From Vermont to Dublin

Ireland has the second highest percentage of people with a third level degree in Europe. Whether it’s family tradition, student life or affordable fees in comparison to our counterparts, our third level system is highly popular. It’s also enticing a lot of international students to the country. Ben Campbell-Rosbrook is originally from Syracuse in upstate New York but has come to Ireland to do his master’s in Trinity College. ‘I’m spending like half or a third of the fees to do my masters here, compared to America’, notes Ben. ‘I think a lot of students in America get the sense that the system is stacked against them.

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World-class teacher: Luke O’Neill

As Professor Luke O’Neill discovered recently, when you become a fellow of the extremely exclusive and august science club that is the Royal Society, you have to sign their book. Previous signatories include Newton, Boyle, Freud and Einstein (Oh, and superstar astrophysicist Brian Cox). Which makes the process rather nerve-wracking, according to O’Neill, a biochemist at Dublin’s Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute and one of the world’s leading immunologists. Luke O’Neill: There’s a practice, you don’t want to smudge your name! Dublin.ie: That’s quite some company you’re keeping there - but what do all you science guys have in common? Luke O’Neill: Science is trying to find stuff out. You can call it exploration, you can call it pioneering, frontier stuff because it’s all about making discoveries. We are explorers, that’s our job, that’s what attracted me to it. I wanted to see something nobody’s seen before. And in my case, luckily enough in my lab we probably had three big discoveries that made a big difference: we explored the immune system and saw things there for the first time. The next step is there’s a whole new pathway or process discovered - and of course the thrill would be if that was a dysfunction or a disease because then you might try and correct it. Once you find the enemy, you might be able to design a new medicine that might beat it. Dublin.ie: So you’re a biochemist and not an ordinary one? Luke O’Neill: I’m a bit of a schizophrenic! I was interested in chemistry anyway and biochemistry is chemistry writ large: if you want to understand something you’ve got to understand the chemical basis for things - and biochemistry is the basis for life. If we understand the chemicals of life wouldn’t that be a thrilling thing? One comparison is with genetics: geneticists don’t really go beyond the genes, you know – and I want to know the real fundamentals. Like genes makes proteins, but what do they do? I was always obsessed with true mechanism – the underlying mechanism, the very basics of how things work. I’ve always been obsessed with molecular things in a sense.

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The Third Level: Life at Trinity Medical

Medicine in Trinity College is known as one of the most difficult courses to get into in Ireland. These students will play a major role in the future of healthcare, in Ireland and worldwide. Someday your life might just depend on one. During placement at hospital, some of these students will experience things that most of us will never see. They’ll witness life-changing moments and hear about difficult upbringings and tragic back- stories. “Sometimes I’ve taken a step back and thought, oh I’m very lucky to never have had any of those issues” says Aisling Hickey, a Trinity medicine student. Aisling is currently in fourth year of the course and on placement.

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The Third Level: Food for Thought

What sets Europe’s largest culinary school apart? The School of Culinary Arts, DIT Cathal Brugha Street has been blazing trails for 75 years. Dublin.ie met with the Head and Assistant Head of the school, Dr Frank Cullen and Mike J. O Connor to find out what sets Cathal Brugha Street apart and what the future and the move to DIT’s new centralised campus at Grangegorman hold. The School opened its doors in June 1941 as Saint Mary’s College of Domestic Science. In the 1950s the college changed to cater to the needs of a growing tourism industry, becoming the Dublin College of Catering. In the

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Language Dublin: Alliance Française

The Alliance Francaise Dublin is a French language and cultural centre which also hosts a French Multimedia Library. Philippe Milloux has been its director for four years. Dublin.ie met him in his elegant corner office at the former premises of the Kildare Street Club, home to the Alliance since 1960. A framed Charlie Hebdo cover hangs on the wall. The ideals of the Enlightenment, of debate and of the freedom of expression are important to M. Milloux. But so is romance. Dublin.ie: What were your impressions of Dublin when you first came here? PM: When I arrived first I f

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The National Gallery: ‘Say What You See’

In a picture painted in 1916, Joanne Drum points out a dead body on O’Connell Bridge. In another picture, she spots a group of onlookers gathered high up on the parapet of a building. And in another she notices what’s written on the destination plate of a tram (Terenure) on College Green in 1901. Joanne is Education Officer at the National Gallery on Merrion Square. Joanne Drum: If you look at a picture with somebody standing beside you saying “have you noticed that tiny detail up in the corner?’, sometimes that can really bring it to life and make the whole experience more meaningful. More rich. Dublin.ie: This is the National Gallery of Ireland. But plenty of your pictures have Dublin as their subject, don’t they? Joanne Drum: Look at the work of Jack B Yeats – not only was he working in Dublin but he was painting and drawing and sketching what he saw around him all the time so he was kind of documenting the history of this city. And he was there at such an important time in history. This is a man who not only lived through two world wars but also all the conflict and change that was happening in Ireland at the time as well.

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The Third Level: IADT

IADT is Dublin’s Institute of Art Design and Technology and inside the walls, it’s alive with ideas, creativity - and a girl who hula-hoops every single day! The college is situated in Dún Laoghaire – Dublin’s picturesque coastal town - and it’s home to 2,300 students and staff. Being only 12km from the city centre means “the students have the option of hanging out in Dún Laoghaire or making the trip to the city centre” says Students’ Union president, Alice Hartigan. Conveniently, it’s on the 46A bus route, the one they voted Dublin’s favourite bus route of all time: check out the views from the top deck!

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Museum Dublin: IMMA Freud

The afternoon is full of orange light and autumn leaves when I make my way down the path into IMMA. Not that all this gentle nature would have been of much artistic concern to Lucian Freud, the new star of the show around these parts. Freud was a visceral painter of the flesh, fascinated by the heft of a belly or the sag of the skin. Every good painting requires a little bit of poison, he said. IMMA’s new collection, The Freud Project, is comprised of fifty paintings and etchings on loan from private collections. The IMMA Garden Galleries are now the Freud Centre and there I meet Patricia Brennan of the Visitor Engagement Team who is happy to share some of her knowledge of the modern master.

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Sounds of Dublin: St. Patrick’s Cathedral Bells

“I mean if you could bottle it...”. Derek McEndoo is talking about the sound of his favourite church bells. Dublin.ie caught up with him to discuss all things bell ringing and, in particular, we wanted to find out about the bells at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the National Cathedral of Ireland. He just happens to be the Ringing Master at St. Pat’s. Yes, Ringing Master. We’re talking to the right man and he’s been ringing for over fifty years. Derek is very quick to point out that he was a young starter.

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Horticultural Dublin: The Bots

First things first: The Bots. What is it? “The Bots” is how teachers and students refer to The Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture, located at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. They’ve been teaching there since 1812 so there’s quite a bit of history. For our first instalment of Horticultural Dublin we want to find out about this unique institution hidden away in the suburbs. To investigate, we’ve enlisted some people on the inside. We’ve got John Mulhern, Principal of the College, and prized former pupil, Gary Mentanko. John has been with Teagasc, a wider authority on agriculture and food development, for 20-odd years. Gary studied Horticulture at the Bots and has also conducted Horticultural work in the Arctic. We’ll come back to that.

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Conor Dodd and Luke Portess, Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum

Glasnevin cemetery is the dead centre of Dublin, with 1.5 million people buried there. In fact, there are more people below ground in Glasnevin than above ground in all of Dublin. This is no ordinary cemetery, with a list of historical figures buried here including Michael Collins, Eamon de Valera, Charles Stewart Parnell and Arthur Griffith. Conor Dodd, Historian at Glasnevin, and Luke Portess, Head of Digital, tell us some of the lesser known, more unusual stories about Glasnevin. Dublin.ie: The cemetery is a working cemetery, with funerals and burials on a daily basis, but there is also a museum which is a tourist a

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Jenny Siung, Chester Beatty Library

Dubliners know where to find Armageddon, The Whore of Babylon and The Seven Headed Beast. They’re in the Book of Revelations. But where would you find the actual book? Well it so happens that most probably the earliest copy in existence (it’s called Papyrus 47) is right here in Dublin, at the Chester Beatty Library. It’s just one of the myriad treasures of this museum (it’s way more than just a library, folks). There are Egyptian Books of the Dead, Japanese picture scrolls, Art Deco French book bindings: the range and depth of the collection is extraordinary. Chester Beatty himself – the man who made this collection – was a mining

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Open House

‘We shape our buildings’, said one-time Dublin resident Winston Churchill, ‘thereafter they shape us’. So what shape are we Dubliners in? On the eve of Open House, the Irish Architecture Foundation’s phenomenally successful annual festival, Dublin.ie spoke to the IAF’s Laura Wolfe and Jennifer Halton. Dublin.ie: Open House opens the doors of special buildings all over Dublin and beyond to the public. What’s that about, Laura? Laura: It’s about giving Dublin people back ownership of their whole city. It’s saying to them ‘you know the city, you use the city, here’s the chance to rethink where you live’.

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You’re learning wha’?!

Many people think of learning as something related to their job or school. But we can also learn for fun. Dublin is host to an array of very unusual classes – so whoever says learning is boring is very wrong. Whether it’s to learn a new party piece or to up-skill in an unusual activity there is loads to do. And with less common activities you might even have the competitive edge! We’re always trying to get the work/life balance right but with handstand classes in Dublin we’re talking a whole new type of balance. Okay, standing upside down might seem a bit daunting. But why not be inspired by those amazing displays at the Olympics this year and give it a go? It

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Mindfulness – Learning for the Soul

Mindfulness is a big buzzword around Dublin. What with social media, multi-tasking, and generally running around like mad things, Dubliners are in need of new ways to unplug and relax. Mindfulness is one way to answer this need. Which is why it’s moving from the hippie fringe to the mainstream. We have so much going on in our heads and so many items on our mental to-do lists that we often carry out daily tasks without being conscious of what we’re doing. Or being able to remember it later. ‘Did I turn off the immersion?’ we wonder. ‘What time did I arrange the meeting for?’ We worry that our house will be robbed because we can’t reme

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Drumcondra, Glasnevin and the new DCU

DCU is growing. The young university is spreading its wings across the north of Dublin, with campuses in Glasnevin and Drumcondra. As a result more eager students will be adopting these areas as their new home. So, what can students coming to study in the New DCU expect from this part of our fair city? Student life is about balance. A rounded education does not just happen in a lecture hall. Libraries, books and essays may make up a large part of the university experience but they are not the be all and end all. New friends, new experiences and new locals are all waiting to be explored.

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Fighting Words: Write On!

There is unfortunately no blueprint for happiness, but a maxim to think about is ‘create, don’t consume’. Fighting Words is where Dublin’s children and young teens can learn to express themselves, but also get to grips with the tools that make that expression possible. Numerous studies have indicated that it’s our experiences that give us the most satisfaction and not the things we accumulate. That’s not always easy to remember when faced with the new car purchase that will change our lives, or the dress that makes you look like a better, slimmer version of ourselves but in our hearts we know it’s true.

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Silver Surfers Get Started

Let's be honest; the internet can be mildly intimidating (if not positively terrifying) at the best of times. What to do, then, if you're of a generation unacquainted with the World Wide Web? Recent statistics suggest that just over 50% of people aged over 60 in Ireland have never used the internet. The problem, ultimately, is that seniors can feel a type of 'digital isolation'. The solution may lie in good old-fashioned human interaction: people together, in a room, exchanging knowledge. Call it a digital dig out.

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Grangegorman Gets Schooled

Young people are the future. It’s why we cherish them and invest in them. That’s not to say that everybody would necessarily be thrilled at the prospect of 20,000 students arriving on their doorstep, which is exactly what will happen at the Dublin Institute of Technology’s formidable new Grangegorman Campus. Thanks to meticulous planning and a comprehensive vision of what the whole area will become, however, this dramatic swelling of Grangegorman’s population is being anticipated with something resembling excitement.

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Meet a Dubliner – Lorcan Collins, Historian

I’ve been running the 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour for the past 20 years, bringing people around the city, showing them the sites of the Easter Rising. It’s not just for tourists, either. Sometimes these days you’ll get 95% Irish people on the tour. It’s great that we take a real interest in our own history, especially in this centenary year. I do feel like I have a responsibility to show the good and bad of Dublin; it’s a great city, and a safe city, and I like bringing people around and saying ‘This is where it’s really at…’. Places like Moore Street, that might not be the cle

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CONNECT: Dublin’s Research Renaissance

What CONNECT does has the potential to impact on all of us. As well as the intellectual and academic importance of the research done here, its practical application is just as relevant. According to CONNECT’s Andrew O’Connell, there is a strong culture here of commercialising the research, taking it from the lab and turning it into a commercially viable product or service.

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Meet a Dubliner – Niamh Scanlon, Coder

I’m 13 years old, and I’m into coding. I went to my first coding club in Coder Dojo when I was 9, my Mum heard about it from someone and said that I should just give it a go, and from the first day I just loved the fact that you could create anything from coding. Coder Dojo runs classes that teach young people how to code for free, there are always mentors there to help you if you get stuck with anything. I think that they’re great, they have gotten a lot of young people into coding, and into tech. If you’re really creative, and you have a passion for it, then you’ll get good at coding. I like creating things with it. I

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