‘Back to the Future’ Retro Gaming, National Culture Night, Sept 20th (6.30pm-8.30pm)

Relive the thrills of playing video Arcade classics including Pacman, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Pong and Sonic on renowned vintage consoles and computers such as Atari, Amiga, Sega Mega Drive and Sinclair ZX81. 

The sights and sounds on offer will try to capture the youthful cultural essence of the early days of computer gaming of the 1970s and 1980 which made such a major contribution in the overall development of digital sound and graphics. 

Attendees will also be introduced to the software coding that constitutes the games. 

There will also be displays of American and European 1960s science fiction comics and memorabilia including Star Trek, Thunderbirds, Stringray, Avengers, Superman, Green Lantern and Thor.
Times: 6.30pm-8.30pm

Website is www.computermuseumireland.com

Native Tree Detective Walk on Culture Night (Sept. 20th)

Discover the characteristics and cultural aspects of the native trees of Ireland.

 As part of National Culture Night (Sept 20), botantist Matthew O’Toole, from Conservation Volunteers Terryland Forest Park, will take participants on what promises to be an exciting investigative guided nature walk through the Terryland Forest Park.

So become an arboreal detective by studying the bark, shape and form of the Oak, Alder, Hazel, Ash and other native flora. Find out why such trees were so important in the lives and beliefs of the peoples of Celtic Ireland.

Time: 5.00pm-7.00pm, Friday, September 20th 2013
Rendezvous: Terryland Castle, Dyke Road, Galway city

 For further informaton, contact Brendan at speediecelt@gmail.com

Mad Max nightmare -Solution to Syria is not more Weapons & Bombings

We are watching a country disintegrating before our eyes. We are witnessing the redrawing of the boundaries of the Middle East along religious lines that has no place for minorities or for justice and tolerance.
The Arab Spring is transforming into an Arab Winter as the dreams of the original female and male protestors of Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Libya are being lost in a tsunami of violence.

A massive population exodus, fanatical religious fundamentalism, ethnic cleansing and genocide are happening due to the actions of countries that talk loudly of peace and democracy but are in fact the warmongers, and arms merchants/manufacturers that are making huge fortunes from this war. 

An Islamist Saudi Arabia, a monarchical Qatar, a theocratic Iran, a resurgent nationalist Russia, a repressive Turkey, a profit hungry EU and a corporate-controlled US are arming the advocates of hate, torture and mass killing. They are creating a nightmare world of Mad Max that is leading to the formation of repressive warlord fiefdoms guarded by private sectarian armies. A relatively modern intact country is been bombed back to the Stone Age. This is what happened across large parts of Iraq after the US invasion. 

The only solution is a total arms embargo on all participants in the conflict and an all party peace conference involving all sides including Iran.

Click here to read my article of three years ago on the Disappearance of the Christians from the Middle East, a community that represented 25% of the region's population less than one hundred uears ago.

A Technology & Science Museum network in Ireland a Possibility?

Curator Toby Joyce with the Telstar replica at the Bells Lab technology museum, Alcatel-Lucent plant, Dublin
The Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland located at Insight (DERI) in NUI Galway is interested in developing links between technology and science museums across Ireland in an effort to make people, particularly those at school or college, more aware of the rich heritage that this country has in technological, engineering and scientific development. Our main emphasis will on networking heritage facilities that have a strong communications technology aspect. 

Links have already being established with Bell Laboratories through its parent company Alcatel-Lucent which has a fantastic museum at its plant in Blanchardstown Dublin. Bell Labs, named after its founder the telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell, is probably the greatest scientific research establishment of all time, responsible for inventions such as the air-to-ground Radio-Relephony, TelePhotograph (fax) receiver, Vitaphone projector (synchronisation of sound with movie), the Transistor and the Telstar. 
Air-to-Ground Radiotelephone 1915 display, Alcatel-Lucent, Dublin
The Telstar, launched on July 10th 1962 was the first communications satellite to successfully relay through space television pictures, telephone calls, fax images and provided the first live transatlantic television feed
Manual operated Switchboard, Telephone Exchange, Newbliss Monaghan
Replicas of many of these ground-breaking ground breaking communications devices are on display at the Alcatel/Bell Labs museum in Dublin which operates under the auspices of Toby Joyce (see photo above).
Toby is originally from Clifden and worked in DEC Galway during the 1970s and 1980s.

Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland, Galway
This Galway-based Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland museum provides a fascinating insight into advances in communications and computing from ancient hieroglyphics to today’s Internet. 
Enjoying Vintage Computer Gaming at the Computer and Communications Museum
The array of electronic artifacts on display include such iconic computers as the DEC PDP11, Apple II, IBM PC, ZX81 and Commodore Vic-20. Special themes include Computing in Ireland, early Radio, Steve Jobs & Apple Computers, Youth & Innovation, Women in Technology, and a vintage video games section with classics such as ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, ‘Pacman’ and ‘Space Invaders’. It also endeavours to ensure that the facility is innovative and inspirational to a younger audience by organising regular vintage gaming, computer programming and ‘maker’ workshops.”

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny listens to Frank McCurry explain the workings of vintage Radio at the Computer and Communications museum
The museum operates under a multi-sectoral board chaired by Dr. Chris Coughlan of Hewlett Packard with representatives from Engineers’ Ireland, GMIT, IT NUIG, INSIGHT as well as small businesses and Irish Diaspora groups.
Click here to access the computer museum website.
Revisiting the micros of the early 1980s

Hurdy Gurdy (Radio) Museum
There are other wonderful technology heritage facilities across Ireland including at Birr Castle, the location of the world's largest telescope and at the Hurdy Gurdy Radio museum at the Martello Tower in Howth which has a remarkable eclectic collection of 20th century radios and gramophone players

The Howth building itself has strong associations with the development of telecommunications in Ireland.
For instance, the first telegraph line under the Irish Sea was terminated in the tower in 1852 and Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the wireless radio, undertake radio transmission experiments from it in 1913.
Click here to access the Hurdy Gurdy museum website.

Engineering and Astronomy Museum, Birr Castle
The museum at Birr Castle county Offaly is dedicated to the scientific discoveries and innovations of the Earls and Countesses of Rosse of the 19th century who were responsible for their place of residency being an internationally acclaimed hub for science and technology. The science facility housed in the renovated stables explores the wonders of Victorian photography, engineering and astronomy with a special emphasis on the brilliant design of the world famous Great Telescope.
Built in the 1840s, it was for over 70 years the largest telescope in the world. Its builder the third Earl of Rosse used it to discover the spiral nature of some of the galaxies. Today, its promoters claim it is probably the largest historic scientific instrument in operation today.
Click here for access to the Birr Castle website