Monthly Archives: March 2012

Campus Curiosities

This week’s post is dedicated to some lesser known features and hidden treasures of the NUI Galway campus.

James Mitchell Museum

James Mitchell Museum

James Mitchell Museum, NUI Galway

Galway’s Hidden Museum‘ is located on the first floor of the south-east corner of the Quadrangle. The museum, named after Professor James Mitchell, Chair of Geology 1921-1966, houses rocks, minerals and fossils, collected from the foundation of the college back in the 1840s to the present day.

Royal Coat Of Arms

Royal Coat of Arms

Royal Coat of Arms

A Royal Coat of Arms carving, featuring the lion and unicorn on either side of the great shield, is situated behind the Quadrangle. The carving was originally installed above the portico of the Galway Courthouse, when Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, but was removed for safe keeping during the Irish War of Independence (1919-21).

Marine and Zoology Museum

Darwin Specimens, NUI Galway

Darwin Specimens, NUI Galway

The Zoology and Marine Biology Museum, or ‘Dead Zoo’ is located in the Ryan Institute building. The recently refurbished museum houses an extensive collection of animal and plant specimens, including most notably a number of specimens once owned by Charles Darwin.

Galway Yellow

Galway Yellow

Galway Yellow

Galway Yellow, perhaps more affectionately known as the Big Yellow Thing by students, is the creation of artist Brian King. The sculpture, based on Celtic knot, was installed in 1976 and is today on the Galway City Council’s protected structure list.

Martin Tea- House Folly

Martin Tea House Folly

Martin Tea House Folly

A stroll along the banks of the River Corrib towards the University Sports Grounds reveals the curious remains of a small house. The Martin Tea House was built sometime in the 19th Century on the grounds of what was once the Dangan Estate of the Martin family.

Fisheries Field Lime Kiln

Lime Kiln

Lime Kiln

Finally, across the canal at the back of the Bailey Allen centre is another curious structure known as a Lime Kiln. According to Galway Civic Trust, such kilns became particularly common throughout Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries when they were used to burn limestone down to a fine powdery substance which was then used as a fertilizer as well as mortar and white wash. The Lime from this particular kiln, restored by Galway Civic Trust, is believed to have been used to disinfect the nearby fever hospital, gaol and workhouse.

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The best Galway Songs for St. Patrick’s Day

With St Patrick’s Day approaching, we thought we’d get everyone in the mood with some music. Here are some of the best known songs featuring Galway. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh (Happy St Patrick’s Day)!

Galway Girl (Steve Earle)

This one hardly needs an introduction, as it’s probably now the best known song featuring Galway amongst international students in Ireland.

Fields of Athenry

This is a haunting balled set during the Great Famine (1845-1850) about a man from the small Galway village of Athenry.

My Own Dear Galway Bay

Galway Bay forms a beautiful backdrop to the city of Galway and has inspired many artists over the years.

Galway Shawl

The Galway shawl was a traditional garment worn by women in Galway until about the mid-twentieth century, including this particular young damsel who stole the heart of a wandering musician.

The Galway Races (Clancy Brothers)

On the last Monday of July each year, thousands of revelers descend upon Galway for the week long horse racing festival known as the Galway Races.

N17  (Saw Doctors)

The Saw Doctors, who hail from the town of Tuam in Galway, are one of Ireland’s most successful musical exports. This song celebrates the famous road from Tuam, which many a young person has taken over the years in search of fame and fortune overseas.

Galway Bay (Arthur Colahan)

This famous air – written by our very own Arthur Colahan, who graduated NUI Galway in 1913 – has been performed by countless artists over the years, most famously by Bing Crosby.

Les lacs du Connemara (Michel Sardou)

Of course, it’s not just the Irish who love to sing about Galway.  Les lacs du Connemara was apparently a number 1 hit for French singer, Michel Sardou back in the 1981!

From Galway to Graceland (Richard Thompson)

From Galway to Graceland tells the story about a woman who leaves her home in Galway to visit Elvis Presley’s grave in Memphis.

I’m sure there are many other great songs associated with Galway that we’ve missed, so if you think of any please let us know!

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Study at NUI Galway

Each year, we welcome over 600 visiting students from countries all around the world, who come to study abroad at NUI Galway. The following are the questions were most often asked by prospective study abroad students.

1. When can I study abroad at NUI Galway as a visiting student?

There are two main options for when to study abroad at NUI Galway. You can either come for a full academic year or one semester.

NUI Galway is semesterised. Semester One (Fall) runs from September through to December and Semester Two (Spring) runs from January through to May.

Each semester comprises 12 weeks of classes, followed by examinations. Semester Two also includes an Easter break, hence the extra length.

Shorter Summer programmes are also available.

2. What classes can I take at NUI Galway?

The classes made available to visiting students are the normal classes of the University, which means…

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A visit to the “Dead Zoo” at NUI Galway

Ryan Institute, NUI Galway

Ryan Institute, NUI Galway

No tour of the NUI Galway campus is complete without a trip to the Zoology and Marine Biology Museum located on the ground floor of the Ryan Institute.

Zoology and Marine Biology Museum, NUI Galway

Zoology and Marine Biology Museum, NUI Galway

The refurbished museum was officially reopened in 2009, however the origins of the extensive collection of animal and plant specimens can be traced back to the founding of the University (or Queens College Galway as it was first known) over 160 years ago.

Darwin Specimens, NUI Galway

Darwin Specimens, NUI Galway

The undoubted highlight of the collection includes the four specimens once owned by the famous naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882), which he acquired during his 5-year voyage on the ship HMS Beagle from 1831-1836. The Darwin specimens were acquired by the University from the Zoological Society of London in 1855.

The collection also includes more than 100 glass representations of marine mammals, known as Blaschka models, made by German father-and-son team Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in Dresden. They are now considered to be works of art, as well as models, with an “irreplaceable” value.

Please visit the NUI Galway Zoology website for more information about the collection and the history of the Zoology and Marine Biology Museum.

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Our Favourite YouTube videos featuring Galway (part 5)


The first clip is from the NUI Galway Ultimate Frisbee club’s video of the Galway Open, which took place this year at the NUI Galway sportgrounds.


Up next is Salthill, a seaside area in Galway popular with Galwegians and tourists alike, especially for a walk on the promenade (known locally as ‘the prom’) overlooking Galway Bay.


The Spanish Arch is another popular Galway attraction and features the last remaining piece of the medieval city walls.


Coole Park (40km from Galway city) was the home of Lady Augusta Gregory, a renowned writer and patron of many well known writers of the Irish Literary Revival, including William Butler Yeats, John Millington Synge and Sean O’ Casey. Today the park is a nature reserve, which you can visit to experience the beautiful surroundings that drew so many writers to the place.


About 20kn northwest of Gort is the splendid seaside village of Kinvara and Dunguaire Castle, which was built in 1520 on the shores of Galway Bay.

If you enjoyed these videos, be sure to check out our other blog posts on our favourite videos featuring Galway, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

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