Archive for St Patrick’s College

R. I. P. John Hume (1937-2020)

Posted in Maynooth, Politics with tags , , , on August 3, 2020 by telescoper

Very sad news arrived this morning of the death at the age of 83 of civil rights campaigner and politician John Hume. He had been suffering from dementia for some time, and passed away earlier this morning in a nursing home in his native Derry. In that sense his death was not unexpected but I know from my own recent experience that won’t make it any easier for his loved ones. Condolences to John’s wife Pat and their family at what must be a difficult time for them.

John Hume, a Catholic, espoused the Irish nationalist cause but through non-violence, which often drew the ire of extremists on either side. Being moderate can be a dangerous position when you’re surrounded by armed factions. He became leader of the SDLP and was a key agent in the peace process that led to the construction of the Good Friday Agreement, a fact that was recognised in 1998 by a share of the Nobel Peace Prize (with David Trimble).

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” it says in the Gospel according to St Matthew. I wish more people – especially politicians – who profess to be Christian took that as seriously as John Hume.

There is a special connection between John Hume and Maynooth. He came here to St Patrick’s College initially to study for the priesthood. He didn’t pursue that aim but instead completed an MA degree in 1964 with a thesis on ‘Social and Economic Aspects of the Growth of Derry 1825 -1850’. Maynooth University recognises that connection with John & Pat Hume postgraduate scholarships and through the Hume building on campus.

John Hume was a man of great courage and integrity who dedicated his life to the cause of peace and mutual respect. He will be greatly missed.

I’ll end with a quote of his:

Ireland is not a romantic dream; it is not a flag; it is 4.5 million people divided into two powerful traditions. The solution will be found not on the basis of victory for either, but on the basis of agreement and a partnership.

And another:

All conflict is about difference, whether the difference is race, religion or nationality The European visionaries decided that difference is not a threat, difference is natural. Difference is of the essence of humanity. Difference is an accident of birth and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict. The answer to difference is to respect it. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace – respect for diversity.

Rest in peace John Hume (1937-2020). Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h’anam dílis.

Educating Rita in Maynooth

Posted in Film, Maynooth with tags , , on May 24, 2020 by telescoper

Not a lot of people know that the 1983 film Educating Rita, starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine, though mostly set in Northern England, was entirely shot in Ireland.

For example, the scenes at the University in which Caine’s character Frank works were filmed at Trinity College Dublin. Here’s the facade from an early scene:

A list of many of the outdoor scenes and their actual locations can be found here.

One thing I hadn’t realised until yesterday involves the short part of the film in which Frank is on holiday in France. Here is a still from that sequence.

The setting is St Patrick’s College Maynooth!

Other scenes supposed to be in France were filmed just down the road from Maynooth, in Celbridge.

I never thought Maynooth looked particularly French, but there you go. You live and learn…

John & Pat Hume Doctoral Scholarships

Posted in Maynooth, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on February 5, 2019 by telescoper

You may or may not know that former Northern Irish politician John Hume, is an alumnus of St Patrick’s College Maynooth and thus has close connections with Maynooth University. There’s a building named after him, for one thing.

In the words of the Maynooth University website,

Born in Derry/Londonderry, John Hume was the second leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) from 1979 to 2001. He has served as a member of the European Parliament and a member of the UK parliament, as well as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

He is regarded as one of the most important figures in the recent political history of Ireland and one of the architects of the Northern Ireland peace process. The co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize with David Trimble in 1998, Hume was also recognised with the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Martin Luther King Award – he is the only recipient of all three major peace awards.

In 2010, he was named ‘Ireland’s Greatest’ in a public poll by RTÉ. It is fitting that Maynooth University recognises the contribution of John and Pat Hume to peace on the island of Ireland.

One of the most important manifestations of the connection between John Hume, his wife Pat Hume, and Maynooth University is a programme of Doctoral Scholarships, which are now being advertised for entry in September 2019.

These are available to fund a PhD in any academic discipline so I encourage anyone interested in doing graduate research to have a look at the details which can be found here. Maynooth University is particularly keen to encourage more women to pursue careers in STEM disciplines, so we particularly encourage female applicants.

If there’s anyone out there who might be interested in doing a PhD in Theoretical Physics or Astrophysics please feel free to contact me directly! And I’d be very grateful if others who see this could draw it to the attention of potential candidates.

Lunch with Pugin

Posted in Architecture, Maynooth with tags , , , on February 9, 2018 by telescoper

I usually have a sandwich lunch when I’m in Maynooth because I’m quite busy, but it’s rather cold (though bright) today so I decided to get myself a hot lunch at Pugin Hall, which is situated in St Patrick’s House on the South Campus of Maynooth University. I stayed in St Patrick’s House briefly before Christmas, and had my breakfasts in Pugin Hall. It’s a nice place to have an expensive but filling meal. It was particularly cosy today because of the sunlight streaming in through the windows:

The hall is named, of course, in honour of architect Augustus Pugin. He didn’t design St Patrick’s House itself – construction of that building started before he was born – but did lay out the quadrangles elsewhere that make up much of the South Campus.

Historical References

Posted in Biographical, History, Maynooth with tags , , , , , , , on December 2, 2017 by telescoper

This morning, having a few hours free after breakfast before some househunting activities, I took a stroll to buy a newspaper and decided to take a few snaps.

First, here are a couple of pictures of St Patrick’s College, where I am staying. My room is on the top floor, to the left in the wing that juts forward from the main building. The chapel (with the spire) is on the other side.

The building I’m in forms the most impressive side of a quadrangle, one other part of which you can see in the second photograph.

St Patrick’s College was founded in 1795, and its style could best be described as Gothic Revival. It was in fact built as a theological college with funds supplied by King George III. There was a political reason for his largesse. Roman Catholicism was brutally suppressed in Ireland during and after the Eleven Years War in the mid-17th Century, culminating in the vicious subjugation of Ireland by Oliver Cromwell. In effect, the Catholic Church in Ireland was outlawed. Starting from about 1766 some of the restrictions on Catholics began to be removed, but there were no institutions in Ireland capable of training priests so all of those wishing to join the priesthood had to study abroad, primarily in France. George was worried that this would lead to an influx of priests whose heads were filled with revolutionary ideas from the continent, so he decided to fund a place where they could be taught in Ireland, where at least there could be some control over their education.

The old theological college of St Patrick (the `Pontifical University’) forms the core of what is now the South Campus of Maynooth University. Some of the old buildings here seem to take their names from the components of the old Liberal Arts degree: there is a Music House, Logic House, Rhetoric House and so on.

Next the entrance to the South Campus you can see this:

These are the remains of Maynooth Castle (or Geraldine Castle, after the Fitzgerald family), built around 1200. It was a huge and imposing fortress but now only the gatehouse and solar tower remain. It has violent history: heavily damaged in 1535 by siege cannons, its garrison surrendered only to be summarily executed. Rebuilt in the 1630s, it was destroyed completely in the 1640s during – you guessed it – the Eleven Years War. It has been a ruin ever since, but provides an intriguing entrance to the campus!

I’m by no means an architectural expert but I had a hunch that the Church (above) that stands opposite the Castle on the other side of the road leading into campus might also be quite old. Indeed it is. It was built in 1248 as the chapel to Geraldine Castle. It is now an Anglican Church, still used for regular worship.

The South Campus is separated from the North Campus (where the Science Building and other modern facilities are) by a main road. The North Campus is very new, most of the buildings are less than 20 years old. Here’s a picture showing the splendid library, with the spire of the chapel of St Patrick’s College in the background.  This is one of the few newer buildings on the South Campus: the pedestrian path you see leads to the main road that splits North and South Campuses.