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University Honours Racing Masters

University Honours Racing Masters -image

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

As the Galway race festival continues, NUI Galway today conferred honorary degrees on two outstanding individuals from the world of Irish horseracing: Dermot Weld and Jim Bolger. NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, speaking at the conferring ceremony, said: “With the sporting world’s attention on Galway and Ballybrit this week, we are proud to celebrate the horseracing heritage of our city by recognising two of Ireland’s greatest racing trainers and breeders.  Jim Bolger and Dermot Weld are global figures in the world of horseracing.  They have distinguished themselves as breeders, trainers and leaders of the sport and in so doing have burnished Ireland’s reputation as a global centre for the equine industry. By honouring these two truly outstanding men, we pay tribute to their achievements by awarding them the highest honour which the University can confer, thereby associating their names forever with NUI Galway.” Dermot Weld, one of Ireland’s most renowned and successful racehorse trainers, at home and abroad, was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Arts honoris causa. To date, Dermot has trained in excess of 3,700 winners. He has trained the winners of twenty-two European Classic races and remains the only trainer outside of the US and Canada, to have won a leg of America's famous Triple Crown. Dermot has won races at both the Cheltenham Festival and at Royal Ascot and has enjoyed success at both meetings this year. Australia has been a country of note in his career with two wins in “the race that stops a nation”, the Melbourne Cup. Dermot was the first trainer based in the northern hemisphere to win this most prestigious race when Vintage Crop stormed to victory in 1993. A qualified vet, Dermot was a leading amateur rider and was crowned champion on three occasions. He also rode winners in South Africa, the UK, France and in the US. Dermot was a long-serving director of the Irish National Stud and also served on the board of the Irish Horseracing Authority.  He is currently in his second term as a director of Leopardstown Racecourse. In 20l1, he was made an honorary member of the Galway Race Committee. Introducing Mr Weld, Dr John Newell, Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics at NUI Galway, reminded guests on Galway Plate Day, the highlight of the Galway racing festival, how synonymous this trainer is with Galway. “His attachment to the festival began when, as a nine-year-old, he led his father's horse, Highfield Lad, into the winner’s enclosure after victory in the Galway Plate.   Six years later, Dermot rode his first ever winner, steering Ticonderoga to victory in the Galway Amateur Handicap.Dermot holds the record of 17 winners over the seven days and won the Leading Trainer award for the 27th time last year.  So dominant has he been at Ballybrit over the last two-and-a-half decades, Irish bookmakers, Paddy Power suggested renaming the Galway Races to the ‘Dermot Weld Retirement Fund’.” Jim Bolger was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Arts honoris causa. In a remarkable career that has spanned five decades, at 71 years of age; he remains one of the single most iconic figures in the game. At the age of 35, the Wexford native left his job in finance and began his training career in a yard at Clonsilla near the old Phoenix Park training ground. A farmer’s son who first dabbled in buying and selling show-jumpers, Bolger possesses rare vision and an insatiable work ethic. A master of his profession and a born leader, he has nurtured the careers of many of  leading figures in Irish racing, including Paul Carberry, Willie Mullins, Peter Scudamore and his now son-in-law, Kevin Manning all of whom emerged from his famously uncompromising academy. Since moving to Coolcullen’s Glebe House in Co Kilkenny in 1982, he has developed one of the most acclaimed training centres in the world. Professor Michael Kerin, Professor of Medicine at NUI Galway and Research Director of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI), explained the honour for him in introducing Mr Bolger, “The elite realm of international flat racing is dominated by wealthy sheikhs, royalty and commercial conglomerates but Jim Bolger has fashioned a unique empire based on his eye for a horse, intellect, enthusiasm, ambition and hard work. It is a great honour for me to present Jim Bolger, Champion Horse Trainer and Breeder, Family Man, Educator, Organiser and Inspiration for the Doctor of Arts here at NUI Galway today.” The two graduands join the ranks of previous honorary alumni which include, among many others, Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O’Connor Snr and Jnr, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Enya, Anjelica Huston, Fionnuala Flanagan and Margaret Atwood.

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Minister Howlin Launches Open Data initiative

Minister Howlin Launches Open Data initiative-image

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Mr. Brendan Howlin, TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform yesterday, 22 July 2014, launched Ireland’s national Open Data Portal developed by Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway together with the research reports produced by Insight. The Minister said: “I am delighted to be launching Ireland’s national Open Data portal together with research compiled by Insight. This work builds on initiatives already in place in Ireland taking into account best international practice and will enable the development of a national Open Data strategy.” Open Data forms a core element of Ireland’s first Open Government Partnership (OGP) national Action Plan which, following Government approval tomorrow, I expect to publish and transmit to the OGP Steering Committee to facilitate Ireland’s full membership of the Partnership.  Insight was commissioned to carry out this research to develop the basic building blocks for a national Open Data strategy. The national Open Data Portal (data.gov.ie) currently contains 418 datasets from 45 public bodies.  It is an alpha site, but an important first step.  The next steps to further develop it will be considered in tandem with experts in the public sector and the wider public. Going forward, the Minister would encourage public bodies to publish datasets on this portal.  The Minister said: “I am very excited about Open Data. Studies show that publication of official non-personal data in open format has the potential to drive more effective decision-making and efficient service delivery, spur economic growth, and empower citizens to take an active role in improving their own communities”.    Professor Stefan Decker, Director of Insight at NUI Galway, commented: "The Open Data Roadmap and Portal developed by Insight at NUI Galway is a great example of leveraging research results and expertise funded by Science Foundation Ireland and Enterprise Ireland for the good of society. Together with the civil society we are able to make a contribution to Ireland by enabling the use of public data assets for economic and societal benefit.” Insight’s work is being published to assist the development of an Open Data strategy for Ireland.  Submissions should be made by 5th September to opendata@per.gov.ie ENDS About Insight, the Centre for Data Analytics Insight is Ireland’s leading research centre for the study of Data Analytics. In a joint initiative between NUI Galway, DCU, UCC and UCD, Insight brings together more than 200 researchers, with 30 industry partners, to position Ireland at the heart of global data analytics research. Established by Science Foundation Ireland, Insight focuses on new ways to capture and understand data from the world around us, making better decisions for people, communities and industry, and creating a more informed society in a healthier, more productive world.

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Young Women with ADHD and Second Level Teachers Required for Research Study

Young Women with ADHD and Second Level Teachers Required for Research Study -image

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

NUI Galway’s School of Education is currently seeking young women aged between 14-20 with a formal diagnosis of ADHD to participate in a study to examine the impact the condition has on their educational and social experiences. This study is open to participants living in any geographical region of the Republic of Ireland. Participants will be asked to provide their opinions and insights regarding how ADHD affects their daily lives, academic performance and achievement, and their relationships with others.  They will be asked to complete one personal interview and one online questionnaire. Those participating will not need to travel to NUI Galway, as a researcher will travel to a location of their choosing.  This project represents an important advancement in ADHD research because very few studies of ADHD have taken place in Ireland, and fewer yet have considered the impact that ADHD has on the lives of young women.  Primary researcher of this project, Andrea Lynch said: “We do a lot of talking ‘about’ people with ADHD, and yet, very little communication takes place with people affected by ADHD. This study represents an important chance for young women living with the condition to have their voices and opinions heard, and to help others understand what it is truly like to live as a young woman with ADHD in the Irish context.” Additionally, this study is seeking the insights of second-level teachers who have some experience supporting students with ADHD in the classroom. This study represents a chance for teachers to reflect critically on their own educational preparation for working with students with ADHD, as well as their own praxis, and ways in which classroom inclusion for second-level students with ADHD could be increased. Teachers are asked to complete one online questionnaire and also asked to consider completing a personal interview which can be held at a time and location of their choosing.  Ms Lynch continued: “This study also represents a chance for teachers to reflect upon their experiences of teaching students with ADHD, and is an opportunity for them to express their opinions regarding the particular needs of second-level educators in supporting students with ADHD, and ways in which educational provision for students with this condition could be improved for this population.” Those interested in participating in this study should contact research Andrea Lynch at a.lynch19@nuigalway.ie or on 087 1129868. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Drama Students Take to the Stage with Druid

NUI Galway Drama Students Take to the Stage with Druid-image

Friday, 18 July 2014

Druid Academy students at NUI Galway to Perform at Galway International Arts Festival As part of Galway International Arts Festival, on Tuesday, 22 July, NUI Galway students will be performing in a reading of a new play at Druid Theatre. A Boy Called Nedd by Emily Gillmor Murphy is being staged as part of the “Druid Debut” series at this year’s Festival, and is a brand new play from Emily Gillmor Murphy. The reading will feature NUI Galway Drama students Deirdre Ní Chloscaí, Muireann Ní Raghallaigh, Joe Power and Niamh Ryan. In a unique development for Drama and Theatre teaching in Ireland, Druid and NUI Galway launched a new Druid Academy earlier this year, as part of a 10 year partnership between the two organisations. The participation of NUI Galway students in the event is one of many collaborations between University students and Druid. As part of the Centre for Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, the Druid Academy covers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Drama, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts, as well as PhD research opportunities.  The Druid Academy also provides training in drama that meets best international practice while also embedding the values associated with Druid into the teaching curriculum. A Boy Called Nedd tells the story of a sixteen-year-old boy trying to stay on course after his brother’s suicide. Nedd’s is a fast moving world. Here a relationship goes from awkward silences to making out to throwing insults at the speed of light. Here his least step out of line goes viral at the blink of an eye. Here the lures of the adult world – guns, included – are only a text or a mouse-click away. But how fast is he going that he should confuse grief for the need for revenge?  The play has strong language and explicit content.  NUI Galway Professor of Drama and Theatre Patrick Lonergan stated that this event will be a major opportunity for the students. “This event gives our students the chance to perform in a professional setting, working with a very exciting new writer, in a major theatre company, in Ireland’s major arts festival. As part of our continuing work with the Druid Academy, our students will continue to work closely with Druid on projects such as this." Druid Director-in-Residence, Thomas Conway, says: "the play is a dispatch straight from the frontline of contemporary teenage experience in Ireland. Not only does it show the world of Irish teenagers in a no-holds-barred fashion, it gets under its skin, revealing the kinds of pressure today’s teenager routinely experience. We’re excited in Druid to have students from NUI Galway join us for its presentation. We have been impressed to date with the connection they have made with the play and feel confident they will bring many great acting qualities to its presentation." Borne out of a vision of Galway as a location for the creation of excellent theatre, teaching in the Druid Academy will follow the Druid approach, focusing on ensemble as a mode of performance, rigorous critical analysis of theatre by both practitioners and audiences, and an awareness of the importance of audience, in a variety of locations: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The Academy has also led to the development of new courses, including three new MA programmes. These are in Irish Drama, Writing for Theatre, and Theatre Practice and Production. NUI Galway also offers a part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies, and has two very popular undergraduate Drama programmes. Students of the Druid Academy gain a unique insight into the world of professional theatre when they have the opportunity to stage an annual professional-standard production, directed by the Druid Director-in-Residence.  The relationship between NUI Galway and Druid is a long and fruitful one. The company was founded on campus in 1975 by graduates Marie Mullen, Garry Hynes and the late Mick Lally. Through the years the two organisations have collaborated at various times including notably the housing of the Druid archive at the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway and the establishment of a playwriting award in memory of the late Jerome Hynes who was General Manager of Druid at a formative stage in the company's development. The three founders, as well as being graduates, have all been awarded Honorary Degrees by the University. Three years ago that relationship was formalised into a strategic partnership that saw Druid and NUI Galway join forces to train the next generation of theatre-makers. This partnership moves on to a new level with the announcement of the Druid Academy. For further information on the part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies please visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/drama/postgrad/ptma/ ENDS

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Burren College of Art to Honour Artist Seán Scully

Burren College of Art to Honour Artist Seán Scully-image

Thursday, 17 July 2014

 As part of 20th anniversary celebration of Burren Art College in Co Clare One of the main events marking the 20th anniversary of Burren College of Art in County Clare this week will be Irish Artist Seán Scully receiving an Honorary Doctorate from NUI Galway. From 17 – 20 July, 2014 Ireland’s only independent fine art third-level college will exhibit works by over 40 of its most successful and high profile alumni and will host a symposium exploring alternative models of education, featuring contributions from groundbreaking Irish and overseas art education innovators. Irish-born American painter and printmaker and twice Turner Prize nominee, Sean Scully will receive the honorary Doctorate from NUI Galway. The Sean Scully honorary conferring takes place on Saturday, 19  July and will be followed by The Best of the Burren - a banquet of Burren food and a recital by Ballyvaughan-born Naomi O'Connell who has become an international opera star, accompanied by Archie Simpson, founder of the Lismorahaun singers. Speaking in advance of the Honorary Conferring ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “As President, may I express the pride of the entire University community in welcoming Seán Scully to the ranks of our alumni. In becoming an honorary graduate of our University, he joins a global network of over 90,000 alumni. By honouring this truly outstanding visual artist, we pay tribute to his achievements by awarding him the highest honour which the University can confer, thereby associating his name forever with National University of Ireland, Galway – and indeed – Burren College of Art.  On this very special celebratory weekend, I would like to extend warmest congratulations to Burren College of Art on behalf of all my colleagues at NUI Galway.” Located at Newtown Castle in Ballyvaughan, the Burren College of Art specialises in delivering a range of contemporary fine art programmes including photography, sculpture, painting and digital media, and in hosting leadership retreats and “audacious conversations” using creative methodologies Postgraduate programmes at the College have been accredited by National University of Ireland, Galway since 2002. Mary Hawkes Greene, President and Founder of the Burren College of Art (BCA) said the 20th anniversary celebrations are aimed at showcasing  the success of  BCA's "alternative approach to education  by providing students the time and space to develop their individual talents amidst the inspirational landscape of the world famous Burren. The anniversary will launch the College’s extended remit as a hothouse for universal creativity – accessing the creative potential in all.” She continued: "By facilitating discussion amongst leading art education innovators from around the world and by showcasing the works of our graduates, we are seeking to highlight BCA's contribution to the arts sector and to serve  as a creative springboard for re-imagining  what an art school can be at this moment of profound societal change.” The BCA 20th anniversary celebration gets underway today, Thursday 17 July when stories of historical and contemporary alternative approaches from the US and Europe will form the basis for the two-day 'Ex-centric Alternatives'symposium.  Contributors include Uffe Elbaek, former Danish Minister for Culture, founder of Kaos Pilots design school and of” The Alternativet” political party; Professor Brian Butler, Director Black Mountain College Museum; Dr Carol Becker, Dean of the School of Arts, Columbia University; Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, former rector of the Royal College of Art, London; Tracy Meisterheim, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden; and James Elkins, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The alumni exhibition, entitled “the Middle of Everywhere", opens tomorrow, Friday, 18 July and will feature the work of 40 BCA past students from the US, Mexico, Canada, UK, Ireland and Uganda. For more on the Burren College of Art, Newtown Castle, Co. Clare, and it 20th anniversary celebrations visit www.burrencollege.ie. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Rowing Club/Gráinne Mhaol Dominate at National Rowing Championships

NUI Galway Rowing Club/Gráinne Mhaol Dominate at National Rowing Championships -image

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

NUI Galway Boat club and its sister alumni club Gráinne Mhaol had a massively successful weekend at the National Rowing championships held in the National Rowing Centre in Cork over the weekend. Team NUI Galway had an encouraging opening day winning the Men’s Intermediate Coxed Four, the Women’s Club Coxed Four and in a composite entry with Cork Boat Club, the Women’s Senior Coxless Four. NUI Galway’s alumni club, Gráinne Mhaol, took the Men’s Senior Coxless Four title for the third year in a row. On Saturday, NUI Galway won the Women’s Senior Coxless Pair event with a commanding performance over the field. The final day of the Rowing Championships saw three more wins for NUI Galway rowers who took the Women’s Club Eight title, the Women’s Senior Eight title - again in partnership with Cork Boat Club - and in the final race of the regatta, NUI Galway and alumni partners Gráinne Mhaol, came from almost a length down at one stage to win the premier event, the Men’s Senior Eight, by a mere 0.41 seconds in a thrilling battle with Trinity, a third successive Irish title for this formidable unit. NUI Galway finished joint-top club with seven wins. Sports Scholarship holder and current NUI Galway Sports Award winner Aifric Keogh won three senior titles in Eight, Four and Pair. From the winning Men’s Eight, NUI Galway Sports Scholarship holders Rob O’Callaghan, Richard Bennett and Kevin Neville along with Gráinne Mhaol’s Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan will represent Ireland in the Men’s Heavyweight Coxless Fours event at the Under 23 World Rowing Championships being held in Varese, Italy from July 23-27. -Ends-      

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