Welcome to Geography, the place where we study the Earth as our Home. What sort of Home are we making for ourselves, and for those who will come after us? Industrial capitalism hauls fossil fuels out of the earth’s crust and in burning them throws waste gases and particles into the atmosphere. Ask Ro Charlton, Paul Gibson or Steve McCarron about the long-run history of environmental change, and John Coll, Rowan Fealy, Conor Murphy or Peter Thorne about the current patterns and rate of climate change.

Global capitalism also wrenches folk from their roots pulling them into a vortex of migration and urbanization. Ask Mark Boyle about diasporic societies, Alistair Fraser about global food systems, Mary Gilmartin about emigrants and refugees, Gerry Kearns about the geopolitics of the global system, and Karen Till about place-attachment and memory. The consequences for Irish people and their home are profound. Ask Ronan Foley or Jan Rigby about the geography of health, Chris van Egeraat, Philip Lawton or Sinéad Kelly about the flows of investment and disinvestment, and Adrian Kavanagh or Claire McGing about the consequences of economic change for the electoral geography of our country.

Our 1,000 undergraduate or postgraduate students learn that they are as likely to find Geography in public debate as in the classroom and they are used to finding their lecturers discussing climate, migration, elections, the economy or gender on the radio, TV or in the papers. They also know that we teach not only in the classroom but also in the field and you will find clutches of our students trailing finance capital through the city of Genoa, or tracing the line of the Berlin Wall, or ground-truthing remotely sensed data on Tory Island, or evaluating the tourist potential at Emo Court, or decoding the signs of its former colonial geography on Majorca.

As they develop their own ideas in critical essays or in primary research, our students draw also upon the wider geographical community at Maynooth University including the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA), the National Centre for Geocomputation (NCG), the Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units (ICARUS), and the Centre for Health Geoinformatics (CHG). They also work with our many research partners in NGOs, local government, and the arts.  They know that our retired colleagues (Brendan Bartley, Proinnsias Breathnach, Paddy Duffy, Denis Pringle, John Sweeney and Shelagh Waddington) are very much part of our community as are the associated staff who contribute to research and instruction both those from research institutes (Chris Brunsdon, Martin Charlton, Rob Kitchin) and those attached directly to our own Department (Alaa Hamdon, Kevin Keegan, Conor McCaffery, Fionnuala Ní Mhordha, Martina Roche, Bettina Steffanini).

Our students learn also that to keep up with all that is going on they should follow us on social media with our blogs, facebook and twitter accounts. So, whether you are thinking of coming into our first-year classes, or taking one or more of our specialist offerings in second- and third-year BA, or joining us for postgraduate study in any of our three Masters degrees, or joining our research adventure as a doctoral or M.Litt student, you will be made very welcome and you will find your ideas about your Home on Earth challenged and clarified. 

Prof Gerry Kearns
Head of Department

Fáilte go disciplín na Tíreolaíochta, a dhéanann staidéar ar an domhan mar áit chónaithe an chine daonna.  Cén saghas áit chónaithe atáimid ag cruthú dúinn féin, agus dóibh siúd a thiocfaidh inár ndiaidh?  Tarraingíonn an caipitleachas tionsclaíoch breoslaí iontaise ó screamh an domhain le h-aghaidh iad a dhó, rud a scaipeann fuíoll-ghasanna agus gráinníní soladacha  tríd an atmaisféar.  Is féidir Ro Charlton, Paul Gibson nó Steve McCarron a cheistiú faoi stair fhaidthéarmach athrú na timpeallachta, agus John Coll, Rowan Fealy, Conor Murphy nó Peter Thorne faoi phatrúin agus luas athrú na h-aeráide sa lá atá inniu ann.

Súnn an caipliteachas domhanda daoine óna bhfréamhacha dúchasacha len iad a aistriú i sruthanna mearbhlacha imirce i dtreo cathracha móra an domhain.  Gheofar saineolas ó Mark Boyle faoi phobail dhiaspóracha, Alistair Fraser faoi chórais domhanda bia, Mary Gilmartin faoi imircigh agus teifigh, Gerry Kearns faoi gheopholaitíocht an chórais domhanda, agus Karen Till faoin cheangal a bhíonn ag daoine do áiteanna faoi leith agus an comhchuimhne a eascraíonn ón gceangal sin.

Tá na próisis seo ag dul i bhfeidhm go mór ar mhuintir na hÉireann agus a n-áiteanna dúchais.  Cuir ceist ar Ronan Foley nó Jan Rigby faoi thíreolaíocht sláinte na tíre, nó ar Chris van Egeraat, Philip Lawton agus Sinéad Kelly faoi shruthanna infheistíochta nó dí-infheistíochta, nó ar Adrian Kavanagh agus Claire McGing faoin tionchar atá ag athruithe eacnamaíocha ar thíreolaíocht pholaitiúil na tíre.

Foghlaimíonn an míle iníonacha agus mac léinn atá againn go dtagtar ar an Tíreolaíocht chomh minic i ndíospóireachtaí poiblí agus a thagtar uirthi sa seomra teagaisc.  Feictear léachtóirí na Roinne go rialta ag plé cúrsaí aeráide, imirce, toghchánaíochta, eacnamaíocha nó inscne ar na meáin chraolta agus chlóite.  Is soiléir freisin go ndéantar staidéar  sa Roinn Tíreolaíochta ní h-amháin faoi dhíon ach amuigh sa ghort, mar a deirtear.  Tiocfar ar scataí dár lucht staidéir ag déanamh iniúchadh ar an gcaipiteal airgeadais i gcathair Genoa, nó ag rianú líne Falla Berlin, nó ar Oileán Thoraí ag deimhniú sonraí cianbhraiteachta ar an talamh, nó ag déanamh meastóireachta ar phoitéinseal turasóireachta Chúirt Emo i gContae Laoise, nó ag iarraidh lorg an tsean-choilíneachais i dtírdhreach Majorca a aithint.

Le linn dóibh bheith ag forbairt a smaointe féin in aistí criticiúla nó trí thaighde príomha, tarraingíonn ár lucht staidéar ar achmainní na n-institiúidí éagsúla san Ollscoil a bhfuil ceangal acu le Roinn na Tíreolaíochta, ina measc an Institiúid Náisiúnta um Anailís Réigiúnach agus Spásúil (NIRSA), an tIonad Náisiúnta Georíomhaireachta (NCG), na hAonaid um Thaighde agus Anailís Aeráide (ICARUS) agus an tIonad um Gheo-fhaisnéisíocht Sláinte (CHG).  Oibríonn siad seo le mórán comhpháirtithe taighde san earnáil phoiblí, in eagraíochtaí neamhrialtasacha agus sna h-ealaíona.  Acmhainní luachmhara eile i gcomhphobal na tíreolaíochta san Ollscoil isea na baill foirne atá imithe go foirmeálta ar phinsean ach atá fós gníomhach in obair taighde (Proinnsias Breathnach, Patrick Duffy, Dennis Pringle, John Sweeney agus Shelagh Waddington) agus an fhoireann chomhlach a bhfuil ionchur acu in obair taighde agus teagaisc na Roinne, idir dhaoine óna h-institiúidí taighde (Chris Brunsdon, Martin Charlton, Rob Kitchin) agus daoine atá bunaithe laistigh den Roinn Tíreolaíochta féin (Aala Hamdon, Kevin Keegan, Conor McCaffery, Fionnuala Ní Mhórdha, Martina Roche, Bettina Steffanini).

Ionas gur féidir lenár lucht staidéir coimeád suas lena bhfuil ar siúl, ba chóir dóibh imeachtaí na Roinne a leanúint ar na meáin shóisialta, go h-áirithe ár gcúntais Facebook agus Twitter agus blaganna na Roinne.  Mar sin, cibé acu go bhfuil tú ag smaoineamh ar pháirt a ghlacadh inár ranganna céad bhliana, nó ceann dena modúil sain-ábhair sa dara nó tríú bliain, nó ceann dena trí chúrsa atá ar fáil a thuileann céim mhúinte Máistreachta, nó cúrsa taighde iarchéime ar féidir M.Litt. nó Ph.D a ghnóthú as, cuirfear fiorchaoin fáilte romhat.