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Cois Coiribe  2013‌



Cois Coiribe 2012 Cover

Cois Coiribe 2012

(online flash version)

Cois Coiribe is our magazine for alumni and friends of NUI Galway.

Click here for online Flash Version

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In this issue:


Alumni Links Newsletter

Alumni Links Newsletter, October 2012

The  October 2012 edition of Alumni Links is now available. This month's issue contains information on university news and recent and upcoming alumni events.

Click here to Read Alumni Links, October 2012


Alumni Links Newsletter, Septemer 2012

The  September 2012 edition of Alumni Links is now available. This month's issue contains information on University news including NUI Galway's recent rise in International Rankings.

Also included is information on recent and upcoming events including reunions for the classes of 1972, 1982, 1987 and 1992. We look forward to meeting you at one of our events during the year, come along and reconnect!

Click here to Read Alumni Links, September 2012


coiscoiribe2011 coverCois Coiribe 2011

Cois Coiribe is our magazine for alumni and friends of NUI Galway.

In this issue:

View or download Cois Coiribe here

English version of

Peter Faherty with Mace  Faoin gClogthúr (Under the Clock Tower)
By Peter Faherty

which appears in Cois Coiribe on page 29

  "I live in a castle." Well that's what I believed the Quadrangle was when I moved in there at five years of age. The year was 1958 and my late father Padraic, or Paidin as he was known to many in his native home of Inis Meáin, was Head Porter at the University. I will never forget looking up at the clock tower as I held my father's hand and saying "this is a big castle dad". It was November 1958. This was to be my new home for the next 11 years and later my place of work until the day I retired in July, 2011.

I have some many great memories of my life in the Quad. It was a small place at the time and we lived in the Archway that is now the Marketing and Communications Office. Five of us lived there; my sister was born in the Archway. They were easier times then and things went at a slow pace. My father was responsible for a lot of duties; information, porterage, mail distribution, telephone and security. He would set fires in all the halls in the Quad first thing in the morning and then the local cleaning ladies would arrive at 5.30am. The switchboard was located behind the front desk in a small room and both my mother and father would operate it. There was also a window with a flap on it and this is where students would collect their mail through a slot in the window frame.

The reception area was flanked on either side by our kitchen and dining room. Our bedrooms were upstairs in Physiology. The bathroom was directly under the clock tower. All the administration was in the Quad and some of the departments still exist there today. It was the heart of the University especially when the students were moving through the Archway for their lectures. Their lectures took place in three main halls: the Greek Hall (MIS today) Latin Hall (Accounts today) Physics Hall (now the Geophysics Unit). The Physics Department was located in the staff room area of today. Physiology, Archaeology, Geography and Geology also had their departments in the Quad. The Aula Maxima was the main hall in the Quad and was used for many events. The library (where HR/Building's Office is today) was perhaps the most important room to me. It was to leave a lasting impression. My father had all the keys for the Quad and they were never labeled, he just knew what all the keys were for. On Sundays I would take the keys and the other children and I would go up to the library, put on a pair of socks and slide down the beautiful vinyl floor. It was great fun.

I always remember staff members in our kitchen. They would pop in for a cup of tea and a chat. I remember a big range and a cot and there was always a fire and always cups of tea. My mother Bríd was from Inis Oírr, Aran Islands and she was very easy going. I was the eldest of five children, two brothers and two sisters. We always spoke Irish in our home, it played a very important role in our childhood. There were always people visiting from Aran. Our home became a halfway house for many islanders on their visits to Galway. The fair days (Lá Aonach) were a great occasion as we watched from the dockside as the Naomh Enna unloaded her cargo of cattle on the Quayside.

We originally lived in Mervue until my father got the job as Head Porter and we moved to the Quad. There were other families that lived on the grounds at the time. The Sherlock family lived in the Gate Lodge and Alfie Sherlock was the College Steward and served the University with distinction for 54 years. He would close the main entrance to the grounds at 10 o'clock every night. Our families became close friends. I would spend many hours playing around the Quad with Kevin, Noel, Alfred and Bernie Sherlock. We loved to play in the apple orchards and amongst the chestnut trees and spent many a long day collecting chestnuts. We were very privileged and lucky children.

In those days, the President resided within the Quad. My father served under three Presidents: Dr Monsignor De Brun 1945 – 1959; Professor Martin Newell, 1960 – 1975 and Professor Colm O hEocha, 1975 - 1996. I remember Monsignor De Brun well and he was a lovely man who spent a lot of time chatting to my father in our kitchen. The Newell family like the Sherlocks became great friends of ours. They had four sons, Eamon, Michael, Martin and Johnny. Martin was my hero as he played football for Galway. He was a member of the famous three in a row All Ireland Galway Football Team, 1963 – 1966. He studied in Germany and I remember the thrill of it when he would return home on holidays and play a game of football with us on the front pitch. Martin, like his father, was a Professor of Mathematics at the University until recently. Johnny Newell and I were the best of friends and I remember when Johnny bought a pellet gun and we spent many evenings up on the top floor (where the development office is today) shooting into the trees and frightening away the crows. I also remember when we would sneak into the staff room (where the University Secretary's office is today) and someone would keep watch while we took biscuits and snuck out the window. I remember at the time children in school saying "Pete lives in a castle", it really was a magical place to grow up in.

The President and his wife Noreen were very close friends of ours and they were well respected and loved by my father and mother. Every Sunday morning, as I was the eldest, in the company of my mother and Mrs. Newell, we would make our way along the canal for 8 o'clock mass in St Joseph's Church on Presentation Road. After mass I had the privilege of delivering their Sunday papers and the great thrill of ringing the huge doorbell. Mrs. Newell was an excellent cook and her cakes were a specialty, as indeed was her homemade jam. She organised coffee mornings, which were held on the college lawns within the Quad and they were something special. Long tables were set out parallel with the lawns and these were dressed in white tablecloths. Her cakes and scones were much talked about, especially her fruitcakes.

I met many interesting people while living in the Quad. One of the great characters within the college in those days was Mrs. Creaven (fondly known as Ma) and she supervised the Coffee Shop (where Aras Failte is today). She became a legend within the University and students and staff were always on their best behavior while having their coffee in Ma's house. Other staff members whom I have fond memories of include Professor Mairin De Valera, Botany Department. She was Éamon De Valera's daughter. She spent many summers on the Aran Islands and many evenings in our kitchen with my mother exchanging stories about the islands. She liked nothing more than to speak Irish and both my mother and father were fluent speakers.

Other staff members who left a lasting impression on me were Professor Mairead Heavey, Classics Department. She was a person who had great compassion and who was a mother figure to many students especially during their exams. One of her great sayings during exam time was that there was no such thing as failure, it was only success postponed. I also remember Paddy McDermott reading out the exam results and the big roar that would be heard when their results were read out but there were also a lot of tears and devastated students. My mother would bring many of them into the kitchen and make them tea to console them.

Another lady I remember was Professor Mairin O'Reilly who was a Professor of Spanish. Her house was next door to Powell's Shop on the Four Corners in Galway. Also Professor Hayes McCoy, Professor of History. During college term he stayed in the Great Southern Hotel. He spent most of his time in Dublin, although his father in the early years ran a barbershop in Eyre Square (where Dunnes Stores is today). On the ground staff, there was Matt Cooke, who pushed his wheelbarrow daily along the Red Lanes within the college walls. I remember sitting with him drinking tea and eating chocolate after school. His tearoom was directly behind the handball alley (the highway lab today).

My father's job was a demanding one. His favourite pastime was gardening. He found a garden directly behind the Anatomy School and it was like a jungle until my father cleared it out and grew potatoes and vegetables. I remember a black shed where he raised chickens and little ducklings and also I remember my granny (Mamo) visiting from Aran and spending a lot of time in the garden, she was a great age at that stage.

Things started to change at the University in the late 60s. The Concourse opened up in 1975/6 and gradually the campus moved north and the big building programme started under Gerry Lee, who was Building's Officer. I joined my father at the University in 1973 as a porter and I was part of a new group of employees that came to the University between 1971 and 1976. Joe and John Devaney in the mailroom joined at that time and are still here today. My father retired in 1988 but sadly died two years later whilst at home in the Aran Islands.

Now that I have retired, I remember the great times during my many years at the University. Huge highlights for me include meeting President Ronald Regan. I carried the University Mace, as my father had for years. I also was privileged to meet Nelson Mandela, Éamon De Valera, Hilary Clinton and Maureen O'Hara. The honorary conferrings were always special to me as I met some great people. The degrees days are also special as you meet proud parents. My own daughter Helen graduated from the University in 2003 and that was a proud day for me. Other highlights include being presented with a President's Award in the early 90s and completing my BA in 1988.

I have seen massive changes at the University and I often wonder what my father would think. It is a busy place now, not like in my father's time. There was and still is something special about the Quad and that will never change. I don't miss the work but I do miss the people, I was always a people's person but I'm always on the doorstep, I guess this place is a part of me and that will always draw me home.

Newsletter - Alumni Links

Alumni Links is the e-newsletter freely available to all alumni and friends of NUI Galway. 

Recent issues of Alumni Links:

Summer 2011 Winter 2010 November 2009 December 2008
Spring 2011 Summer 2010 June 2009 August 2008
January 2011 March 2010 March 2009 May 2008
  January 2010   March 2008


December 2007 - September 2007 - July 2007 - May 2007 - February 2007 - December 2006 - September 2006 - June 2006 - March 2006 - January 2006 - December 2005

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Alumni Links Newsletter

Alumni Links Newsletter, October 2012

The  October 2012 edition of Alumni Links is now available. This month's issue contains information on university news and recent and upcoming alumni events.

Click here to Read Alumni Links, October 2012

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