Sneachta i Maigh Nuad

Posted in Life on January 8th, 2022 by steve

Ireland“So the exam period is upon us and I’ve spent all day dealing with lots of last-minute issues to do with that. Switching examinations online has led to Departments having to do themselves lots of things that were previously done by the Exams Office …” (more)

[In the Dark, 7 January]


Staff Shortages

Posted in Life, Teaching on January 5th, 2022 by steve

Ireland“… The timing of the academic term for staff Maynooth University is doing us some favours. On Friday 7th we start the examination period. Across the University, 95% of the assessments taking place are online. In my Department that is 100%, so neither students nor staff have to travel onto campus …” (more)

[In the Dark, 5 January]

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Last Day Off Again

Posted in Life, Teaching on January 3rd, 2022 by steve

Ireland“So I find myself almost at the end of the Christmas break as I did on the same day last year. Tomorrow is officially my first day back at work. I don’t think I’ll be going back to my office on campus in the morning, though, as I think I can probably manage all the things I have to do from home …” (more)

[In the Dark, 3 January]

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End of Term Blog

Posted in Teaching on December 18th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Yesterday was the last day of teaching at Maynooth University for 2021 and, although I didn’t have any teaching to do, I went into the Department partly to get a bit of fresh air having been stuck at home on Thursday after my booster jab, and partly to collect a few things before the break …” (more)

[In the Dark, 18 December]

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Last Week Ahead

Posted in Teaching on December 12th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“We’re approaching the end of term here at Maynooth University; the forthcoming week is the last week of teaching, after which we have the luxury of a full week without lectures or tutorials before Christmas itself. Apart from eating and drinking I think I’ll spend most of the holiday sleeping …” (more)

[In the Dark, 12 December]

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A Date for a Boost!

Posted in Teaching on December 9th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“… Yesterday, before I received the text message announcing my booster shot, I emailed the students in my classes to say the remaining lectures of the term will be online-only because of the high levels of Covid-19 in circulation and my waning immunity. Next week’s booster doesn’t change that as next week is the last week of teaching …” (more)

[In the Dark, 9 December]

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Four Years in Maynooth

Posted in Life on December 1st, 2021 by steve

Ireland“In recent times I’ve found myself remarking quite frequently on this blog how much the Covid-19 pandemic has played havoc with my perception of the passage of time, and I come to reflect on that again now that today (1st December 2021) marks four years since I started work at Maynooth University …” (more)

[In the Dark, 1 December]


Great News for Astrophysics & Cosmology at Maynooth!

Posted in Governance and administration on November 29th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Great News for Astrophysics & Cosmology at Maynooth! I couldn’t resist a quick post in reaction to the announcement by the Irish Government of ten new senior professorial positions under the Strategic Academic Leadership Initiative (SALI). I blogged about this scheme here. Among the positions just announced is a new Chair in Observational Astrophysics or Cosmology at Maynooth University …” (more)

[In the Dark, 29 November]

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Maynooth University to hold majority of exams online after 4,000 students sign petition

Posted in Teaching on November 26th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Maynooth University has announced that they will hold the majority of January exams online after a petition calling for in-person tests to be scrapped received thousands of signatures. The petition was set up by the University’s Students’ Union who said on-campus exams cannot go ahead due to the ‘uncertain public health situation nationwide’ …” (more)

[Emma Nevin, DublinLive, 26 November]

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Maynooth University Library Cat Update

Posted in Life on November 24th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“It has been some time since I last posted an update about Maynooth University Library Cat. It’s been rather chilly recently and he’s probably been keeping out of the cold somewhere snug …” (more)

[In the Dark, 24 November]


Please don’t call me ‘Sir’!

Posted in Teaching on November 10th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Yesterday, on the way out of the lecture theatre after finishing a class, I was chatting with some of the class and the subject came up of how students should address me (and their lecturers in general). One thing I’ve noticed since moving to Ireland is that, more so in England or Wales, first-year students often call me ‘Sir’ if they want to attract my attention to something …” (more)

[In the Dark, 10 November]


Notes from Half Way

Posted in Teaching on November 7th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“We’ve now reached the halfway point in our teaching semester at Maynooth University. That means there are another six weeks of teaching before the end of term break …” (more)

[In the Dark, 6 November]

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Back to Exams

Posted in Teaching on October 26th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“After a welcome break for yesterday’s traditional Hallowe’en Bank Holiday it’s time today to embark on the tradition of the Writing of the First Semester Examinations. I have to come up with four papers (two main exams for January and two repeat exams for next August) by next week, complete with solutions …” (more)

[In the Dark, 26 October]

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From Maynooth to SFI

Posted in Research on October 20th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Last month I mentioned that I attended an event to mark the departure of Professor Philip Nolan at the end of his term as President of Maynooth University. Over drinks afterwards he wasn’t very forthcoming about what he was planning to do next …” (more)

[In the Dark, 20 October]

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Meeting in Person

Posted in Governance and administration on October 16th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Yesterday was the end of Week 4 of the Autumn Semester. Because Hallowe’en is on Sunday this year, the mid-term study break is a bit earlier than usual, meaning that Week 5 is the last week before that. That’s not to say we have a holiday of course, apart from the October Bank Holiday on 25th October, the first day of that week …” (more)

[In the Dark, 16 October]

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Maynooth University Library Cat Update

Posted in Life on October 6th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“On my way through the drizzle to my 2pm lecture today I happened to see Maynooth University Library Cat at his usual position so stopped to take a snap …” (more)

[In the Dark, 6 October]


Maynooth University’s first female president: ‘I have a daughter. I have a life. It is possible’

Posted in Governance and administration on October 4th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Until just over a year ago there had been no female university president in 428 years of higher education in Ireland. Today there are four; Prof Eeva Leinonen is the latest woman to take that step after taking over as president of Maynooth University last Friday …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 4 October]

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A New Regime

Posted in Governance and administration on September 30th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“With the departure of Professor Philip Nolan (whose last day at Maynooth is today) there will soon be a new regime in place at the University. Nobody knows what changes will take place, but there will undoubtedly be some. On a more personal note some things will change less than I originally planned …” (more)

[In the Dark, 30 September]

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Professor Philip Nolan retires as Maynooth University president after 10-year term

Posted in Governance and administration on September 30th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Professor Philip Nolan is retiring as president of Maynooth University today, after a 10-year term. Prof Nolan has also played a critical role in controlling the spread of Covid in Ireland as chair of Nphet’s Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 30 September]

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University runs a 200km-roundtrip for students who can’t find a place to stay

Posted in Governance and administration on September 27th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“One of the country’s top universities has had to organise a more than 200km round-trip commuter bus due to the student accommodation crisis. Maynooth University said it has on-campus accommodation for 1,170 students, but this is ‘heavily oversubscribed’ and fully booked …” (more)

[Luke Byrne, Independent, 27 September]

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