Medical Student Wins Research Scholarship in Cambridge

Medical Student Wins Research Scholarship in Cambridge-image

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

NUI Galway medical student Orla Hennessy has won a place at the University of Cambridge in the UK as part of the Amgen Scholarship programme. Orla, who was born in Dublin and grew up in Kilmaley, County Clare, has just completed her second year of medicine at NUI Galway and will spend the summer as a researcher in Cambridge. One of Europe’s most competitive science scholarship programmes, the Amgen Scholarship offers undergraduate students the opportunity to work in world-class labs across the continent. It is one of the only pan-European undergraduate research programmes open to students across multiple countries and offers the chance to take part in original research at labs at the University of Cambridge, Karolinska Institute or LMU Munich. Orla will work with Professor Martin Bennett in Cambridge’s Department of Medicine’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. Her interest in cardiovascular medicine has a family link as both her parents are doctors and her father is a cardiologist.   Orla was only 16 when she sat her Leaving Cert. She knew by then that she wanted to do medicine, but was not sure she could do it, as she explains: “I saw how hard my father worked and how much of himself he put into his work. I wasn’t sure I could do that, but I was encouraged by my parents and my teachers. I came to realise that medicine was much bigger than what my father did and that I did not have to be a clinician. I could be a researcher or a bit of both. Medicine was not just my dad’s job. It was so much more.” Last summer she won a Health Research Board summer scholarship to do a research placement in Galway which looked at the skin ulceration in the early stages of diabetes. Dr Sean Dinneen is Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway: “Our faculty is actively engaged in innovative research in many areas, with particular emphasis on cancer, gene and stem cell therapy and biomedical engineering science. This investigative ethos is part of our undergraduate degree programme and we encourage students to undertake research opportunities. Orla should be commended for winning a sought after research scholarship and we wish her every success for the summer.” -ends-

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Five NUI Galway Researchers Among Ireland’s Most Promising Young Scientific Talent in €23 Million Announcement

Five NUI Galway Researchers Among Ireland’s Most Promising Young Scientific Talent in €23 Million Announcement-image

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock T.D., has today announced €23 million in new funding to help support 40 of Ireland’s most promising young research talent to become fully independent researchers. Included are five individuals from NUI Galway who have secured funding to the value of almost €3 million. The funding, which is being awarded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), will encourage Ireland’s most talented young researchers to remain in Ireland, while also helping to attract excellent young researchers from other countries to base themselves here. Minister Sherlock said:“Funding for researchers at the outset of their careers is an important element of the Government’s strategy for job creation in research and innovation under our Action Plan for Jobs. SFI’s funding schemes for early career researchers help ensure that excellent research with the potential for real economic and societal impact is properly supported in Ireland. Investment like this is important for Ireland’s developing international reputation for excellent research with impact. The 40 research projects being awarded by SFI today demonstrate the enormous talent and potential that exists among Ireland’s young researchers”. The €23 million in funding delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through SFI’s Starting Investigator Research Grant, and Career Development Award, will support researchers and post-graduate students. Two individuals at NUI Galway have received the Career Development Award (CDA) which aims to support early and mid-career researchers who already hold a salaried, independent research post and who are looking to expand their research activities: Dr Peter Crowley, School of Chemistry, for his project ‘Supramolecular Approaches to Protein Surface Recognition and Self Assembly’. This is Dr Crowley’s second funding of late from SFI, having recently been given an award to help increase his potential to attract EU funding. Dr Jamie Goggins, Civil Engineering, for his project ‘Achieving nearly zero energy buildings - A life cycle assessment approach to retrofitting existing buildings’. A further three researchers at NUI Galway have received Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG), which provides support for excellent postdoctoral researchers who wish to take steps towards a fully independent research career: Dr Subhadip Bodhak for the project ‘Multifunctional Nanofibrous Patch for Intervertebral Disc Regeneration’. Dr Sebastian Gornik for his work in the epigenetic basis of stem cell maintenance and cellular differentiation in the cnidarian Hydractinia. Dr Margaretha van der Merwe for her work in ‘Leveraging the Evolutionary Epigenetic Landscape for Understanding Regulatory Mechanisms of Abiotic Stress Tolerance’. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, welcomed the announcement: “We are delighted to see that NUI Galway’s talented faculty are being acknowledged by SFI through CDA awards. We will also enrich our pool of young research stars by bringing SIRG Fellows to join excellent research teams in the University”. Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Both of the programmes under which funding is being announced today will help promising young researchers to create and develop impactful careers here in Ireland and in turn enable the pursuit of scientific research that has potential economic and societal impact. These programmes are also an important factor in ensuring that Ireland can succeed in persuading top young scientific talent from abroad to base their research efforts here in Ireland”. -ends-

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Packie Bonner launches 10th Macron Galway Cup in NUI Galway

Packie Bonner launches 10th Macron Galway Cup in NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Legendary Irish goalkeeper, Packie Bonner, launched the 2014 Macron Galway Cup at a special ceremony at NUI Galway this week. The tournament will feature teams from six countries and the cream of Ireland's young talent. Speaking at the launch, Salthill Devon Chairman Oliver Daniels welcomed the Deputy Mayor of Galway John Walsh and other distinguished guest, including John Fallon of Macron the tournament sponsors and the special guest Packie Bonner. He pointed out just how important the event is to the Galway region in particular, providing approximately ten thousand bed nights, worth an estimated €2 million to the city. "We are particularly grateful to NUIG where the vast majority of the players  will stay, at the Corrib Village, throughout the tournament. Packie Bonner has been a staunch supporter of the tournament since its inception and he thanked Salthill Devon for inviting him back to Galway: "I am always delighted to get back to Galway. I have attend the Macron Cup as a both a spectator and as FAI Technical director and for me the players make it happen. I have spoken to people around the world who have played in and seen the tournament and the have nothing but the highest praise for the high standards at the event - hopefully this year will be no expectation.” The centre piece of the tournament is the Elite section for boys born in 1999. Squads from five countries, including the Irish National squad, Ipswich Town, Scunthorpe United, Chivas Guadalajara, Mexico, DC United, from the United Sates and Maccabi Haifa from Israel. According to Tournament Director, Denis Burke: "Over the years this Elite section has proved to be very competitive and  the standard of play has been consistently high. This is our second year with Macron as our main sponsor - last year was a particularly successful event and we are looking forward to long and fruitful relationship with John Fallon and his team at Macron." He continued: "Additionally we have other important supporters in Fáilte Ireland, Galway City Council, Smyth's Toys, The Ardilaun Hotel, Finches soft drinks and Supermacs and their contribution allows us to stage a quality international event.” Salthill Devon have built this tournament, year on year, into the premier event of its type in Ireland. They have done this by engaging with 'like minded' partners in the community. Galway benefits significantly from the tournament as up to 1,100 players, officials and their families converge on the city for the tournament.   A video from the launch can be viewed here.

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Racing Greats to be Honoured by NUI Galway during Galway Race Week

Racing Greats to be Honoured by NUI Galway during Galway Race Week -image

Monday, 14 July 2014

Dermot Weld and Jim Bolger to be conferred with Honorary Doctorates NUI Galway has announced the names of two recipients of 2014 Honorary Degrees. At a special ceremony in the University on the biggest day in Irish racing, NUI Galway will honour two leading lights from the world of horse racing on Wednesday, 30 July. Dermot Weld and Jim Bolger will both be conferred with Degrees of Doctor of Arts (honoris causa) on a day when the infamous Galway Plate takes place. NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, speaking in advance of the conferring ceremony, said: “With the sporting world’s attention on Galway and Ballybrit this week, we are proud to celebrate the horse-racing heritage of our city by recognising two of Ireland’s greatest racing trainers and breeders. Jim Bolger and Dermot Weld are global figures in the world of horse-racing. They have distinguished themselves as breeders, trainers and leaders of the sport and in so doing have burnished Ireland’s global reputation as a centre of the equine industry. NUI Galway is delighted to recognise their achievements by awarding them the highest honour which the University can confer, at a special ceremony during the Galway Racing festival.” Dermot Weld one of Ireland’s most renowned and successful racehorse trainers, at home and abroad will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Arts (honoris causa). He has trained the winners of twenty-two European Classic races and remains the only trainer outside of the US and Canada, to have won a leg of America's famous Triple Crown. Dermot has won races at both the Cheltenham Festival and at Royal Ascot and has enjoyed success at both meetings this year. Australia has been a country of note in Dermot's career with two wins in the race that stops a nation the Melbourne Cup. Dermot was the first trainer based in the northern hemisphere to win this most prestigious race when Vintage Crop stormed to victory in 1993. To date, Dermot has trained in excess of 3,700 winners. A qualified Vet, Dermot was a leading amateur rider and was crowned Champion on three occasions. He also rode winners in South Africa, the UK, France and in the US. Dermot was along serving Director of the Irish National Stud and also served on the board of the Irish Horseracing Authority. In 2001, Dermot was presented with the Charter Day Medal from University College Dublin. He is currently in his second term as a Director of Leopardstown Racecourse. In 20l1 he was made an honorary member of the Galway Race Committee. Jim Bolger will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Arts (honoris causa). In a remarkable career that has spanned five decades, at 71 years of age, he remains one of the single most iconic figures in the game. The Wexford native at the age of 35 years left his job in finance and began his training career in a yard at Clonsilla near the old Phoenix Park training ground. A farmer’s son who first dabbled in buying and selling show-jumpers, Bolger possesses rare vision and an insatiable work ethic, a trait that he has always sought to instil in his horses as he earned an enduring reputation that isn’t simply one of high-standards and meticulousness. A master of his profession and a born leader, his revered genius is as evident in the characters he has nurtured as it is in the champion racehorses that he has trained. Paul Carberry, Willie Mullins, Peter Scudamore and his now son-in-law Kevin Manning all emerged from his famously uncompromising academy. Since moving to Coolcullen’s Glebe House in Co Kilkenny in 1982, he has developed one of the most acclaimed and sophisticated private training centres in the world which has defined his enormous contribution to Irish racing’s globally-renowned status. Thirty years ago, Give Thanks secured him a first Classic victory in the Irish Oaks, and it is in racing’s uber-commercial Flat sphere that the self-made and inherently autonomous entrepreneur has continued to break down barriers and set the standards for others to aspire. The two graduands join the ranks of previous honorary alumni which include from the world of sport, Christy O Connor Snr and Jnr and Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh among many others such as, Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Enya, Anjelica Huston and Fionnuala Flanagan.  -Ends-

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Celebrating World-Class Research at NUI Galway

Celebrating World-Class Research at NUI Galway -image

Monday, 14 July 2014

NUI Galway has honored staff members for their outstanding contributions to Research. The President’s Awards for Research were introduced earlier in 2014 and are highly competitive. The awards acknowledge excellence in research activity across three categories: ‘Early Stage Research, ‘Research Supervision and Established Research. Recipients were honoured recently at NUI Galway’s Inaugural Research Showcase. The awards ceremony included opening remarks from NUI Galway President Jim Browne and Vice-President for Research Professor Lokesh Joshi. Professor Joshi remarked on the breadth and depth of the award recipients and thanked members of the University community for their thoughtful and moving nominations. Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “It is a privilege to preside over the Inaugural President’s Research Awards and to share our research with fellow colleagues and our broader research community. Whilst our Inaugural winners come from different Schools and Disciplines with very different research skills and objectives, they share a passion for research excellence which is internationally recognised in their cognate research areas.”  The Award Winners included: Professor Henry Curran (Chemistry), Established Research Award Professor Donal O’Regan (Mathematics), Established Research Award Dr Marie-Louise Coolahan (Humanities), Established Research Award Dr Shane Darcy (Law), Early Stage Research Award Dr Martin O Halloran (Engineering), Early Stage Research Award Professor Afshin Samali (Biochemistry), Research Supervisor Award Dr Mark Healy (Engineering), Research Supervisor Award Other events featured at the Research Showcase included a Euro Million Project Pitch with team and individuals pitching for research funding to develop a unique research idea. Seven projects were pitched to a panel of research expert with four projects awarded developmental funding.  Awards were presented to the following: • Dr Eilionóir Flynn (College of Business, Public Policy and Law) • Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile (College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies) • Dr Pádraic Moran (College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies) • Dr Audrey Morley (College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies) Sixty postgraduate researchers were also selected to present posters designed to represent their work. The event gave students the opportunity to share their research with other students and staff. The following students were acknowledged at the event for their contributions to research. Best Poster Presentations Karen Taylor (College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies) Dilip Thomas (College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences) Claire McDaniel (College of Science) Societal Impact Award Linda Connor (College of Science) Industry Impact Award Trevor Clohessy (College of Business, Public Policy and Law) Graphic/Imagery Award Leah Kidney (College of Science) Innovative Poster Award Ursula Kenny (College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences) Professor Joshi commented “This is a unique day in the calendar of the University as Engineers, Scientists and Humanities come together to debate and present their research in a forum that is open to the broader University Community. The Research Showcase gives NUI Galway students and staff the chance to share their research with new audiences and tell the world about their work.” -ends-

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NUI Galway Seeking Volunteers to Participate in Water Survey

NUI Galway Seeking Volunteers to Participate in Water Survey -image

Monday, 14 July 2014

NUI Galway’s School of Medicine are seeking volunteers to participate in a water survey to find out what people living in Galway City and Galway County know about their drinking water. This survey is accessible at http://www.nuigalway.ie/bac/water_survey.html. It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete and will run until Wednesday, 23 July. People will also be surveyed on the street, house to house and online. The survey asks questions such as if people drink water from the tap at home, if they buy bottled water, if they know where their water supply comes from, and if they know whether their drinking water is tested regularly and treated to prevent contamination with bacteria and other organisms.  Millions of tonnes of water, from a variety of sources, are treated in Ireland every day to provide drinking water to Ireland’s population. The drinking waters produced and distributed by Irish Water are termed public water supplies and provide water to 82% of the Irish population. The rest of the population are supplied by group water schemes (6.6%), small private supplies (0.8%) and private wells (10.6%). This research hopes to gain an insight into what people served by different supply types know about their drinking water, if they’ve ever experienced difficulties with their drinking water supply and if so what impact this had on their drinking water habits.  The research, funded by the Health Research Board (HRB), will be carried out by Dr Dearbháile Morris, lecturer in Bacteriology at the School of Medicine, NUI Galway and second year medical student, Maeve Cahalan. NUI Galway’s Dr Dearbháile Morris said: “Water is everywhere and is essential for life. We all drink water everyday but this precious resource is under threat. The UN estimate that 47% of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030. So what do we really know about our drinking water? This survey aims to give us more detail on what we know, our usage and how to protect this precious commodity.” Results of this short survey will help inform a larger Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-funded research project led by Dr Dearbháile Morris, in conjunction with the Centre for Health from Environment, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway.  -Ends-

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NUI Galway Professor Speaks at Economist’s 18th Roundtable with the Government of Greece

NUI Galway Professor Speaks at Economist’s 18th Roundtable with the Government of Greece-image

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Professor Alan Ahearne, Head of Economics at NUI Galway, recently spoke at The Economist’s 18th Roundtable with the Government of Greece, ‘The Big Rethink for Europe’, in Athens. Professor Ahearne shared a panel with Enrico Letta, Former Prime Minister of Italy, and Daniel Franklin, Executive Editor, The Economist. The discussions centred on lessons to be learnt from EU members states on economic recovery and the need for EU leaders to implement their strategy for closer economic and political integration in order to restore confidence and stability. The Economist's 18th Roundtable with the Government of Greece brought together Greek ministers (including the prime minister), two former Italian prime ministers, the opposition leader and many senior business representatives. The timing made this an appropriate moment for what the meeting's subtitle called a "big rethink". Greece's economy is at a turning point after six years of recession; following the recent cabinet reshuffle several ministers could outline their priorities in their new portfolios; and instability around Europe's rim prompts some rethinking on international relations, too. "The economic recovery in Ireland is more visible in the labor market, which-after-stabilized in the last two years be refined," Professor Ahearne concluded speaking at the annual Economist. Referring to the factors responsible in the opinion of the reversal of the image in Ireland, analyzed the following three levels: ·       Basic economic forces came into play (pharmaceutical sector, medical technology, ICT, agri-food, tourism). ·       Decisive action was taken within the country (sustained effort to reduce the budget deficit and rebuild the banking system). ·       Support policies reinforced from abroad (CMT, new architecture of the Euro, revised terms on bank loans - improving the economies of the U.S. and Britain). Professor Ahearne spoke, however, the need for further macroeconomic support to address the gaps in the labor market, with emphasis on youth unemployment. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Conference Showcases New Developments in Renewable Energy Systems

NUI Galway Conference Showcases New Developments in Renewable Energy Systems -image

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Following on the success of four international symposia devoted to the technological advances in power electronics and distributed generation, the 5th International Symposium on Power Electronics for Distributed Generation Systems (PEDG 2014) was recently held at NUI Galway. PEDG 2014 saw representation from 24 countries, with 130 delegates and experts presenting their state-of-the-art developments in Distributed Generation Systems such as wind, solar, wave and biofuel energy sources. The conference programme included several keynote sessions at which internationally renowned researchers and industry speakers presented on topics ranging from ‘Taming the Intermittent Nature of Renewable Energy’ by Professor Ron Hui of Hong Kong University, to ‘eCar Adoption: A European Perspective’ by Patrick Foley from ESB ecars. The conference was organised by Professor Gerard Hurley and Dr Maeve Duffy of the Power Electronics Research Centre (PERC) at NUI Galway, whose aim is to foster links with industry by transferring power electronics technology from a strong research base in the University to the wider community. Current research topics in PERC include the design of miniaturised (resonant) power converters with high efficiency, and the application of photovoltaic (PV) energy to charging of electric vehicles. PEDG 2014 provided an opportunity to discuss these and other research topics with world renowned industry and academic experts.    The conference is sponsored by IEEE Power Electronics Society and was previously held in China, Denmark and the USA. Full details about the conference are available at www.pedg2014.org. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Rowing Club/Gráinne Mhaol Dominate at National Rowing Championships

NUI Galway Rowing Club/Gráinne Mhaol Dominate at National Rowing Championships -image

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

NUI Galway Boat club and its sister alumni club Gráinne Mhaol had a massively successful weekend at the National Rowing championships held in the National Rowing Centre in Cork over the weekend. Team NUI Galway had an encouraging opening day winning the Men’s Intermediate Coxed Four, the Women’s Club Coxed Four and in a composite entry with Cork Boat Club, the Women’s Senior Coxless Four. NUI Galway’s alumni club, Gráinne Mhaol, took the Men’s Senior Coxless Four title for the third year in a row. On Saturday, NUI Galway won the Women’s Senior Coxless Pair event with a commanding performance over the field. The final day of the Rowing Championships saw three more wins for NUI Galway rowers who took the Women’s Club Eight title, the Women’s Senior Eight title - again in partnership with Cork Boat Club - and in the final race of the regatta, NUI Galway and alumni partners Gráinne Mhaol, came from almost a length down at one stage to win the premier event, the Men’s Senior Eight, by a mere 0.41 seconds in a thrilling battle with Trinity, a third successive Irish title for this formidable unit. NUI Galway finished joint-top club with seven wins. Sports Scholarship holder and current NUI Galway Sports Award winner Aifric Keogh won three senior titles in Eight, Four and Pair. From the winning Men’s Eight, NUI Galway Sports Scholarship holders Rob O’Callaghan, Richard Bennett and Kevin Neville along with Gráinne Mhaol’s Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan will represent Ireland in the Men’s Heavyweight Coxless Fours event at the Under 23 World Rowing Championships being held in Varese, Italy from July 23-27. -Ends-      

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Burren College of Art to Honour Artist Seán Scully

Burren College of Art to Honour Artist Seán Scully-image

Thursday, 17 July 2014

 As part of 20th anniversary celebration of Burren Art College in Co Clare One of the main events marking the 20th anniversary of Burren College of Art in County Clare this week will be Irish Artist Seán Scully receiving an Honorary Doctorate from NUI Galway. From 17 – 20 July, 2014 Ireland’s only independent fine art third-level college will exhibit works by over 40 of its most successful and high profile alumni and will host a symposium exploring alternative models of education, featuring contributions from groundbreaking Irish and overseas art education innovators. Irish-born American painter and printmaker and twice Turner Prize nominee, Sean Scully will receive the honorary Doctorate from NUI Galway. The Sean Scully honorary conferring takes place on Saturday, 19  July and will be followed by The Best of the Burren - a banquet of Burren food and a recital by Ballyvaughan-born Naomi O'Connell who has become an international opera star, accompanied by Archie Simpson, founder of the Lismorahaun singers. Speaking in advance of the Honorary Conferring ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “As President, may I express the pride of the entire University community in welcoming Seán Scully to the ranks of our alumni. In becoming an honorary graduate of our University, he joins a global network of over 90,000 alumni. By honouring this truly outstanding visual artist, we pay tribute to his achievements by awarding him the highest honour which the University can confer, thereby associating his name forever with National University of Ireland, Galway – and indeed – Burren College of Art.  On this very special celebratory weekend, I would like to extend warmest congratulations to Burren College of Art on behalf of all my colleagues at NUI Galway.” Located at Newtown Castle in Ballyvaughan, the Burren College of Art specialises in delivering a range of contemporary fine art programmes including photography, sculpture, painting and digital media, and in hosting leadership retreats and “audacious conversations” using creative methodologies Postgraduate programmes at the College have been accredited by National University of Ireland, Galway since 2002. Mary Hawkes Greene, President and Founder of the Burren College of Art (BCA) said the 20th anniversary celebrations are aimed at showcasing  the success of  BCA's "alternative approach to education  by providing students the time and space to develop their individual talents amidst the inspirational landscape of the world famous Burren. The anniversary will launch the College’s extended remit as a hothouse for universal creativity – accessing the creative potential in all.” She continued: "By facilitating discussion amongst leading art education innovators from around the world and by showcasing the works of our graduates, we are seeking to highlight BCA's contribution to the arts sector and to serve  as a creative springboard for re-imagining  what an art school can be at this moment of profound societal change.” The BCA 20th anniversary celebration gets underway today, Thursday 17 July when stories of historical and contemporary alternative approaches from the US and Europe will form the basis for the two-day 'Ex-centric Alternatives'symposium.  Contributors include Uffe Elbaek, former Danish Minister for Culture, founder of Kaos Pilots design school and of” The Alternativet” political party; Professor Brian Butler, Director Black Mountain College Museum; Dr Carol Becker, Dean of the School of Arts, Columbia University; Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, former rector of the Royal College of Art, London; Tracy Meisterheim, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden; and James Elkins, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The alumni exhibition, entitled “the Middle of Everywhere", opens tomorrow, Friday, 18 July and will feature the work of 40 BCA past students from the US, Mexico, Canada, UK, Ireland and Uganda. For more on the Burren College of Art, Newtown Castle, Co. Clare, and it 20th anniversary celebrations visit www.burrencollege.ie. -ENDS-

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