The Galway Festival of Science and Technology is the biggest single free event for youngsters in the West of Ireland and this week 20,000 tickets went out to schools all over the county for the festival exhibition, which is to be held at NUI, Galway on Sunday, November 21.
EU Commissioner for Science, Innovation, and Technology Maire Geoghegan-Quinn will formally open the exhibition at the Bailey Allen Hall at 11am. The exhibition will feature over 60 stands involving major industries and major public bodies.
Among the participants will be: Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Cisco, SAP, NUI Galway, the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Coillte, Galway County Council, and Galway City Council.
Many of the stands will be interactive and will have giveaways for the youngsters from first and second level who are expected to crowd into the exhibition, which is one of the most popular single events of the year for young people.
College museums such as Zoology and Marine Biology Museum and the James Mitchell Geology Museum will be open to the general public as well on Sunday. In addition to the exhibition stands, a series of special attractions for youngsters will take place. These include the Cosmic Explorer, a 3D voyage around the universe using photographs from the Hubble Telescope, and the Armagh Planetarium new Stardome, a portable planetarium with extraordinary views of the universe and our place in the universe.
Among the other shows going on all day will be Mad Science with Craig Stephens, a spectacular themed presentation designed to amaze, and Bubble Magic which involves blowing bubbles of all shapes and sizes and getting them to hover in mid-air. Also there to entertain young audiences will be the hugely popular K’Nex Roadshow – the fun building system, but with a special roadshow team who know how to entertain and intrigue young minds.
Festival co-ordinator Simon Lenihan stressed this week that there will be thousands of free carparking spaces in the grounds of NUI Galway and that there will be car parking staff on duty at the University Road and Newcastle Road entrances to help those wishing to attend the exhibition. Restaurants at the college will be open to cater for children and parents expected to crowd into NUI, Galway during the seven hours of the festival exhibition.
Simon Lenihan and administrator Anne Casserly were earlier this week involved in the mammoth task of getting the 20,000 free tickets out to schools all over Galway for this, the 13th annual festival. Last year, despite widespread frost and flooding which resulted in traffic diversions, over 16,000 young people attended the exhibition. The organisers stressed that, on the day, no youngsters would be turned away.
Meanwhile, this week the festival activities continued in schools all over the county and at venues such as Galway Museum. In all, this week, said Anne Casserly, 14 different shows went to 90 different schools “the length and breadth of the county”.
Festival chairman Tom Hyland stressed that the underlying aim of the festival was to show young people the joy and magic of areas such as science and engineering, to increase the uptake of key subjects like science and maths.
EU Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn said in a special message to the festival: “In a world of global societal challenges, science and innovation have never been more vital. We face real problems such as climate change, resource efficiency, food security and healthy ageing. If we are to tackle these challenges successfully, we need to engage the young scientists and innovators of tomorrow at an early stage.
“I want young Europeans to discover the magic of science and to realise the broad range of opportunities available to those who study science and technology at second and third level. The Galway Science and Technology Festival is playing a very important part in securing the future of innovative competitive industries for Ireland and Europe,” she said.