Galway Technology Centre (GTC ) and the Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland (CCMI ) launched a new partnership, and a Made In Ireland exhibition, at the technology centre in Mervue on Friday. The exhibition is accompanied by the CCMI’s interactive, pop-up, retro gaming collection.
GTC and the CCMI share a mission to inspire young innovators to build the future from Galway. In recognition of this mission, the sixth class students from the Holy Trinity Primary School were given tours of the Mervue branch of Bank of Ireland and the technology companies based in the centre. The students then took part in a Scratch programming class delivered by Brendan Smith, co-founder and curator of the museum.
“The purpose of the museum is to inspire young people and impart on them that they can start anything here in Ireland,” Mr Smith said. “We run regular workshops and events for schools and the public. Our partnership with GTC will expand our reach within the wider community.”
This first in a series of exhibitions, titled Made in Ireland, features artefacts from Digital Equipment Corporation. Located in Mervue and Ballybrit, Digital employed more than 1,200 people in its software and hardware divisions.
As home to Digital’s first manufacturing plant outside the United States, Galway emerged as Ireland’s first digital city. Galway Technology Centre was formed in 1994 in response to the closure of Digital’s hardware division; over the years it has expanded to a 50,000sq ft technology centre supporting 3,000 information technology jobs.
In addition to the exhibition, artefacts from the museum’s permanent radio collection, which include a 106-year-old Edison phonograph and a section of the first transatlantic cable, were demonstrated for the students and guests by radio curator Frank McCurry.
Chairman of Galway Technology Centre, Frank Greene, said: “The centre is delighted to play our part in enhancing the awareness of the Computing and Communications Museum of Ireland. The museum provides a fascinating insight into the advances in communications, from the 1907 Marconi Station in Clifden, which established the first communication bridge between Europe and the USA, to today’s internet.
“Galway Technology Centre was established ‘To encourage the development of technology based industry’, so our involvement today is very much within this ideal and helps to bridge the gap between students and industry.”
The partnership between the centre and the museum is an initiative of the late Dr Chris Coughlan, following the GTC’s sponsorship of the museum in 2017. The launch follows Dr Coughlan’s passing last month. He was co-founder and chairperson of the CCMI and a board member of GTC. Dr Coughlan was driven to inspire and encourage young people to pursue careers in technology by bringing history to life and making education accessible.
Dr Coughlan, who retired from Hewlett Packard earlier this year, was from Cork but is recognised by his peers as, in the words of Brendan Smith, “one of Galway’s greatest citizens, an engine and visionary who was a force for good in technology, business, heritage, arts, academia, and volunteerism. He has helped create a powerful legacy that will benefit generations to come.”