NUI Galway Announce 2015 Alumni Award Winners

NUI Galway Announce 2015 Alumni Award Winners-image

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

World Gold Medallist and Four Time Olympian Olive Loughnane among Awardees NUI Galway has announced the winners of the 2015 Alumni Awards to be presented at the 15th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 7 March, 2015 in the Bailey Allen Wing located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 90,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President Michael D. Higgins, Rugby great Ciarán FitzGerald, RTÉ broadcaster Sean O’Rourke, Attorney General Máire Whelan, former Creganna CEO, Helen Ryan, Tony Award-winning actress, Marie Mullen and Gráinne Seoige. The winners of the six alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2015: Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies - sponsored by AIB - Dr Tom Mitchell, Former Provost, Trinity College Dublin. Alumni Award for Business and Commerce – sponsored by Bank of Ireland - Catriona O’Farrell, Former CEO, Fintrax Group. Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government – sponsored by Bank of Ireland - Ms Justice Carmel Stewart, Judge of the High Court. Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology – sponsored by Aramark - Pearse Mee, IT Entrepreneur, founder of AMT-SYBEX. Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – sponsored by Medtronic - Dr Morgan O’Connell, retired Medical Officer for the Royal Navy, Consultant Psychiatrist and specialist in PTSD. Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport – sponsored by Galway University Foundation - Olive Loughnane, Olympic athlete and World Champion, Irish race walker. Speaking on the announcement of the Awards recipients, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their chosen fields. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University’s more than 90,000 graduates worldwide. I congratulate each of the Award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to campus for the Gala Banquet in March.” For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email Online bookings at -Ends-

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NUI Galway CAO Performance Points for Elite Athletes

NUI Galway CAO Performance Points for Elite Athletes-image

Monday, 16 February 2015

15 Elite athletes, who meet strict criteria, will be awarded 40 CAO Performance Points for undergraduate courses under the NUI Galway Performance Point Scholarship Scheme Following the success of the inaugural bonus points scheme last year, NUI Galway will again reward elite athletes with 40 CAO Performance Points in recognition of their skill, time and dedication in reaching the highest level of their chosen sport. This is an extension of NUI Galway’s current Elite Athlete Scholarship scheme which includes a subsistence grant, performance supports, gym membership and medical support. The scheme will award 40 Performance Points to a limited number of athletes, applying for undergraduate courses, who meet strict criteria in a number of identified sports. The points will be added to a minimum requirement of 350 CAO Points from a single sitting of the Leaving Certificate in 6 subjects. The scholarship currently does not apply to GY501 Medicine. The closing date for applications is Tuesday, 31st March 2015. NUI Galway Sports Officer Kathy Hynes said: “NUI Galway has enabled and guided student leaders in sport for many years. The Performance Points Scheme will broaden the horizon of achievement both for NUI Galway and for the athletes themselves. Our facilities, structure and athlete supports help successful candidates achieve their goals, both academic and sporting.” Applicants will be selected through an application form and interview process. The assessment will be based on sporting achievement and potential as well as evidence of their academic achievement and commitment. The successful candidates will then receive a conditional offer of the 40 performance points in May prior to the Leaving Certificate and CAO changes. The ‘Performance Points’ athletes will receive similar benefits to those enjoyed by the current NUI Galway Elite Athlete scholarship scheme. Benefits will include a subsistence grant, performance supports, gym membership and medical support. Supports will be provided for the duration of the undergraduate degree of the successful candidates as per the terms and conditions of the NUI Galway athlete’s charter and will be reviewed on an annual basis. The scheme will only apply to new entrants applying for full-time undergraduate courses at NUI Galway. Applicants must be under 21-years of age on 1st April in the year of application and only sports whose national governing body is recognised by the Irish Sports Council will be considered. For further details see -Ends-

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Former Dean of Medicine Presented with Award for Outstanding Contribution to Respiratory Medicine

Former Dean of Medicine Presented with Award for Outstanding Contribution to Respiratory Medicine-image

Monday, 16 February 2015

Professor Pat Finnegan, former Dean of Medicine at NUI Galway and retired respiratory consultant at University College Hospital Galway, was presented with the Irish Thoracic Society Award for Outstanding Contribution to Respiratory Medicine at the Society’s recent Annual Gala Dinner. On presenting the award, friend and colleague Professor JJ Gilmartin paid tribute to Professor Finnegan and outlined the highlights of a career marked by outstanding achievements as both teacher and innovator.   A graduate of University College Galway (now NUI Galway) Professor Finnegan spent the early stages of his career in Birmingham, where he was involved in seminal work in the development of long term oxygen therapy which included use of the first prototype concentrator in the early 1970s. The safe prescription of oxygen therapy, nowadays taken for granted, owes much to those ground-breaking advances. On his return to Galway in 1976 Professor Finnegan applied his skills to the management of patients across the spectrum of respiratory disease. He was a pioneer in the development of non-invasive ventilation, and indeed developed the first home-based NIV programme in Ireland. Professor Finnegan’s vision for and commitment to his patients and to respiratory medicine in Ireland is well illustrated by his extraordinary efforts in obtaining this novel and life saving treatment. It was not until the new millenium that such programmes became common place around the world.  As lecturer, then Professor and later Dean, he has contributed enormously to the development of the Medical School in NUI Galway. Under his direction, the Faculty expanded to embrace Nursing and the Allied Health Professions. His teaching style is epitomised by his hallmark, the bedside tutorial, and as a mentor he was known for being generous with his time and for his astute advice. Professor Finnegan was also a key figure in the development of the Irish Thoracic Society.  In 1985, when the Society evolved from what was previously the Irish Thoracic and Tuberculosis Society and joined forces with members of the Ulster Thoracic Society to become an all-island body, Professor Finnegan was elected as its first President. Professor Finnegan’s retirement has been no less productive albeit in the sphere of history rather than medicine. He is currently completing his third book. The first two entitled The case of the Craughwell Prisoners during the Land War in Co. Galway, 1879–85 and Loughrea; That Den of Infamy, the Land War in Co Galway 1878-82 were bestsellers in their genre. They are based around incidents during the Land War in East Galway including a grave miscarriage of justice which saw the wrongful conviction for murder of the author’s grandfather, Patrick Finnegan. -Ends-      

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NUI Galway Launches Alumni Virtual Choir

NUI Galway Launches Alumni Virtual Choir-image

Monday, 16 February 2015

Ireland’s First Virtual Choir combining music, song, technology and grads! Do you want to join the NUI Galway Virtual Alumni Choir? In a first for NUI Galway and we believe universities everywhere, we are calling on our graduates to get singing! In a new departure for NUI Galway, a special project has been launched where graduates of the University are invited to form this unique singing experience. Graduates based in Galway, Ireland, Europe, the US and even as far away as Australia are being urged to participate and pull off what will be an ambitious but exciting use of music, song and technology. The choral work to be sung is Ave Verum Corpus composed by Mozart. The piece was chosen due to its familiarity for choral singers around the world but all potential singers to listen to the many recordings available online to hear what the work sounds like when all the parts come together. This may jog the memories of singers who weren’t part of the University Choral Society but may have sung it in other choirs as it’s a firm favourite for choral groups. How to get involvedIn order to participate graduates should visit the alumni website On this website singers will find the musical score, sound recordings of different vocal parts as well as piano accompaniment. From there the singers will be directed to a YouTube video of the piece being conducted by NUI Galway graduate Peter Mannion, current conductor of the University Choral Society and Unitunes, the award winning NUI Galway staff choir. On explaining the virtual project, Peter Mannion said: “This is the first time we have ever attempted virtual singing so we need singers to log online to participate and to send in their recordings as soon as possible. Most computers, laptops, tables and mobile devices have excellent video and sound recording capabilities so there is no special equipment needed for you to get involved – just send in your best recording and we will do the rest. Don’t be afraid to send in video clips or photos of you singing as we will only use them in small parts of the final video. So happy singing!” The choir is expected to debut in early March so don’t be disappointed and log on now ENDS

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Migrant Students Required for Research Study on Access to University

Migrant Students Required for Research Study on Access to University-image

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

NUI Galway’s School of Education is seeking students to take part in a research study on the university experience of migrant students in Ireland. As one of the first studies of its kind in Ireland, it is important that student’s voices lead the research. Gaining insight to the university experience of migrant students can contribute to a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities within Irish universities in terms of interculturalism and diversity. Research participants will be asked to share their experience of accessing university and their experience as a third-level student. The objective of the study is to gain insight to the needs of students and influence policy in terms of widening participation to third-level education and promoting diversity and interculturalism on the university campus. NUI Galway’s School of Education is currently undertaking lead research in the area of integration with an IRC funded project, Diversity Profiling Initial Teacher Education in Ireland (DITE), a study which explores ways of facilitating entry to the teaching profession for under-represented groups. As NUI Galway continues to contribute to the discussion and debate surrounding the issues of diversity and interculturalism in education, it invites Irish and non-Irish citizens enrolled in an Irish university to take part in this research. Maeve Dunne, NUI Galway PhD student and primary researcher on this study, said: “There is a lot of discussion on the issue of diversity in education, yet very little communication takes place with the students themselves. The main aim of this study is to have student’s voices and opinions heard so that their voice leads the research. This is an opportunity for students to have their say.” Maeve notes that the research so far has uncovered some sensitive issues: “Speaking with students so far, it’s clear that there are some issues that are being highlighted and addressed. Speaking with these students and hearing an honest account of their experiences is important as nothing can be changed unless the issue is highlighted. Yet, protecting the students’ confidentiality and anonymity is of key importance. The students I have spoken to so far tell me they are hesitant to take part in research. Working with the School of Education and the Ethics committee at NUI Galway, our main aim is to protect students and ensure that their best interests are put first. Contributing your story can help educators, policy makers, researchers and universities work towards improved resources for all students.” Those interested in contributing to this study, or for more information, can contact Maeve Dunne at -Ends-

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Public talk on writing about the environment at NUI Galway

 Public talk on writing about the environment at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Author and lecturer Paddy Woodworth is to give a guest talk titled ‘Writing Restoration: A Global Journey to the Cutting Edge of Conservation Science & Practice’ at NUI Galway on 26 February at 7pm. The talk, part of the ‘Doing Writing’ series organised by the BA and MA programmes in Creative Writing at NUI Galway, will be based on Woodworth’s most recent book, Our Once and Future Planet: Restoring the World in the Climate Change Century, published by Chicago University Press. Ten years in the making, Our Once and Future Planet focuses on projects across the world that attempt to reverse damage to the environment and restore healthy and biodiverse ecosystems. The book has received international acclaim for its extensive research and key arguments, and also for the accessibility of its style. Science magazine emphasised that Woodworth “skillfully dissects the arguments surrounding the purpose and direction of ecological restoration”, while also especially commending his “effective use of narrative techniques to enhance his presentation. His descriptions of the people he meets are often charming and revealing.” Formerly a Visiting Fellow on the International Writing Programme at the University of Iowa, and most recently a visiting lecturer at the University of Chicago, Woodworth has published widely on the arts, travel, Basque and Spanish affairs, and national and international environment issues. He regularly writes on these and related areas for The Irish Times. Woodworth also works as an editor for scientists who wish to reach a wide public readership, and he is a mentor for creative writers at NUI Galway working on projects related to factual narration and other forms of creative non-fiction. This public talk will take place on 26 February at NUI Galway in the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies (ground floor, room G010) at 7pm. Booking is not required, but seating may be limited. -ends-

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Mick Loftus to Receive Honorary Doctorate at NUI Galway

Mick Loftus to Receive Honorary Doctorate at NUI Galway-image

Friday, 20 February 2015

Almost 40 students will be conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) by NUI Galway today. During the ceremony the University will also confer an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree on former GAA President, Dr Mick Loftus. A retired coroner and GP, Mick Loftus served as the 28th President of the GAA from 1985 to 1988. As a football player, Dr Loftus played for his native Crossmolina (now Deel Rovers), winning a Mayo Senior Championship medal in 1947, and a Junior medal in 1955. He represented his county at Junior, Minor, and Senior levels, and was captain of the Mayo team that won the 1957 All-Ireland Junior final. He had also been a member of the Mayo team that won the 1951 All-Ireland Senior Football Final. He refereed the All-Ireland Senior Football Final in 1965 and 1968, and the Minor final in 1964. He also participated as Chairperson of the National Referees’ Committee and the Rules Revision Group, and was President of the Connacht Council. Dr Loftus is an advocate for active aging, and was a recipient in the first All-Ireland Inspirational Life Award for his work as chairman of National Council of Aging and Older People, and participated in the 2011 World Senior Games, winning four medals in the 80-85 age group: gold in the 3000m and 400m, silver in the 1500m and 150m. At a previous games, he had broken the world record for 2000m in the 75-79 age group. All Colleges of the University will be represented at the ceremony, with graduands from the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, the College of Business, Public Policy and Law; the College of Engineering and Informatics; the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; and the College of Science. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said: “I would like to congratulate each graduate on their achievement in earning their doctorate degrees. We in NUI Galway are determined that this University will play its full part in producing the graduates and the leaders who will create the future. We have significantly increased our number of PhD graduates in recent years as we strive to meet the needs of the knowledge and innovation economy. I congratulate our honorary graduate, Dr Mick Loftus who we honour today for his contribution to public life in Ireland as an advocate of healthy living, a campaigner against alcohol abuse and for his leadership in the world of sport.” The next conferring to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 12 June and the summer conferring on Thursday, 18 June. -Ends- Céim Dhochtúireachta Oinigh le bronnadh ag OÉ Gaillimh ar iar-Uachtarán CLG, an Dr Mick Loftus Bronnfaidh OÉ Gaillimh Dochtúir Fealsúnachta (PhD) ar nach mór 40 mac léinn Dé hAoine, 20 Feabhra. Le linn an tsearmanais sin, chomh maith, bronnfaidh an Ollscoil Dochtúireacht Oinigh le Dlí ar iar-Uachtarán CLG, an Dr Mick Loftus. Cróinéir agus dochtúir teaghlaigh atá ar scor é Mick Loftus agus bhí sé ina Uachtarán ar CLG ó 1985 go dtí 1988. Ba é an t-ochtú Uachtarán agus fiche ar an eagraíocht sin é. Peileadóir a bhí ann a d’imir do Chrois Mhaoilíona (Ruagairí na Daoile mar a thugtar orthu anois), a áit dhúchais. Bhuaigh sé bonn Craoibhe Sinsir Mhaigh Eo i 1947, agus bonn Craoibhe Sóisir i 1955. D’imir sé dá chontae sna Sóisir, sna Mionúir agus sna Sinsir agus bhí sé ina chaptaen ar fhoireann Mhaigh Eo a bhuaigh craobh na hÉireann sna Sóisir i 1957. Bhí sé ar fhoireann Mhaigh Eo a bhuaigh Cluiche Ceannais na hÉireann sa Pheil i 1951 chomh maith. Rinne sé réiteoireacht ar Chluiche Ceannais na hÉireann i 1965 agus 1968, agus ar Chluiche Ceannais na Mionúr i 1964. Bhí sé ina Chathaoirleach ar Choiste Náisiúnta na Réiteoirí agus ar an nGrúpa Athbhreithnithe Rialacha, agus bhí sé ina Uachtarán ar Chomhairle Chonnacht. Bíonn an Dr Loftus ag iarraidh daoine atá ag dul in aois a spreagadh le bheith aclaí. Bronnadh an chéad Ghradam Uile-Éireann as Saol Inspioráideach a Chaitheamh air mar aitheantas as a chuid oibre mar chathaoirleach ar Chomhairle Náisiúnta na nAosach agus na nDaoine Breacaosta. Bhí sé páirteach i gCluichí Seanóirí an Domhain in 2011, agus bhuaigh sé ceithre bhonn san aoisghrúpa idir 80 agus 85 bliain d’aois: bonn óir sa rás 3000m agus sa rás 400m, agus bonn airgid sa rás 1500m agus sa rás 150m. Sna cluichí céanna cúpla bliain roimhe sin, sháraigh sé curiarracht dhomhanda an ráis 2000m san aoisghrúpa idir 75 agus 79 bliain d’aois. Beidh ionadaithe ó gach Coláiste san Ollscoil i láthair ag an searmanas, agus beidh céimeanna á mbronnadh ar mhic léinn ó Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh; ó Choláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí; ó Choláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice; ó Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Leighis; agus ó Choláiste na hEolaíochta. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le gach céimí as a gcéim dhochtúireachta a bheith bainte amach acu. Tá OÉ Gaillimh diongbháilte de go ndéanfaidh an Ollscoil seo a dícheall chun céimithe agus ceannairí a chur ar fáil a bheidh ábalta cor a chur i gcinniúint na tíre seo. Tá méadú mór ar líon ár gcéimithe PhD le blianta beaga anuas agus táimid ag déanamh ár ndíchill le freastal ar riachtanais gheilleagar an eolais agus na nuálaíochta. Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh lenár gcéimí oinigh, an Dr Mick Loftus. Táimid ag tabhairt ómóis dó inniu as a bhfuil déanta aige don saol poiblí in Éirinn; as dea-shampla a thabhairt do dhaoine le saol sláintiúil a chaitheamh, as a bheith ina fheachtasóir in éadan mí-úsáid alcóil agus as an gceannaireacht atá léirithe aige i saol an spóirt.” Is é bronnadh na gCéimeanna Oinigh an chéad bhronnadh céimeanna eile a bheidh ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh Dé hAoine, 12 Meitheamh agus beidh bronnadh céimeanna an tsamhraidh ar siúl Déardaoin, 18 Meitheamh. -Críoch-

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High-octane European consortium admits Ireland’s bioeconomy centre

High-octane European consortium admits Ireland’s bioeconomy centre -image

Monday, 23 February 2015

Ireland’s national Technology Centre for Biorefining & Bioenergy (TCBB) at NUI Galway has joined Europe’s bioeconomy consortium. TCBB’s application has been approved by the board and general assembly of the Brussels-based Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) as an Associate Member. The BIC is the private partner in the €3.7 billion Public-Private Partnership on Bio-based Industries (BBI) with the European Union (EU) to convert biological residues and wastes into greener everyday products. “International household names such as Coca Cola, Unilever and Total are amongst the major industrial players in the Bio-based Industries Consortium. Our membership of the BIC will create new opportunities to promote innovation and to compete for funding to develop Ireland’s bioeconomy. This marks a significant milestone in the development of the NUI Galway-hosted TCBB’s role in facilitating Ireland’s industries to engage and partner with EU-wide companies to recover resources and develop new food products, biomaterials and biochemicals from agricultural wastes, agri-food by-products and forestry and marine residues,” said Mr Bart Bonsall, Technology Leader and head of centre, TCBB. “When you see that Ireland’s food and beverages exports have grown for five consecutive years (by 45% or €3.2 billion since 2009), with milk production set to increase with the imminent lifting of the EU quotas and that Ireland is planning to expand food and forestry production significantly up to the year 2020, it is important that as Ireland’s bioeconomy centre we are directly involved in this type of initiative. Add to the mix that Ireland’s pharma-chemicals industry is the 7th largest exporter globally and you get a picture of how for a small country, we can pursue big opportunities,” added Mr Bonsall. NUI Galway’s Head of the School of Natural Sciences and Principal Investigator with the TCBB, Professor Vincent O’Flaherty commented that: “For the TCBB and NUI Galway as its main co-host, being part of the BIC will provide a new and high-value platform to promote and showcase the bioeconomy-related expertise in TCBB. It will create new opportunities to engage with industry and enterprise across the EU in developing and demonstrating innovative technologies and production systems to bolster Ireland’s exporting capacities.” The BIC will play a key role in bridging the gap between innovation and deployment of biobased products across the European Union. The BIC aims to: leverage Europe's advanced biobased research and technology use renewable resources and innovative technologies for greener everyday products develop underutilised potential of agriculture and forestry residues replace oil-based chemicals and materials with biodegradable, biobased ones diversify and grow farmers' incomes; and generate new industries, revitalise others and create thousands of jobs. ENDS

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New Agricultural Economics and Policy course being delivered by NUI Galway

New Agricultural Economics and Policy course being delivered by NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Reflecting the growing influence of national and EU policies on farming life, a new course entitled Agricultural Economics and Policy is underway at NUI Galway. Delivered through the Economics discipline at the University, the course is offered as part of the Natural Resource Economics and Policy Masters programme. As well as the Masters students who take this course as an option, the classes are also attended by Teagasc Walsh Fellow PhD candidates based in NUI Galway. The course puts particular focus on public policy analysis related to the development of the Irish agricultural sector and examines challenging policy questions such as the impacts of climate change on the sector, the impacts of EU Common Agricultural Policy reform and the economic concepts and models of relevance that are necessary to understand the global role of agriculture in economic systems. A unique feature of the course is that it is delivered jointly by NUI Galway and Teagasc economists. The Athenry-based Rural Economy and Development Programme (REDP) Teagasc economists Dr Thia Hennessy, Trevor Donnellan and Dr Kevin Hanrahan are delivering a number of lectures on the course. According to the Director of the Natural Resource Economics and Policy Masters programme, Dr Stephen Hynes of NUI Galway: “The participation of the Teagasc economists in the delivery of the course is a great opportunity for the students to see how agricultural economists use the economic tools, learnt during the course, to answer real world agricultural policy questions.” The Masters programme is designed to develop the analytical modelling skills of economics graduates for future employment in private and public sector, enterprises concerned with the environment, agriculture, food, fisheries and other marine resources. “Given that agriculture and food is a key element in the Irish economy and natural resource management is vital for the continued development of the sector it is important that we have students coming through with the tools to analyse the impact of policy and impact of possible environmental changes on the sector,” Dr Hynes added. The head of the Teagasc Rural Economy and Development Programme, Professor Cathal O’Donoghue also sees great merit in the collaborative teaching approach stating: “There is already close ties between the Rural Economy and Development Programme of Teagasc and the Economics Discipline in NUI Galway with many joint research projects underway and a number of Walsh Fellowship PhD students under joint supervision and operating between both campuses; so it is great to see this collaboration extend to the teaching side as well.” For those interested in this subject, the Masters course begins again in September 2015, with application due by the end of June. Further information on the Masters programme is available at   -ends-

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Tales of Finn mac Cumaill linked to places of exceptional natural resources

Tales of Finn mac Cumaill linked to places of exceptional natural resources-image

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Public talk on 5 March at NUI Galway Places associated with Finn mac Cumaill in the Fenian cycle of tales and named after him and his warrior band have an historical reality as important boundary points, hunting grounds and areas of mineral enrichment in medieval and prehistoric times. This concept will be explored further in a public lecture on 5 March by NUI Galway archaeologist, Professor Elizabeth FitzPatrick. Finn mac Cumaill (Finn McCool) and his fían or warrior band are central figures in the literature and oral tradition of Gaelic-speaking peoples of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Landforms and place-names associated with him and his hunting and martial activities include hills such as Seefin (Finn’s seat), Knockfinn (Finn’s Hill) and Formoyle (very bare place), caves such as Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Arran, and causeways like the World Heritage Giant’s Causeway on the Co. Antrim coastline. Tales of Finn reveal that he lives in a strange boundary place, a wilderness at the margins of territories. An examination of places associated with him in the real landscape show that they occur where different rock types meet and where mineral and metal ores are usually found. Red deer frequented such places to obtain their essential mineral licks and so they became important hunting grounds in the past. “These place names are much more important than instances of the survival of Finn folklore. They indicate areas of enriched natural resources and physical boundaries in the landscape,” explains Professor Elizabeth FitzPatrick. The lecture is based on a project in Archaeology at NUI Galway, with NUI Galway’s Dr Ronan Hennessy and Dr Paul Naessens, Professor Joseph Nagy at UCLA, Dr Ruth Carden wildlife ecologist and Dr Matthew Parkes of the National Museum of Ireland. The aim is to produce a digital and print Atlas of Finn mac Cumaill’s Places which will showcase new knowledge about the relationships between archaeology, geology, wildlife ecology, mythology and place-names in landscape and settlement research. Professor FitzPatrick added, “Finn places on the edge of Western Europe may be the most enduring survival of a wider landscape expression of the Celtic place-name ‘vind’ and its associated phenomenon of boundaries and enriched natural resources, extending from Gorumna Island in south Connemara to Galatia in Asia Minor." The public talk will take place on Thursday, 5 March, at 6pm in the Moore Institute Seminar Room, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway. -ends-

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