Milieu 2024

Milieu 2024
Thursday, May 9, 2024 - 17:45
Welcome to Milieu 2024.
  Milieu 2024
I will start by stating the obvious. There would be no Milieu without different students and staff members taking the time to submit their articles (and photographs), so an especial thanks to everyone who did so.
Shauna, Michelle, Amy, Daniel, Saoirse, Adam, Katie, Róisín, Kerry-Ann, Tadhg, Beth, Sam, Emma, Ciarán, Lionel and Andrew – thank you very much for your efforts and for making this year’s issue of Milieu yet another example of the quality work that is produced by our undergraduate students. Hopefully what is probably your first experiences of getting your work published in a journal, such as Milieu, will whet your appetite for further research/geographical writing. Maybe we will hear again from some of you in the not-so-distant future as you begin to carve out a career as lecturer/researcher in Geography!
Thank you also to Gerard for sending on photographs from the Wexford fieldtrip, as well as to Ronan for his “Tracing Health through the Map” article. As some of you may know (and will regret), this week saw Ronan’s last lectures to our  undergraduate student cohort, as he is retiring in September. Given this, Ronan has been allocated the final position in the Milieu running order this year, which, as the students in GY310B Option Group 7 should be able to tell you, is the prime slot to get! Ronan will be sadly missed, not only because of his contributions to the Department and Geography students over the past twenty one years, but also because he has been one of the most faithful contributors to Milieu over his time in Maynooth Geography. Thank you also to staff members who encouraged their students to submit work to Milieu.  
This year I asked the Final Year Geography students, if they wished, to contribute their favourite memories of their time with us in Maynooth Geography, and you can see these contributions later on in the journal – thanks to all the students who contributed. For me, Milieu should be important to all students and staff, but should be especially so for our final year undergraduate students, many of whom will be leaving us for pastures new in the next few days and I wanted to get as many of the voices of those students represented in this year’s edition. To our final year students, can I say thank you for all of your hard work and dedication over the past number of years. I may seem that we underestimate this, but we, as staff, are always conscious of the level of engagement and quality of work produced by our students, most of whom have other personal issues to also be working through at the same time. Please never under-estimate the level of work that you have produced over the past few years, but also do not forget the degree of skills, some of which would be geographical, that you have learned, and practiced, in your time with us (and, looking ahead, do make sure to give these full justice on your CVs). Hopefully we have also helped you become more critical and fair-minded and more willing to take on board a diversity of viewpoints; vital skills to have in an increasingly challenging local, national, and global environment, in a world that is marked by “echo chambers”, “no platforming” and an increasingly polarised social media environment.   
Next year will see the 50th anniversary of the first ever issue of Milieu, which was published in 1975. Milieu has a very long and proud history, and over my many,, many…many years with the Geography Department, I have been lucky to contribute to the journal in many various guises, dating back to my debut in Milieu 1991 when I wrote a short article as a Second Year Geography student on the risks of political conflict in Yugoslavia. I do not want to go all How Green Was My Valley here, but – even with the technological limitations of past decades – it has never seemed as hard to put together an edition of Milieu and it something we always seem to just get over the line just before the final days of lectures (and this year keeps to that tradition). (In this regard, I need to especially thank William Durkan, formerly “of this parish” and now spearheading geographical teaching in UCC, who ensured we had a Milieu across each of the last four years in his role as editor – what a contribution he made.) Everyone just is busier. Students are busier. Staff are busier. And the future outlook is for even busier times. Despite these challenges, hopefully, we will produce a fiftieth anniversary edition next year to do Milieu justice, which may well again feature some of the contributors who have graced this year’s edition, or indeed some of our students who may well be reading Milieu for the first time. Remember – without you, there is no Milieu.
Adrian Kavanagh,
Maynooth Geography Department,
Thursday 9th May 2024.  Milieu 2024