Mergon Support Technology Learning Opportunity for Castlepollard Students

Midlands Science recently collaborated with Mergon International to provide an engaging and interactive coding workshop for the first and second year students of Castlepollard Community College.

Lucy Payne, Business Development Manager from iConnect Galway ran this ‘Coding Workshop’ for pupils at Castlepollard School, on 1 June 2017. Based on the Swift Playground app using the Apple TV, students explored how to use the Swift Playgrounds app and understand where coding is used in daily life.

Aisling Nolan, General Manager of Mergon International in Castlepollard said,
‘Mergon was delighted to partner with Midlands Science as a corporate sponsor in order to deliver this innovative event to a local school. Technology has the power to transform education and as a company, Mergon is always looking for ways to help inspire learning and encourage new ways of teaching the future generation. Swift, the powerful programming language which has been designed by created Apple, is intuitive and user friendly involving touch, motion and sound.’

Swift Playgrounds is a revolutionary app for iPad that makes learning Swift interactive and fun. It requires no coding knowledge, and is perfect for students just starting out. Using puzzles to master the basics with Swift students are equipped with a powerful programming language created by Apple that is used by the professionals to build today’s most popular apps. Students take on a series of challenges and step up to more advanced playgrounds designed by Apple and other leading developers.

Mary Coyle, principal at Castlepollard Community College said,
‘We were delighted to welcome Lucy Payne of iConnect to our school recently where students had the opportunity to enjoy a really immersive lesson in ipad technology and coding. The new Technology element of the curriculum enables students in the junior cycle of post-primary education to develop their technology knowledge and life skills and to apply these in real-world situations. We are very grateful to both Mergon and Midlands Science for this opportunity as we believe that by creating a more dynamic learning environment and giving students the tools and materials they need to succeed, their technology lessons can really be brought to life.’

Notes to Editors:
For more information on Swift and how iConnect can benefit your school or business please contact Lucy on 085 873 2331.
Media Enquiries: Victoria Marsden, Marketing Manager

iConnect is an Apple Premium Reseller and Apple Solutions Education Experts serving every type of customer, from individuals to creative freelancers to professional businesses, schools and universities.
As Apple Solutions Education Experts iConnect also serves many of the countries primary, secondary and third level institutions with the most up to date Apple Solutions for Education.
Owned by Al Mana Lifestyle Limited and part of the Al Mana Group of Companies, iConnect has stores in Henry Street, Dublin, Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, Dublin and Whitewater Shopping Centre, Newbridge. The group also acquired Stream Solutions, Cork and Screenway Limited, Galway in 2015.

New Board Member for Midlands Science

Midlands Science is pleased to announce the appointment of the Assistant Secretary General of the Irish Association of Community & Comprehensive Schools, Mr. John Irwin, to its Board of Directors.
Martin Cronin, Chairperson of Midlands Science commented,
‘John joins a voluntary Board dedicated to ensuring that the importance of science education and careers continues to be highlighted here in the Midlands. John is a very valuable addition to our Board and I look forward to working with him as we continue our efforts to connect to more students, teachers and parents. He brings a wealth of academic and corporate expertise and experience in education promotion to help Midlands Science activities and contribute to setting our vision for the future.’
John is an experienced secondary school teacher and former school principal and in his current role as Assistant Secretary General of the Irish Association of Community & Comprehensive Schools and in this role, he is responsible for the development and management of a network of large community schools across the country. He is particularly interested in the linkages between education, employment and local development and in his years as a teacher and school principal he was an early adopter and proponent of new and engaging ways to interest students in STEM issues.
John Irwin commented,
‘I am honoured to join the Board of Midlands Science and look forward to collaborating with fellow members on new concepts and ventures to provide even more opportunities, activities and resources for our students here in this region. Together, we will continue our efforts to build the next generation of local scientists and engineers in the most innovative and dynamic ways possible.’
Midlands Science has recently launched its new website which will provide details of upcoming science and technology education and promotional events taking place across the region. The website can be accessed at

Festival Celebrates Five Years!

Excitement is really building now as we start to make preparations for this year’s Midlands Science Festival which is now entering its fifth year!

From humble beginnings with just 33 events back in 2013, we have grown bigger and better every year and have already booked a number of fun and innovative activities for this November to ensure we deliver an action packed and highly memorable festival during Science Week 2017.

Some of the things our local young people can look forward to include our favourite snakes, spiders and tortoises who will return to the Midlands and visit at least three lucky schools this year. We are also excited about welcoming back the team from Go Fly Your Kite, Junior Einsteins Science Club, Marine Dimensions, a mobile planetarium and so much more!

Watch this space for updates over the coming months and find out how you can help us to celebrate science in an even bigger way this year!


Rocket Making Fun for Tullamore Schools

Local development company Midlands Science recently teamed up with Tullamore based company, Integra LifeSciences Ireland Ltd to deliver an innovative science initiative to two fortunate schools in Tullamore. Astronomer, Lecturer and Space Enthusiast, Seanie Morris, visited both St. Philomena’s NS and Scoil Mhuire and provided pupils with his popular ‘Make& Launch A Rocket Workshop.’ This involved an insight into the history of propulsion combined with a little bit of arts and craft, finishing up with an experiment involving some chemistry on how a rocket is thrust upwards.

John O’ Donovan, ‎Plant Manager at Integra LifeSciences Ireland Ltd commented,

‘Integra was delighted to recently partner with Midlands Science as a corporate sponsor in order to deliver this fun and interactive science event to local primary schools. It is very important to us as a company to seek opportunities where we can play a role in promoting science education and the message that science is around us in so many aspects of daily life. The earlier that science can be introduced in young classrooms the better and these inclusive, hands-on workshops are an ideal way of doing so by teaching pupils how to carry out a basic science investigation. We hope that this type of activity will inspire them to think about science and its diversity when it comes to second level and future subject choices.’

Midlands Science is a local development company working to progress economic development and education attainment in the Midlands of Ireland. It is funded by a mixture of public and private funding. Since 2008, the company has focused on a work programme dealing with STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and the key objective is to grow the exposure and teaching of STEM subjects in schools through relationships with Department of Science & Engineering, Science Foundation Ireland and a number of academic and corporate partners with a science related focus, bringing international best practice and creating relevant and fruitful opportunities.

CEO of Midlands Science, Jackie Gorman commented,

‘We were delighted to be able to collaborate with such a forward thinking company as Integra LifeSciences to deliver this event and we are also partnering with a number of other local schools and organisations to create opportunities which aim to excite students about science and demonstrate how it connects to real life. It’s about creating greater interest in science education and careers which of course benefits the Midland region for the future.’

Promoting STEM Education with ESB

We are delighted and proud to be working with leading utility company, ESB this year to help spread messages about the importance of STEM education and we caught up with CSR Coordinator, Anne Cooney to find out more about the work that EB is doing in this area.

In what kinds of ways do ESB help develop future skills in science, technology, engineering?

From our perspective, as a leading Irish employer, it makes sense for us to support our young people in developing these core skills.  After all, they are our workforce of the future.

We, in common with many other Irish companies, need access to staff with strong science, technology, maths and literacy skills and all of these are grounded in getting our young children off to the best educational start possible.  ESB supports a wide range of initiatives across the country working to raise awareness and encourage and influence participation in STEM.  Initiatives include Dublin Science Gallery, I Wish, TechSpace, and Midlands Science.  More information can be found at


Do you work with educationally disadvantaged communities and if so what types of projects do you feel work well?

ESB’s Energy for Generations Fund sees over €2m per year disbursed across a range of community and issues-based initiatives. Each year the Fund awards €1m in direct funding through a quarterly fund to charities working in the areas of suicide prevention, homelessness and education access and support.

ESB has been supporting initiatives in the areas of suicide prevention and homelessness since 2005 and we introduced a new focus on education in 2014, which recognises the need for educational supports at all levels to ensure that Ireland has the skills it needs to compete effectively in the future.  We support organisations working in the area of education in very practical and effective ways to support our young people in developing core skills.  Without a strong foundation in the basics, children will find their path through education, to whatever level they aspire, much more of a struggle.

ESB is also conscious that our staff and our company have been the beneficiaries of historically high standards of educational delivery.  We have a duty to acknowledge and repay that investment made in us and we are pleased to be the national partner with An Cosán Virtual Community College.  There are many barriers for people across Ireland in accessing further and higher education and An Cosán VCC is an innovative new programme which has the power to break down these barriers and offers a unique opportunity for anyone wishing to develop their skills and achieve their full potential.

How do you think we can do more to encourage young children to take an interest in science and technology? Are there any recommended ways for teachers to inform pupils about the electricity distribution network in a fun and exciting way?

We need to introduce young children to STEM at an early age – and show that it is fun!  I am a firm believer that the earlier we start with educating our children, parents and teachers the better the future for all of us.  We need to make STEM more appealing and demonstrate its relevance by showing how it is key to solving different challenges.  And we need to show that it’s just as cool for girls to enjoy maths as it is for boys.

Electricity is so much part of daily life that we often take it for granted. It is a powerful and versatile energy but can be dangerous if not used properly.  So it is essential to be aware of the potential dangers and make safety a priority for everyone.  To raise awareness and educate school going children about electricity, ESB Networks has developed Junior and Senior Lesson Plans specifically designed to work with the electricity strands of the Science Curriculum.  These lesson plans and other fun and educational resources can be accessed here.

Are there enough young people studying engineering at third level and are there currently enough graduates in STEM fields?

There is a worldwide skills shortage in STEM – and Ireland is not immune.  There are not enough young people studying engineering at third level, and even fewer females.  Many believe that if we can fix the gender gap, we can alleviate the skills shortage. Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that less than 25 per cent of the approximate 120,000 people working in STEM related jobs are female. As such, there is a significant focus now is on encouraging more females to consider and explore the world of STEM subjects. – See more at:


History Of The Grand Canal, Water Safety And Life Saving!

History of the Grand Canal, Water safety and Life Saving!

Today we were delighted to welcome RNLI volunteer Ronan Adams (who is originally from Tullamore) back to the Midlands to talk to four schools about the work of the RNLI, water safety, how the crew save lives and of course how science plays a role in all of this highly important work. 

The children even had an opportunity to test whether or not Ronan was telling the truth when he said his uniform was completely waterproof! (See photo)

We also had a brilliant day of workshops all about the grand canal which runs through Tullamore and this was provided to a very lucky local school by waterways Ireland and the Irish Peat Conservation Council.

Later on its the science of perfume, loads of careers talks and some experts into the science of sleep! Its not over yet!

Science of Scents!

Planning to be in the Mullingar area on Friday afternoon? Why not come along to this free event all about the science of perfume or ‘Making Sense of Scents’ with Dr. Craig Slattery at Weir’s
Pharmacy Mullingar on November 18th at 4pm!

Up, Up and Away

It was kite making and flying in Offaly today when the team from ‘Go Fly Your Kite’ visited the pupils of Eoin Pol in Tullamore and also Killeagh NS for an interactive workshop on kites and howkites-eoin-pol-1 they work. Feedback has been really positive and Glenn and his team made sure that all of the students rolled up their sleeves and really got involved in the learning and fun.

‘The physics of how a kite gains lift is very similar to how an airplane gains lift. The wings generate lift force by the action of the moving air over the wing surface. A kite works in exactly the same way. The wind blows in the direction of the kite and underneath it – this creates lift. An excellent way for students to a gain a feel for aerodynamic forces is to fly a kite!’

Go Fly Your Kite in Tullamore yesterday



Science for Breakfast, Geology, Biology and More!

Today has been another action packed day so far, with an early start in Athlone for a science skills and careers networking breakfast. Here our key speaker Anne Heraty of Cpl Resources addressed kites-eoin-pola full audience all about the importance of science related careers and focused on the Midlands as a place to live and work. We had more kite making in Tullamore, a talk from NUI Maynooth professor, Sean Doyle in St Brendan’s in Birr, snakes and tortoises in Offaly and geology and lessons about our tap water in one of our local Gaelscoils with the Geological Survey of Ireland! Meanwhile over in Laois we had science magic in Abbeyleix while in Moate there was recycling and other science lessons with the Rediscovery Centre! #ScienceWeek

Planets, Careers and Kites!

So far today has been fun-filled, fact-filled and even involved a spot of kite flying! The reptiles are on tour and today made their way to Co. Longford where children had the opportunity to pet a tortoise and meet all sorts of entertaining little creatures! We are also delighted to be partnering with our friends at ‘Go Fly Your Kite’ to provide fun and interesting workshops for pupils across the region during this year’s Midlands Science Festival and they started their regional workshops today in the Gaelscoil in Athlone where pupils learned all about the physics of kite flying and then theygot to make their own kite to get a real piece of the action. st-j-at-ex-dome

Dr. Andy Fogarty from the science department in AIT gave an informative talk to secondary students all about ‘Sex, drugs and Fish’ in Athlone and the mobile planetarium provided by our friends at ‘Exploration Dome’ made its way to Tullamore where the pupils of St. Josephs NS had the opportunity to spend a little time learning and star-gazing. Another action packed and fun-filled day for the Midlands Science Festival..

Roll on tomorrow when we will be having science for breakfast!