Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Conference to Focus on Alterative Visions of Ireland Before 1916

As part of NUI Galway’s 1916 commemoration programme, ‘A Nation Rising’, the University will host a public conference entitled ‘Before 1916: Robert Lynd and Visions of Ireland to Come’. Organised by NUI Galway’s Gender ARC Research Network and the Moore Institute, the event will take place on Friday, 4 November in the Hardiman Research Building. Through a programme of lively guest lectures, music and dramatic performances, the conference will explore alternative visions of Ireland before the 1916 Rising, as expressed by five “Voices of the New Ireland” selected by the writer and critic Robert Lynd in his 1919 book Ireland a Nation. The five very well-known voices at the time chosen by Lynd were: Easter Rising leader Patrick Pearse; historian Alice Stopford Green; writer and artist George Russell (AE); essayist, constitutionalist nationalist, and women's rights advocate Tom Kettle; and sculptor and poet Dora Sigerson. Conference organiser, Professor Niamh Reilly of NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology explains the idea behind the conference: “Many are familiar with the role of Patrick Pearse and the vision of Ireland he strove to achieve, but most are less aware that in the years before 1916, Pearse’s vision was one among many nationalist visions that competed for Ireland’s hearts and minds at the time. This conference uses Robert Lynd's writings to recall and learn from some of the lively debates and passionate champions of Ireland's independence before the Rising.”     Keynote speakers includes: historian and political analyst Dr Margaret O’Callaghan of Queens University Belfast, who will talk about ‘Alice Green, Roger Casement and the politics of Irish history before the Rising’; and Professor Bryan Fanning from UCD whose talk is titled, ‘Patrick Pearse’s Ghost Frequencies’. Professor Fanning’s new book, Irish Adventures in Nation-Building, will also be launched at the conference along with the Lynd Exhibit: Writings In The Library, organised by Mary Clancy, researcher and curator and Marie Boran, Special Collections Librarian. Music from the time period will also feature and will be performed by musicians Garry O’Briain, Jack Talty, Caitleen Courtney and singer Alice Hegarty, coordinated by Mary McPartlan, Director of NUI Galway’s Arts in Action Programme. There will be dramatic readings of the writings of Robert Lynd and his “five voices” by students of the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, coordinated by Dr Miriam Haughton. The afternoon will conclude with a lively roundtable discussion chaired by Margaret O’Callaghan on the legacy and significance of Lynd and his “five voices” with contributions from NUI Galway’s: Dr Anne Byrne on George Russell (AE); Mary Clancy on Alice Stopford Green; Dr Miriam Haughton on Patrick Pearse; Dr Muireann O’Cinneide on Dora Sigerson; and Professor Niamh Reilly on Tom Kettle. The conference is free and open to the public but places are limited. To reserve a place at the conference contact Gillian Browne or 091 492297. Registration will begin at 9am with the programme commencing at 9.30am. For more information see: -Ends-

News Archive

Thursday, 20 October 2016

 Were James Macpherson’s famous translations of the ancient Scottish bard Ossian less Homer from the Greek Classics and more like Oisín from Irish mythology? Multi-disciplinary research from the National University of Ireland Galway, Coventry University and University of Oxford explored the mathematical properties of contested poems. The social networks behind one of the most famous literary controversies of all time have been uncovered using modern complexity science. Since James Macpherson published what he claimed were translations of ancient Scottish Gaelic poetry by a third-century bard named Ossian, scholars have questioned the authenticity of the works and whether they were misappropriated from Irish mythology or, as heralded at the time, authored by a Scottish equivalent to Homer. Now, in a joint study by British and Irish universities and published today (Thursday, 20 October) in the journal Advances in Complex Systems, researchers have revealed the structures of the social networks underlying the Ossianic corpus and their remarkable similarities to Irish mythology. The researchers mapped the characters at the heart of the works and the relationships between them to compare the social networks found in the Scottish epics with classical Greek literature and Irish mythology. The study revealed that the networks in the Scottish poems bore little resemblance to epics by Homer, but strongly resembled those in mythological stories from Ireland. The Ossianic poems are considered to be some of the most important literary works ever to have emerged from Britain or Ireland, given their influence over the Romantic period in literature and the arts. Figures from Brahms to Wordsworth reacted enthusiastically; Napoleon took a copy on his military campaigns and US President Thomas Jefferson believed that Ossian was the greatest poet that had ever existed. The poems launched the romantic portrayal of the Scottish Highlands which persists, in many forms, to the present day and inspired Romantic nationalism all across Europe. Macpherson and collaborators compared Ossian to Greek Classics in order to add authority to the Scottish epic. Although its characters had resonances in Irish mythology, they tried to distance the work from Irish sources. Macpherson also sought to invert the ancient relationship between Ireland and Scotland, reversing the direction of migration of populations and folklore. This provoked outrage by Irish scholars and triggered one of the most famous literary controversies of all time. Revisionist scholarship and a recent 250th anniversary sparked revival of interest in Ossian and launched rehabilitation for Macpherson. The new research found that the mathematical properties of the Ossianic networks are very different to those of Homer, but very similar to ancient Irish tales, specifically Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology, which features Fionn mac Cumhaill and his son Oisín. The interdisciplinary research connects opposite ends of the academic spectrum. “By working together, it shows how science can open up new avenues of research in the humanities,” claims Professor Ralph Kenna, a statistical physicist based at Coventry University. “The opposite also applies,” he says, “as social structures discovered in Ossian inspire new questions in mathematics.” Dr Justin Tonra, a digital humanities expert from the National University of Ireland, Galway adds: “From a humanities point of view, while it cannot fully resolve the debate about Ossian, this scientific analysis does reveal an insightful statistical picture: close similarity to the Irish texts which Macpherson explicitly rejected, and distance from the Greek sources which he sought to emulate.” The paper will be published online this week at the journal website. It is also available for free from . -ends-

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

A new Digital Archive collection is to be launched by NUI Galway James Hardiman Library on Tuesday, 25 October at 5pm in the Hardiman Research Building. This new online resource contains digitised items from the archive of Brendan Duddy, the Derry businessman who maintained a secret channel of communication between the British government and the IRA Army Council for twenty years. Brendan Duddy was a key figure in the 1975 ceasefire negotiations, the 1981 Republican Hunger Strikes - the 35th anniversary of whose conclusion occurred earlier this month, and ceasefire talks between 1990 and 1994 and was the subject of Peter Taylor’s BBC documentary ‘The Secret Peacemaker’. The archive was deposited in NUI Galway in 2009, and contains over 700 documents that cover these three critical periods during the Troubles. It includes coded diaries documenting contact, as well as messages exchanged, between the British government and the Provisional Republican leadership. The archive gives a rare insight into the dynamics and the role of secret negotiation in conflict resolution. Also included are several hours of filmed interviews between Brendan Duddy and Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh of NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology, in which these key historical events are discussed. In the context of the recent Brexit vote, there are interesting references to the status of the border and the implications for Northern Ireland of any change in political arrangements. Professor Lionel Pilkington of NUI Galway’s School of Humanities, said: “Brendan Duddy’s fascinating papers draw attention to that largely unacknowledged war that, from the late 1960s, dominated Irish political conscience for three decades. For the researcher, this is an invaluable archive of materials, and it testifies also to Duddy’s own extraordinary courage and integrity.”    NUI Galway Librarian John Cox said: “Making a significant proportion of this important archive available online will enable new insights into some of the major episodes in the Troubles.” The archive has been used by local and international scholars of conflict studies, alongside some of NUI Galway’s other archival collections such as the papers of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Professor Kevin Boyle. This new Digital Archive makes a substantial amount of that material available online to researchers throughout the world and can be viewed on the NUI Galway Digital Collections platform at, along with some of the University’s other digital archives such as The Abbey Theatre Early Minute Books, the Michael Cusack Collection and the Balfour Album of 19th century photographs of Galway. A public interview titled “Can you keep a secret? Family life with a secret peacemaker” between Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh and some of Brendan Duddy’s family members will precede the launch. Professor Lionel Pilkington will launch the Digital Archive, followed by a demonstration of the resource by Digital Archivist, Aisling Keane. The event is free, but registration is essential. Please visit  to register. -Ends-

Monday, 17 October 2016

Students interested in studying at NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Tralee on Thursday, 20 October. Students interested in undergraduate or postgraduate courses are welcome to attend. Parents, guardians and guidance counsellors are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Brandon Hotel, Tralee, Co. Kerry. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and the undergraduate courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand to answer any individual questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a suite of innovative programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a suite of Arts degree programmes including Drama, Creative Writing and Human Rights, an Energy Systems Engineering degree, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers, a Marine Science degree and Podiatric Medicine, a programme unique in Ireland. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the BSc (Applied Social Sciences). Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to County Kerry, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Tralee is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” To find out more about the information evening in Tralee, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Caroline Duggan on 086 997 1570 or -Ends-

Events Calendar

Upcoming Events Time / Date Location
Climathon Galway 2016 9.00 Friday,
28 October 2016
AM 214, Arts Millennium Building
The Haven Project Symposium: Intervening for Human Security in the Mediterranean Crisis Saturday,
29 October 2016
Moore Institute, Hardiman Research Building
The Haven Project Symposium: Intervening for Human Security in the Mediterranean Crisis 9.00 Saturday,
29 October 2016
Moore Institute, Hardiman Research Building
'Sculptures from the Mobile Home' by James Fleming 11.00 Monday,
31 October 2016
Art Gallery, Quadrangle
German Film Series 2016-17 - Clashing Cultures 18.00 Monday,
31 October 2016
Arts Millennium (AM 200)
Digital Publishing Brownbag Series - Tim Robinson 12.00 Tuesday,
1 November 2016
G011 Hardiman Research Building
Flow-based software development: An Activity Theory Perspective [Whitaker Ideas Forum] 13.00 Wednesday,
2 November 2016
CA110, Cairnes Building
Seminar: "The Sociology of International Law" by Dr. Josh Curtis 13.00 Wednesday,
2 November 2016
Seminar Room, The Irish Centre for Human Rights

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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The public are invited to a fascinating public lecture of a winter expedition with the German icebreaker “Polarstern” to Antarctica. The talk will be delivered by Professor Peter Lemke of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz-Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany on Wednesday, 14 September, at 7.30pm in the Colm O’hEocha Theatre in the Arts Millenium Building at NUI Galway. Professor Lemke has participated in nine polar expeditions with the German research icebreaker “Polarstern”, and has collections of stunning photographs depicting the Antarctic landscape and intriguing experiences to share. He is visiting Galway to participate in the Atlantic Ocean Climate Scholars Programme which is a week-long intensive, accredited workshop examining how climate and oceans interact, with particular examples from the Atlantic Ocean and higher latitudes. The lecture is open to members of the public and is part of a workshop organised by Dr Pauhla McGrane of the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) being held in Galway, from 12-19 September,offered to international postgraduate students of marine, atmosphere and climate-related sciences. “Polar regions play an important role for our climate, but direct observations are difficult to obtain and can only be achieved with greatest effort. This is especially true in wintertime” said Professor Lemke. “Severe blizzards, being trapped between thick ice floes and forced to drift with the ice, the darkness of the polar night and temperatures around minus 30°C. This presentation will take you along on an extraordinary winter expedition into the Antarctic Ocean. It shows the beauty of the frozen ocean, presents some insight into polar and climate research, and demonstrates everyday life on a research icebreaker,” he continued. High latitudes have received attention recently because of significant changes in the atmosphere, sea ice, and ocean, and on land, especially in the Arctic. The surface air temperature in the Arctic has increased about twice as fast as the global air temperature. The Arctic sea-ice extent in summer has decreased by 35% since 1979, and the sea-ice thickness during late summer has declined in the Central Arctic by about 40% since 1958. A warming has also been observed at depth in the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean. But surprisingly there is no negative trend observed in the Antarctic sea ice. Both, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass, and the sea level is rising. Most of these observed trends are in agreement with warming scenarios performed with coupled climate models, which indicate an amplified response in high latitudes to increased greenhouse gas concentrations. But details of the complex interaction between atmosphere, sea ice and ocean, and the impacts on the ecosystem and the human society are still only marginally understood. Results will be shown from the latest Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and from a winter expedition the speaker has lead into the ice-covered Weddell Sea (Antarctica). Dr Pauhla McGrane, coordinator of SMART said: “We are delighted that Proffessor Lemke has agreed to provide his unique insight into carrying out climate research in hostile polar environments, particulaly when accompanied by such beautiful stark images. This is especially relevant as this year we will run the second North South Atlantic Training Transect on-board the RV Polarstern from Germany to South Africa which will train 24 postgraduate students, including seven Irish students, in researching climate, ocean and atmospheric interactions at sea. These innovative offshore international collaboarations, developed with AWI, the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) and funded by the Nippon foundation are essential in developing excellent climate and ocean scientists to measure and understand our changing planet”. Professor Lemke continues to work on the observation of climate processes in atmosphere, sea ice and ocean and their simulation in numerical models for the polar components of the climate system. On six expeditions on Polarstern he acted as chief scientist.  For more than 30 years he served on many national and international committees on polar and climate research. He was the Coordinating Lead Author for Chapter 4 (Observations: Changes in Snow, Ice and Frozen Ground) of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report published in 2007. The IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Al Gore in 2007. For the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC published in 2013 Proffessor Lemke worked as Review Editor of Chapter 4 and as Lead Author of the Technical Summary. All members of the public are welcome and refreshments will be served afterwards. The Atlantic Ocean Climate Scholars Programme is a collaboaration between SMART, NUI Galway, AWI and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) that is funded by the Nippon foundation under NF POGO Regional Training fund.  -ends-