, a homage to Brigid of Kildare who was a pagan and a healer before she was canonized by the Catholic Church. Ends

Monday, 10 June 2024

University of Galway has announced its annual information evening for adult learners, with scores of opportunities for professionals, the unemployed and those returning to work to take short courses and longer-term studies. The Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development hosts the annual event on campus on Thursday June 20, 2024, from 5.30-7.30pm, in the Human Biology Building. The part-time courses for 2024/25 include fully-funded Springboard+ and Human Capital Initiative courses for the unemployed and returners, and 90% funding for those in work but seeking to upskill. New this year are micro-credentials courses with special subsidies worth 50-80% of fees for courses addressing skills in key priority areas, including renewable energy, sustainability, construction and planning, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, ICT, and electronic engineering. This event creates an opportunity for would-be students to meet representatives from our part-time courses, including in the area of Business and Management, Science and Technology, Languages, Arts and Humanities, Community Education, and pre-university courses.             Nuala McGuinn, Director at the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at University of Galway, said: “We have created flexible learning pathways from micro-credential to masters for learners seeking a short, accredited module or a longer-term course. This event allows would-be students to meet representatives from our part-time courses to learn more about the benefits of newly funded and flexible learning opportunities, while also getting a chance to hear from our graduates and students on how to maintain a healthy work-life-study balance.” Over the course of the evening prospective students will have an opportunity to join talks exploring part-time courses and micro-credentials, understanding NFQ Levels, and grasping the Recognition of Prior Learning process and how it can support eligibility for study. Students will get expert tips from our Multimedia Content Developer on online learning and the Career Development team will share advice and resources to support you in your next step. Springboard+ approved courses for 2024/25 available here and our current list of micro-credentials can be found here. Student support services will also be on hand on the night to answer any queries learners may have as they decide on course options. For further information on this event and to register for this event visit universityofgalway.ie/adultlearning/info_eve  Ends

Friday, 7 June 2024

 Researchers at University of Galway have created digital babies to better understand infants’ health in their critical first 180 days of life. The team created 360 advanced computer models that simulate the unique metabolic processes of each baby. The digital babies are the first sex-specific computational whole-body models representing newborn and infant metabolism with 26 organs, six cell types, and more than 80,000 metabolic reactions. Real-life data from 10,000 newborns, including sex, birth weight and metabolite concentrations, enabled the creation and validation of the models, which can be personalised - enabling scientists to investigate an individual infant’s metabolism for precision medicine applications. The work was conducted by a team of scientists at University of Galway’s Digital Metabolic Twin Centre and Heidelberg University, led by APC Microbiome Ireland principal investigator Professor Ines Thiele. The team’s research aims to advance precision medicine using computational modelling. They describe the computational modelling of babies as seminal, as it enhances understanding of infant metabolism and creates opportunities to improve the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions during the early days of a baby’s life, such as inherited metabolic diseases. Lead author Elaine Zaunseder, Heidelberg University, said: “Babies are not just small adults - they have unique metabolic features that allow them to develop and grow up healthy. For instance, babies need more energy for regulating body temperature due to, for example, their high surface-area-to-mass ratio, but they cannot shiver in the first six months of life, so metabolic processes must ensure the infant keeps warm. “Therefore, an essential part of this research work was to identify these metabolic processes and translate them into mathematical concepts that could be applied in the computational model. We captured metabolism in an organ-specific manner, which offers the unique opportunity to model organ-specific energy demands that are very different in infants compared to adults. “As nutrition is the fuel for metabolism, we can use breast milk data from real newborns in our models to simulate the associated metabolism throughout the baby’s entire body, including various organs. Based on their nutrition, we simulated the development of digital babies over six months and showed that they will grow at the same rate as real-world infants.” Professor Ines Thiele, study lead on the project, said: “New-born screening programmes are crucial for detecting metabolic diseases early on, enhancing infant survival rates and health outcomes. However, the variability observed in how these diseases manifest in babies underscores the urgent need for personalised approaches to disease management. “Our models allow researchers to investigate the metabolism of healthy infants as well as infants suffering from inherited metabolic diseases, including those investigated in newborn screening. When simulating the metabolism of infants with a disease, the models showed we can predict known biomarkers for these diseases. Furthermore, the models accurately predicted metabolic responses to various treatment strategies, showcasing their potential in clinical settings.” Elaine Zaunseder added: “This work is a first step towards establishing digital metabolic twins for infants, providing a detailed view of their metabolic processes. Such digital twins have the potential to revolutionise paediatric healthcare by enabling tailored disease management for each infant's unique metabolic needs.” The research was published this week in Cell Metabolism This work was led by University of Galway and completed as part of a collaboration with Heidelberg University, Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies and Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany. Ends

Wednesday, 5 June 2024

University of Galway has announced the renewal of a special partnership with the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) to provide two full MBA Scholarships to prospective students.  The scholarships are open to professional and senior executive members of the Gaelic Players Association who meet the minimum application requirements for the MBA at J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics. GPA chief executive Tom Parsons said: “The two fully funded MBA scholarships provide a massive opportunity to the recipients. They have the potential to be transformational in their professional lives and help the GPA to stay true to our motto of ‘You See Players. We See People’. The development of our members away from the playing pitch is our priority, as it allows them to plan for their futures once their inter-county career comes to an end, be that by choice or by necessity. So, on behalf of players, it’s important for me to thank University of Galway for their ongoing support.”    GPA-MBA Scholar 2021 and former Galway Hurler, David Collins said: “It is critical for GAA players throughout Ireland to plan for life after sport. Completing my MBA has not only equipped me with valuable skills but also ignited my passion for leadership. I am extremely grateful to the GPA and University of Galway.”      Professor Kate Kenny, University of Galway MBA Programme Director said: “These scholarships provide transformative opportunities for GPA members. By investing in education, athletes gain valuable skills, knowledge and networks that can propel them into successful careers and prepare them for life after sport.”    The University of Galway-GPA scholarships for the MBA equip GPA members - both current and former players - with the knowledge, creativity and leadership skills needed to gain a competitive edge in the fast-evolving world of leadership and business. The MBA learning environment also offers unique opportunities to engage in active learning with programme participants and experts from leading enterprises, operating at regional, national and international level.    The scholarship recipients will join a network of MBA scholars that have gone on to excel in careers in sectors such as MedTech, Fintech, ICT, Financial Services, Healthcare, Sports Leadership, Defence Forces, Public Service, Third Sector and the European Commission.    For queries on GPA Scholarships, contact GPA’s Education Manager Brian Howard at brian.howard@gaelicplayers.com or visit universityofgalway.ie/mba.     Ends 

Tuesday, 4 June 2024

Tá sé fógartha ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe go bhfuil saoráid teagaisc oscailte ar an gcampas, Seomra Galway John, atá ainmnithe in ómós don Taistealaí Éireannach iomráiteach John Ward, a rugadh agus a tógadh i gCathair na Gaillimhe. Rugadh ‘Galway John’ ar Lána an Uisce ar an mBóthar Mór, Gaillimh, an 18 Meitheamh 1913. Chreid sé go láidir i luach an oideachais. I gcomhairle le gaolta, d’oibrigh Jason Sherlock, arbh é Galway John a shin-seanathair agus alumnus de chuid Ollscoil na Gaillimhe i gcomhpháirt le foireann na hollscoile ar an tionscadal chun an seomra a ainmniú i ndiaidh Galway John.             Dúirt Jason Sherlock an méid seo a leanas: “Bhí aithne ar Galway John as a phearsantacht thaitneamhach. Bhí an-ómós ag an bpobal lonnaithe do John i gcónaí agus mheas siad gur nasc láidir a bhí ann idir na Taistealaithe agus an pobal lonnaithe. Sa lá atá inniu ann, tá an t-oideachas ríthábhachtach chun difríochtaí a chéile a thuiscint agus mar is eol do go leor Mincéirí, tá sé deacair dul chun cinn a dhéanamh in áit nach mothaíonn tú go bhfuil aon ghnó agat ann. Tá súil againn go léir, tríd an seomra ranga seo a ainmniú i ndiaidh Galway John agus scéal na Mincéirí a insint go n-aireoidh Taistealaithe na hÉireann go bhfuil áit acu ar an gcampas.”             Dúirt Uachtarán Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá tábhacht ar leith ag baint le Seomra Galway John mar is tráth stairiúil é seo i saol na hOllscoile. Den chéad uair riamh, tá seomra ranga buan á thiomnú againn in ómós do Thaistealaí Éireannach, ag tabhairt aitheantas do shaothar saibhir cultúrtha agus teacht aniar Thaistealaithe na hÉireann. Nuair a bhí mé ag fás aníos, shiúil mé tríd an gcampas amhail is dá mba liom féin é. Ba mhaith liom go mbraithfeadh gach duine mar an gcéanna, go bhfuil an Ollscoil seo mar dhlúthchuid dá saol. Tá an tionscnamh seo ag teacht leis an tiomantas sin chun cuimsiú, éagsúlacht agus tuiscint a chothú inár dtimpeallacht acadúil, áit a bhfuil fáilte roimh chách.” Mar Thaistealaí Éireannach, champáil John in go leor áiteanna ar champas na hOllscoile agus gar dó, in aice le hArd-Eaglais na Gaillimhe agus Ascaill na Naoscach ina measc, chomh maith le háiteanna eile sa chathair ar nós Loch an tSáile. Tá cuid d’fhoirgnimh na hOllscoile tógtha ar thailte ina mbíodh Taistealaithe na hÉireann ag cur fúthu. Bhí an-aithne ar Galway John agus ar a bhean Bridget Ward, nó Big Biddy Ward, ar fud iarthar na hÉireann as a macántacht agus a gcuid oibre crua, agus bhí Mícheál D agus Dolores Keane i measc an iliomad cairde a bhí acu. Thaistil siad ar fud na tíre mar lánúin, ag obair agus ag saothrú a gcuid ag dul go hiondúil ó Ghaillimh, Baile Átha an Rí, Creachmhaoil, an Gort, Luimneach, Cill Airne, Mórchuaird Chiarraí, Inis, Cill Rois, an Leithinse, Dúlainn, Baile Uí Bheacháin, Cinn Mhara, Cill Cholgáin agus ar ais arís. Bhí a n-iníon Anne Sherlock ina ball de Mincéir Misle, ceann de na chéad eagraíochtaí náisiúnta a bhunaigh Mincéirí ar son na Mincéirí. Bhí cúpla ceird ag Galway John idir a bheith ina ghabha stáin agus ina ghlantóir simléir. Bhí Caintis – teanga Thaistealaithe na hÉireann – Gaeilge agus Béarla ar a thoil aige. Seanchaí den scoth ba ea John, agus bhí an-chur amach aige ar fhinscéalta agus ar bhéaloideas na hÉireann, agus d’inseodh sé scéalta agus chanadh sé amhráin faoin saol ar an mbóthar. Nuair a bhásaigh Galway John an 7 Eanáir 1981, d’fhreastail na mílte ar a shochraid in Ard-Eaglais na Gaillimhe. D’fhoilsigh go leor nuachtán tuairiscí ar Aifreann na Sochraide, áit ar fhreastail gach cineál duine idir Mhincéirí, an pobal lonnaithe, cheannairí gnó agus cathartha agus ionadaithe poiblí. Críoch

Tuesday, 4 June 2024

University of Galway has announced the dedication of a teaching facility on campus as the Galway John Room, named after well-known Irish Traveller John Ward, who was born and raised in Galway city.     ‘Galway John’ was born on Water Lane, Bohermore, Galway, on June 18th, 1913. He was a firm believer in the value of education.     In consultation with relatives, Jason Sherlock, a great grandson of Galway John and alumnus of University of Galway, has worked with staff at the University on the project for the dedication of the Galway John Room.    Jason Sherlock said: “Galway John was known for his likeable persona. The settled community has always held John in high regard and seen him as a strong link between the Irish Traveller and Irish settled. In this current era, education is crucial to understanding each other’s differences and as many Mincéirs know, it is hard to progress in a place where you do not feel that you belong. We all hope that by naming this classroom after Galway John and telling the Mincéir story that it will empower Irish Travellers to build their sense of belonging on campus.”    University of Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “The Galway John Room holds particular significance as it marks a historic moment for our University. For the first time, we are dedicating a permanent classroom in honour of an Irish Traveller, recognising the rich cultural contributions and resilience of our Irish Traveller people. When I was growing up, I walked through our campus as if it was my own. I want everybody to feel the same, that our University is part of the furniture of their lives. This initiative is consistent with that commitment to fostering inclusivity, diversity, and understanding within our academic environment, where everyone belongs here.”    As an Irish Traveller, John camped in many spots on or near the University campus, including beside Galway Cathedral and Snipe Avenue, as well as other parts of the city such as Lough Atalia, with some of the University’s buildings now standing on places where Irish Travellers would have lived.     Galway John and his wife Bridget Ward, known as Big Biddy Ward, were Galway characters and were well known across the west of Ireland for their honesty and hard work, with Bridget, in particular, counting the likes of President Michael D Higgins and singer Dolores Keane among their circle of friends and associates.     As a couple they travelled throughout the country working and making a living, with a typical route being Galway, Athenry, Craughwell, Gort, Limerick, Killarney, the ring of Kerry, Ennis, Kilrush, Lahinch, Doolin, Ballyvaughan, Kinvara, Kilcolgan, and back. Their daughter Anne Sherlock was a member of Mincéir Misle, one of the first national organisations set up by Mincéirs, for Mincéirs.    Galway John was as a man of many trades, including being a tinsmith and a chimney sweep. He was a fluent speaker of Cant - Irish Traveller language, An Ghaeilge and English. John was a great storyteller and knew Ireland's ancient fables and stories, and would tell tales and sing songs about life on the road.    When Galway John died on January 7th, 1981, thousands attended his funeral in Galway Cathedral. Numerous newspapers published reports of the Requiem Mass, which was attended by all walks of life including Mincéirs, members of the wider settled community, business and civic leaders and public representatives.    Ends 


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