University Taster Day

Doing the Leaving Cert and looking ahead to University?

Take part in our FREE Arts University Taster Day on

Wednesday, April 23rd 2014- Arts Millennium Building


Book your place now. Please note pre-booking is essential.

Lunch is provided. 


Choose Five taster sessions from the menu below

(one from each time slot)

See descriptions for each subject below


 taster menuTaster Day will take place in the Arts Millennium Building on the NUI Galway campus. View map and get directions.


Find out more:

+353 91 49 4145 /4398


 Taster Session Class Descriptions


English: Professor Lionel Pilkington - Brian Friel's Translations

Brian Friel's Translations received a standing ovation from nationalist and unionist politicians when it was first performed in Derry's Guildhall in September 1980 and, in many ways, this extraordinary play looks forward to the peace process of the 1990s. But what are the political values of Translations and how are they constructed? In attempting to find an answer to this question, this lecture looks especially at the historical context of Translations' first performance and at the play's treatment of language and of gender.


History: Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley -The Eucharistic Congress of 1932

This workshop will look at one of the special topics on the Leaving Certificate History syllabus for 2014 - the Eucharistic Conference of 1932. Using newspapers, video clips, parliamentary debates and images, we’ll look at the lead up to the conference, the importance of the event in the context of the Irish Free State, the effect on partition, the events that were run, the use of technology and the impact of the congress on Ireland’s international image. Did it seal Ireland’s image as a Catholic State? How has history viewed the events?

Finally, we’ll look more recently at the 2012 Eucharistic Congress held in Dublin, and question the extent to which the relationship between the Catholic Church, the State and society has changed.


French: Dr Catherine Emerson - Comment Manger son éléphant: how Leaving Cert comprehension can help you graduate in French

 Leaving Cert French is a long way from the standard that you will have reached by graduation, but as we say in English and French, the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. In this workshop, we will look at how the skills that you already have in French are the first step in a better knowledge of the language, a better understanding of a text and ultimately how they will take you anywhere you want go with the language.


Acadamh-Cumarsáid:  Rónán Ó Dubhthaigh  - Workshop: 'Ó Script go Scáilean / From Script to Screen'

Le treoir phraiticiúil ón bhfoireann chumarsáide, tabharfaidh na rannpháirtithe faoi scéal a aistriú ó Bhéarla go Gaeilge; breathnófar ar an scil a bhaineann le script a chur in oiriúint don teilifís agus raidió; tuairisciú agus an fhírinne; scileanna agallóireachta agus úsáid an ghutha; scannánú agus eagarthóireacht; píosaí chun ceamara agus pacáistiú nuachta. Is cuid lárnach de shaol na meán an sprioc ama agus is cinnte go dtabharfaidh an seisiún seo léargas praiticiúil do na rannpháirtithe ar phríomhghnéithe na cumarsáide.

 A news item will be transferred from script to screen with practical guidance from Cumarsáid staff. All course components will be utilised: translation from English to Irish; the art of adapting a script for television and radio; reporting and the truth; interviewing skills and voice use; filming and editing; pieces to camera and news packaging. Deadlines are part and parcel of all media work and the adrenaline will surely flow during this forty five minute challenge!


Maths Education: Dr Máire Ní Ríordáin - Workshop: Thinking Mathematically

So you like mathematics and you’re wondering about a career as a mathematics teacher? Why not consider the best of all worlds with our BA programme in Mathematics and Education?

Come along to our workshop which will provide you with experience and insight into being both a student teacher of mathematics and a student mathematician. You will have the opportunity to engage in a demonstration of micro-teaching, see teaching practice in action, and engage in mathematical activities requiring problem solving skills and collaboration with peers, while revising key concepts related to the post-primary curriculum. These activities will be facilitated by staff and students of the BA in Mathematics and Education



Italian: Dottoressa Valentina Rizzo - Let's go to Italy!

This workshop will introduce the students to Italian language and culture in an interactive and dynamic way. Facilitators will access and use a variety of resources to help participants familiarize themselves with Italy and the Italian language through a set of practical activities including quizzes, listening, comprehension and speaking exercises. The session will be an opportunity to speak and listen to some first words and expressions in Italian and experience Third-Level studies in the idiom.


Geography: Dr Marie Mahon - Geography, Observing your environment

Working ‘in the field’ is central to geographical learning.  It can be thought about as an opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience of geographical issues away from the classroom.  Field classes can range from short trips during scheduled class time through to half-day and day site visits, up to the larger-scale field courses which involve several days spent away in a specific study location.  This session will provide you with some insights into the nature of geographical fieldwork, using video recordings of recent fieldtrips to Portugal and the Czech Republic involving students and staff from Geography at NUI Galway.  It will give you a sense of how geographical information is collected, and why the direct experience of the specific site is important.   Fieldwork is also a chance to develop important observation, technical and writing skills.  It is also very enjoyable and an opportunity to get to know fellow students and staff in a more close-knit teaching and learning setting.


German: Professor Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa - German Connects!

Taking the recently launched “German Connects” campaign as its point of departure, the first part of this session will explore reasons for studying German at third-level. In the second part, we will practise strategies for the reading comprehension section of the German Leaving Certificate examination.


Drama: Dr Patrick Lonergan - Workshop: Macbeth in Performance

This practical workshop invites participants to explore how  Macbeth works in performance.

We will show how staging key moments from the play can enhance students' reading of the text, and explore how the play affects audiences. The workshop will take place in a theatre space so participants should wear comfortable clothing that will allow freedom of movement. Ideally, participants should have read the play in advance, but this is not absolutely essential.



Séamus Ó Coileáin - Aistriú don lucht léite

Agus aistriúcháin á ndéanamh ó Bhéarla go Gaeilge, is rómhinic a bhíonn aistritheoirí chomh dírithe sin ar an mBéarla agus ar a thuiscint agus a aistriú go cruinn beacht go ndéantar dearmad ar an nGaeilge agus ar an té a bheidh á léamh. Sa cheardlann seo, féachfar ar roinnt aistriúchán a rinneadh ar shaothar Béarla agus chomh maith leis sin, tabharfar deis dóibhsean a bheidh i láthair cúpla píosa gairid a aistriú ó Bhéarla agus ó Fhraincis go Gaeilge.


Political Sciences & Sociology: Dr Brendan Flynn - Studying society and politics at University: why, how and what you can do with sociology and political science

Why study society and the political at university? Not necessarily because you want to be a budding politician or change the world! In this mini-lecture I will bring you on a tour of how our subject can help you understand gangs, riots, the internet, social problems like homelessness, and yes, even football and sex. Sociology and Politics, together with our School’s strengths in ethnography and social work, offers a unique perspective on the wider world. I will also explain how Sociology and Politics are serious and practical subjects of applied use to many professionals in their working lives. Finally, we will take time to reveal that the subject is much more  relevant to many career pathways than you may have assumed.  



Dr Michael Hogan- The Psychology of happiness (12pm - 12.45pm)

This lecture provides an introduction to key concepts in the study of happiness, well-being and human strengths, and particular applications that are relevant within the clinical, educational, and organisational domains. A distinction is made between hedonic and eudaimonic approaches to studying happiness and well-being and the role of positive states, traits, and institutions in well-being is discussed.  Happiness is also characterized as a politically contentious issue and an idea that can be approached from many different disciplinary perspectives, with psychology being one amongst a range of disciplines that seeks to understand and influence happiness.  The issue of whether or not happiness and wellbeing should be measured by governments is also addressed, and one approach to the development of wellbeing measures and policies is outlined.  Central to this approach in the belief in the power of our collective intelligence. However, translating collective intelligence into collective action continues to present many vexing problems.

Dr John Bogue - I'm a forensic psychologist, don't lie to me! (2.15pm - 3.15pm)

This introductory forensic psychology session will examine some of the methods that are being used by law enforcement officials to detect lies. These procedures have been developed by psychologists following extensive research using psychological and psycho-physiological research methods. We will look at some of the behavioural markers associated with telling lies. Psychological research has shown that it is more effortful to tell a lie then tell the truth, we will look at how this difference is used effectively by police within an interrogation context by strategic use of evidence. 


Irish Studies:  Dr Méabh Ni Fhuartháin - Why isn't Sminky on the Leaving? Introducing Irish Studies

The construction and critique of Irish identities in literature, music, film, television and other aspects of popular culture is central to the interdisciplinary project of Irish Studies. This interactive session will track some of the recurring images of Ireland and Irishness in very different kinds of texts, from WB Yeats and Máirtín Ó Direáin through to Riverdance, Roddy Doyle and Sminky shorts to encourage students to engage critically with stereotypes of Irish identity, the kind of close reading students of the BA with Irish Studies are engaged in at NUI Galway.


Film Studies: Tony Tracy - Examining Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982)

This session will examine the principle themes and stylistic features of Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner.


 Gaeilge: Dr Rióna Ní Fhrighil - Ní thuigim filíocht! I don't get poetry!

Is iomaí duine a deir nach dtuigeann sé filíocht agus nach bhfuil baint dá laghad ag dánta Gaeilge na hArdteistiméireachta le saol an duine óig sa lá atá inniu ann. Sa léacht seo pléifear na ceisteanna a chuirtear ar scoláirí na hArdteiste de ghnáth, ceisteanna ar nós ‘cén bhrí atá leis an dán seo?’ agus ‘cén téama a phléitear sa dán seo?’ Léireoidh an léachtóir nach gá na freagraí sin ar fad a bheith ag duine le sult (sea, sult a deirim!) a bhaint as dán. An gá gach focal a chanann Eminem50 cent a thuiscint le sult a bhaint as rapcheol? Pléifear an gaol gairid atá idir an fhilíocht agus an ceol i dtraidisiún na Gaeilge agus léifear roinnt dánta atá éagsúil ar fad le dánta na hArdteiste.

Many young people maintain that they don’t understand poetry and that it is completely irrelevant to their lives. In this lecture, we will discuss the questions that teachers often ask students: ‘what does this poem mean?’, ‘what is the main theme of this poem?’ I will argue that one can enjoy (yes enjoy!) poetry without having answers to such questions! Does one have to analyse rap-songs by Eminem or 50 cent to enjoy them? In this lecture, we will discuss the connection between music and poetry in Irish, and we will read some poems which are entirely different from those on the Leaving Certificate syllabus.


Spanish and Latin American Culture: Ivan Kenny - Exploring the hispanic world: Spanish and Latin American Culture

This introductory session invites participants to look at Spanish as an international language. It and draws upon key figures and images from both contemporary Spanish and Latin American culture to highlight the global impact of Spanish and to showcase third-level studies in Spanish and Latin American Studies.


Philosophy: Dr Gerald Cipriani - Introduction to Philosophy

Unlike with other disciplines such as science, politics, or even art, many wonder what is the purpose of philosophy. Some even question what is the point of studying philosophy if the discipline does not improve our quality of life in the most efficient and obvious way. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Philosophy does enrich our way of life by making us aware of hidden aspects below, beyond, or beside our usual modes of thinking and acting; philosophy makes us aware of the infinite richness that stems from our experiences of the world. Moreover, philosophy can be a powerful tool to help us resolving problems of reasoning and understanding by analysing what are the factors that contribute to creating those problems. In whatever case, philosophy questions assumptions, beliefs, and certitudes, not for the sake of it, but to make us realise that the complexity of the world deserves a special treatment: a way of questioning that can both reveal the unknown and clarify what is misunderstood. Philosophy has obviously many different facets. Depending on the historical period, the geographical location, the culture, and the field at stake, the practice of philosophy has varied significantly. Ways of philosophizing can even have very different styles. This talk will offer a brief introduction to the nature and purpose of philosophy with concrete examples taken from a variety of topics covered by the B.A. course of the Department of Philosophy at NUI Galway; those include history, ethics, art, politics, science and religion.


Classics: Professor Michael Clarke - Mythology: Ancient stories to explain the world

Human beings have been telling stories about the nature of the universe for as long as our species has had the ability to speak. Our forebears used a language of imaginative symbols, and in mythology our forebears explored the strangeness of the world in forms that can easily seem like mere fantasy. In Classics we try to reach back as far as we can towards the beginnings of that long process of development, and we focus on the beginnings of European civilisation in the Mediterranean from as long ago as 3000 years before the present day. In this talk we will explore a few examples of how to listen to mythology, focussing on the images of gods, heroes and monsters that the ancients picked out among the stars of the night sky.


Mathematics: Dr. Rachel Quinlan - Some questions about numbers

In this talk we will look at some famous unsolved problems that are easy to describe and understand, but have confounded mathematicians for centuries. We will see how certain specific questions have motivated the development of whole new areas of mathematics. We will discuss where mathematical knowledge comes from and how it finds practical applications, sometimes unexpectedly.


Economics: Dr Alan Ahearne - The Irish Economy: Back from the Brink

The Irish economy appears to be recovering from a severe financial crisis that has left a legacy of high debt and unemployment. Confidence towards Ireland has improved considerably over the past year, supported by improving economic conditions in the global economy and actions by the European Central Bank. What lies in store for Ireland’s economy? Dr. Ahearne will provide his insight on the current state of the Irish economy and how it might perform in the period ahead.


Legal Studies: Professor Donncha O'Connell - Learning Law, Attaining Justice

 This talk will ask the question – is there a reason beyond professional ambition for studying law? It will explore the idea of vocational commitment to the pursuit of justice as an aspect of lawyers’ work and make the case for ‘living greatly in the law’. Using examples of specific cases, it will demonstrate the important role played by lawyers in the attainment of justice and vivification of the rule of law.


Children's Studies: Kate Harvey - Children's Literature and Film

This session will provide an introduction to the critical study of children’s literature and film as a means to understand contemporary childhoods. After a brief overview of the BA CONNECT with Children’s Studies at NUI Galway, we will explore the ways in which childhood is constructed in contemporary children’s media. Using J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and its film adaptations as a case study, participants will discuss the methods used by producers of children’s media to address their target audience and thus engage critically with contemporary representations of children and childhood.


Human Rights: Dr Noelle Higgins - Human rights: where do they come from?

This session will introduce students to the study of human rights. We will discuss the origins of human rights and how rights have been protected and promoted in different societies and by different entities over time. It will focus on why human rights matter to us in our daily lives and what can be done to promote and protect them.


Archaeology: Professor. Elizabeth FitzPatrick - The Dark Casket: Archaeology from Irish Bogs

The poet Seamus Heaney described Irish bogland as a ‘dark casket where we have found many of the clues to our past and to our cultural identity’. This conversation with students outlines some of the exciting archaeological discoveries made in bogland, from the remains of a Neolithic world preserved beneath a blanket of peat over several square miles at Céide Fields, Ballycastle, north Mayo, to the Corlea Iron Age oak trackway, Co. Longford, and the book of psalms known as the Faddan More Psalter rescued from a Co. Tipperary bog. The understanding of these discoveries communicated by archaeologists, and the important role that archaeology plays in teaching us what it means to be human, will form an imporant part of the conversation. It will be show that Archaeology at NUI Galway develops the student's ability and skills as a recorder, reader and communicator of the material remains of the past and as an advocate for the important messages of archaeology and human heritages in the modern world.


Information Technology:Dr Conor Hayes - Information Technology: Logic & Creativity

In this session we will review the development and evolution of one of the most remarkable tools we have ever invented: the computer. Computers are everywhere: we use them for communication, banking, entertainment, sport, education, health, medical diagnosis and more. Computers are used in every area of human endeavour, yet we are not computer literate: we do not know how to read and write code. This talk will highlight the critical importance of computer literacy: computer programming, while initially intimidating, is an incredibly empowering skill to learn. This logical decomposition of a problem into its component parts and its translation into computer code, coupled with the creative energies and insights regarding its potential application to support human purpose form the core of the study of information technology at university.



Celtic Civilisation: Dr Clodagh Downey - Discovering our cultural past

Many in Ireland today might consider themselves ‘Celts’, but would be hard-pressed to explain what that is. And what is ‘Celtic Civilisation’? This session will introduce students to aspects of the ancient and medieval culture of Celtic-speaking regions, which are explored in more detail in the BA course in Celtic Civilisation, and will consider the place of this culture in our sense of our past and of ourselves. Students will come away with a better idea of what ‘Celtic Civilisation’ means, and what can be gained from studying it at university.