Archive for Maynooth University Library Cat

Maynooth University Library Cat Update

Posted in Maynooth with tags on July 12, 2020 by telescoper

I’m busy today reading a PhD thesis in advance of a virtual viva voce examination tomorrow morning but since a few people have asked, I’m taking a short break to update about Maynooth University Library Cat.

The weather has been fairly grim for the last few weeks so he’s been keeping to the various sheltering places he uses but the weather was a bit better on Friday so he was out and about.

As you can see, he’s in good health. In fact he’s as fit as a fiddle. Various people take offerings on a daily basis so he never has any shortage of food. As a matter of fact I wonder where he puts it all as he manages to stay very trim…

Leaving Off

Posted in Education, Maynooth with tags , , , on May 9, 2020 by telescoper

So yesterday the Government of Ireland announced that this year’s Leaving Certificate examinations will be cancelled. That decision seems to have surprised quite a few people but to me it looked inevitable once the Covid-19 Roadmap was published last Friday. If you recall these examinations would normally take place in June but this year had been initially been postponed to happen in late July and into August. Now they’re cancelled altogether.

Not many details are available about the scheme proposed to replace the examinations but it will be based on an assessment made by schoolteachers based on previous performance moderated in some way by the Department for Education & Skills, which has oversight of the process.

Most of the reaction I’ve seen on social media from students is that they’re delighted they won’t have to sit the examinations. Questions arise however about how fair the new system will be, especially given that it is being assembled at such short notice.

I note that the Government press release states that

Students will also retain the right to the sit the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations at a date in the future when it is deemed safe for state examinations to be held.

The Leaving Certificate isn’t just about entry into Third Level Education but it does raise specific issues for that sector. One is how many students who would potentially enter Higher Education in September will defer until they can take the Leaving Certificate proper. If many do that then the implications for University finances in the short term are significant.

Another issue is that Universities have been planning on the basis that because of the delayed Leaving Certificate, newly enrolled students would not be arriving until November. Now it looks like they will come in September along with the returning students, so we now need a Plan B.

On the face of it, it seems good news that we will no longer have the staggered academic year required in Plan B to contend with. On the other hand, if institutions have to operate with strict social distancing measures in place when they reopen, as is likely, the increased number of students in September will make this even more difficult – especially since first-year classes are the usually larger ones. I can’t see any way of coping unless a significant part of our teaching is done remotely. Recorded lectures and virtual tutorials look set to be part of the “new normal” for some time.

The decision to cancel the Leaving Certificate raises other questions but I don’t want to get into a discussion of the rights and wrongs of that decision (in which it seems Ireland’s universities had very little influence) . All I will say – and I’m sure that I speak for all my colleagues at Maynooth University – is that we will do our utmost to operate the new admissions system in a way that is as fair as possible to potential students, and to deliver the best education we can with the resources available within whatever constraints we are under in September. Whatever we do won’t be perfect, but we’ll do our best.

Until then there is no need for students or staff to get even more stressed than we are already, so I hereby invoke the calming influence of Maynooth University Library Cat.

Maynooth University Library Cat Update

Posted in Maynooth with tags on May 2, 2020 by telescoper

I’ve been quite worried about Maynooth University Library Cat as I haven’t laid eyes on him since before Easter, despite regular visits to his spot on campus on my daily exercise round. Initially I thought I was just turning up at the wrong time, but then when colleagues started to ask if I’d seen him I started to fret. It’s not unusual for cats to take it upon themselves to go walkabout and thus particular moggy certainly knows how to look after himself. Nevertheless I did fear that something bad might happened.

Anyway, I fear no more. Last night a colleague (Cathal McCauley) messaged me to inform me that our famous feline had returned, as large as life and no worse for wear. Here some of his pictures to prove it.

It’s just like a cat to reappear nonchalantly like that, as if he’d never been away. He seems as sleek and healthy as ever and continues to have a healthy appetite.

What he’s been up to for the past few weeks I don’t know. Perhaps that’s just as well…

A relevant factor is the weather. It hadn’t rained much here in Maynooth until a couple of days ago when it poured down. I suspect he has been sleeping al fresco somewhere but returned to his box when he needed somewhere dry. It’s just a theory of course.

The main thing is that he’s back and seems in good shape. I’ll see if he’s still around when I drop by this afternoon.

Update: Sunday 3rd May. I didn’t see him yesterday but made up for that just now.

I can confirm he looks very healthy and has a good appetite, though he did not seem best pleased when he saw a dog nearby.

Maynooth University Library Cat Update

Posted in Maynooth with tags , , on April 3, 2020 by telescoper

Quite a few people have been asking me how the Maynooth University Library Cat is coping with the lockdown. I always visit him when I take the daily exercise (usually after lunch) allowed by the Covid-19 restrictions. I know that others are looking after him too so he’s doing well.

When I saw him yesterday he was asleep in his box. He emerged to climb onto his wall to eat the food I put out, paused for a photo-opportunity on his usual post, then descended to ground level for a quick wash, after which he went back into his box to resume his kip.

Incidentally, you will see in the middle picture that the metal gate near his spot is now locked so it’s not possible to get from the South Campus to the North Campus past the Library. Not for us hoomans, I mean. The cat can manage it!

Maynooth University Library Cat Update

Posted in Maynooth with tags on February 28, 2020 by telescoper

This morning I was proceeding in a Northerly direction when I spied the local celebrity feline on post near the library. As I prepared to take a picture he turned to wash his rear parts. If he sits there when it’s raining or snowing it’s because he wants to be fed, so I duly opened a small serving of luxury cat food. Before I could get it into his bowl, however, he legged it over the wall and and hid in the bushes. Turning round, I saw that a person was approaching with a dog on a lead. As soon as they passed, he was back on the wall scoffing the vitacat salmon terrine.

Yesterday the Library hosted a visit from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, but he likes dogs rather than cats so I won’t dwell on the matter.

 

A Foggy Day in Maynooth

Posted in Maynooth with tags , , on January 23, 2020 by telescoper

It was quite foggy this morning as I made my way into work, the Gothic architecture of St Patrick’s House adding to the eeriness. It didn’t seem to bother our resident feline, however, who was looking particularly handsome..

Maynooth University Library Cat Update

Posted in Maynooth with tags , on January 14, 2020 by telescoper

It’s high time for the first update about the famous Maynooth University Library Cat for 2020. I gave him some breakfast on the way in to work yesterday morning, before Storm Brendan arrived. He scoffed it rapidly, even though I strongly suspect I wasn’t the first person to give him food!

I was a bit worried about said feline before the Christmas break because he had a problem with one of his front legs which gave him a limp. I couldn’t see any cuts or anything but it was clearly causing him some bother. Fortunately he seemed to shake it off and there’s no sign of the limp any more.  You can often tell if a cat is poorly because that’s the one situation when they lose their appetite, and there’s no sign of that! Indeed he was quite skittish yesterday when I said hello.

Although the rain hadn’t arrived with Storm Brendan when I fed him yesterday it was already quite windy.  There’s something about windy weather that makes cats freak out a bit. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps the it’s noise? Cats have very sensitive hearing and maybe the sound of the wind causes a kind of sensory overload? My old cat Columbo used to run around like a mad thing when it was windy outside. It’s not that he was unhappy about it – it just got him very excited.

Anyway, today it’s raining quite heavily so I expect Maynooth University Library Cat is tucked up in his little box or somewhere else that’s cosy.

 

After the Storm..

Posted in Maynooth with tags , , on October 4, 2019 by telescoper

Storm Lorenzo passed over Maynooth during the night bringing with it a lot of rain but at least the winds were not too fierce. At least I assume they were not too fierce because I slept through the whole thing. I tend to sleep well with a bottle of fine wine inside me.

This morning as I walked into work it was still raining but other than that fairly peaceful. Maynooth University Library Cat was on post despite the rain although he was looking a bit bedraggled and his food dishes were filled with water. He must have had a rough night, as I’m not sure his box provided must protection. Unfortunately this was one morning when I didn’t have any treats for him in my pocket so I hope some other nice person gives him something to eat!

 

Feline Matters

Posted in Maynooth with tags , on September 19, 2019 by telescoper

In gratitude for Maynooth University’s recent rise in the Times Higher League Tables reported yesterday, the authorities have made appropriate offerings to the deity responsible for this good fortune:

I notice also that Maynooth University Library Cat is clearly the inspiration for this visualisation of an inspiralling system, though I’m not sure what amplitude of gravitational waves this event would produce.

All of which means that I’m about to go home for an evening’s relaxation before spending tomorrow in Dublin…

Black Cat Appreciation Day

Posted in Maynooth with tags , , on August 17, 2019 by telescoper

Apparently today, August 17th, is Black Cat Appreciation Day, so I couldn’t resist acknowledging the contributions of Maynooth University Library Cat who I think is largely responsible for increase in the number of students coming to this University.

Unfortunately he hasn’t been appreciating the rainy weather over the past few days..