U3A News
ALL OUR FUTURE EVENTS POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Published on 12/03/2020

Monkstown U3A Steering Group has decided to postpone all our future events due to the Covid-19 outbreak. This is being done to protect the health of our members.

We plan to re-commence our programme of activities once the current crisis is over. Until then, please stay safe and follow public health guidelines.


Tom Crean's Eldest Grandson Paid a Visit
Published on 07/01/2020
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We were honoured to have Brendan O'Brien, the eldest grandson of Tom Crean, the Antarctic explorer, come to give us a talk recently. He enthralled us with his account of his grandfather's heroic expeditions in the Antarctic with Shackleton. We heard of the tremendous risks they took in search of glory and ultimately, to rescue their colleagues. Their courage and determination were unbelievable, as were their strength and fortitude in combating the horrendous terrain and climate. A true hero, Crean retired to Annascaul, his hometown in Co Kerry, where he owned a pub, run by his wife, Brendan's grandmother. He never spoke of his exploits but he was widely admired and recognised, particularly following the publication of his biography, "An Unsung Hero - Tom Crean" by Michael Smith.

Crean's last expedition to the Antarctic with Shackleton took place in 1916. He died in Kerry in 1938, aged 61 from burst appendix.

We were delighted to hear of the human, domestic side of this man from Brendan who has himself travelled to the Antarctic to better understand his grandfather's journeys.


Miraculous Medicines from the Natural World
Published on 19/11/2019

U3A Monkstown was treated to a fascinating talk recently on the medicinal properties of plants. Professor Helen Sheridan from the TCD School of Pharmacy enthralled us with her wide-ranging exposition of the history of how, from Neanderthal man, we humans have been observing and experimenting with various natural materials, from plants to fungi to bacteria, to cure our ailments. The examples she gave us were varied and entertaining.

Did you know that monkeys can medicate themselves with the plants that surround them in the wild and that Dublin Zoo has attempted to replicate that vegetation in the monkey enclosure; or that Neanderthal man used the poplar tree, which contains salicylic acid (aspirin) to ease pain? The foxglove produces digitalis which is a toxin but is also used in the production of steroids and the treatment of atrial fibrillation. Opiates, such as morphine and heroin come from poppies.

Taxol, used in the treatment of both breast and ovarian cancer comes from the bark and the leaves of the yew tree. Drugs to treat Alzheimers disease are being developed based on analysis of snowdrop bulbs.

Man can learn a lot from observing nature and its naturally occurring remedies. From such research, exciting new drugs can be synthesised in the laboratory. She cautioned however, that there can be a long lead time from initial observation, to testing, to clinical trial before a drug is certified for clinical use.

Having just received a six million euro grant to examine bogland species in Ireland, we look forward to hearing more from Professor Sheridan's exciting research!


THE LIFE AND VERSES OF ROBERT SERVICE - 1874-1958
Published on 24/09/2019
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I confess that I had not heard of Robert Service when I attended the MU3A talk today so I had no idea of the treat that was in store for all the attendees.

Denis Gill, a lifelong enthusiast for the poetry of Robert Service held us all spellbound not only with the poetry recited but also with his riveting account of the amazing and colourful life story of Robert Service.

Robert Service’s poems are entertaining and humorous stories about life. They were and probably still are popular as party pieces. The poems were well known and loved by many in the audience.

Robert Service dared to write critically about Stalin and Hitler, causing them much displeasure. Not many men survived the wrath of both Stalin and Hitler and lived to tell the tale.

Particularly enjoyable was Denis’s rendition of “The shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee”.

Thank you, Denis Gill for a truly memorable morning and a re-introduction to the poetry of Robert Service.

Denis Gill is a Walk Leader at Historic Walks in Wicklow and is a member of Monkstown U3A.


Earth - The Goldilocks Planet, But For How Long?
Published on 04/09/2019
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Earth is sometimes called the Goldilocks Planet because, compared to other planets in our solar system, it is just right for supporting human life (not too hot and not too cold)! However, that could change dramatically by the end of this century, affecting life on this earth for our grandchildren.

Professor John Sweeney, of Maynooth University, the well-known climatologist opened our autumn 2019 schedule with a challenging and highly informative talk. He provided sound empirical data in graph and pictorial form on the extent to which global warming has taken place at an accelerating pace over recent decades.

It is extremely likely that global warming is caused by human actions, in particular the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide emissions.

We in Ireland are particularly at fault in this regard. We are the third worst EU country for our carbon dioxide emissions, producing 50% more than the EU average. We have seen a half degree increase in our average temperatures in the last 30 years and can expect to see another half degree increase in the next thirty years. How will this impact on us? We can expect more severe weather events in years to come – flooding in the west of the country and water shortages in the east.

In terms of our wildlife, some of our species, such as the curlew, the Kerry slug, the buzzard and the salmon are under threat due to climate change. At the same time, we are vulnerable to some invasive species such as the Horse Chestnut Tree Miner Moth, which has recently crossed the Irish Sea and can be observed attacking horse chestnut trees in the Phoenix Park!

On a worldwide scale, climate change is about to reach a tipping point whereby the change will be irreversible. It is the poorest and most vulnerable parts of the world that will suffer most. In sub-Saharan Africa with reduced rainfall crops will fail leading to widespread starvation. In other parts of the world, as sea levels rise, Pacific islands will be swamped, the mega deltas of the Nile and the Bay of Bengal will see land subsidence leaving populations with nowhere to go. Without action to reverse climate change it is estimated temperatures in the Persian Gulf will have risen to over 50 degrees!

Young campaigners like Greta Thunberg plead for us to take action to save the world for them before it is too late. At last politicians seem to be taking notice. Here in Ireland we have a Climate Action Plan at last. John Sweeney urged us to make our voices heard and leave a legacy for our grandchildren.


Our 1st meeting of the 2019-2020 season will take place on 3rd September 2019 at 10:30am
Published on 19/06/2019
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Our 1st meeting of the 2019-2020 season will take place on 3rd September 2019 at:

Newtownpark Pastoral Centre, in the grounds of Guardian Angels Church, Newtownpark Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin

Please see EVENTS page for details

Postal renewal/enrolment of members is now closed for 2019-2020. To join our waiting list for membership please email us at:

u3a.monkstown@gmail.com


Visit to Russborough House
Published on 18/06/2019
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A happy group of Monkstown U3A members visited Russborough House and gardens on Tuesday 18th June. We were lucky with the weather which was fine and balmy. We travelled down by bus and first had a tour with an excellent guide of Russborough House itself. Following lunch we had a guided tour of the walled garden. Fortified by ice creams we then got the bus back to Mounttown after a most enjoyable and sociable day.


Taking a Walk on the Wild Side
Published on 07/05/2019
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Next time we walk up Dalkey or Killiney Hill we U3A members will be looking around us much more attentively! This is as a result of a fascinating talk given to us recently by Michael Ryan, a local wildlife enthusiast. Michael has lived on Dalkey Hill all his life and shared with us his experience and knowledge. Michael is assisted by Lucy who Is shown above with him. Lucy, he says, has the most incredible ability to spot wildlife which he then captures with his camera. As a result, we were treated to a showing of some wonderful photos of the local fauna.

The wildlife he covered was too extensive to even try to summarise, ranging from ravens to linnets, kestrels and jays to rabbits, lizards and grasshoppers. He had a fantastic selection of photos of red squirrels but sadly, he told us he and Lucy have not seen them on the hills in recent years.


There is no Planet B!
Published on 24/04/2019
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This was the challenging message from a recent talk given by one of our members, Tom Bolger. Tom is a former Professor of Zoology from UCD and well qualified to speak on biodiversity and its impact on human wellbeing. The official definition of biodiversity is "the variability among living organisms from all sources".

Research has indicated major declines in the number of our species. For instance, there has been a 75% decline in insect numbers over the last three decades. We have all heard about the decline in the number of bees which are vital for plant pollination. Other insects illustrate the interdependence of our ecosystem: the larvae of a certain type of common moth eat the ragwort plant and so control its spread, as an example.

Our planet is under major threat from climate change, but even more so from the rapid decrease in biodiversity in recent years, We are approaching a critical stage from which our planet could not recover as we could lose species and function very quickly.

He challenged us as to how long we thought we could survive on Earth if there were no other species. The answer is 3 minutes as we would have no oxygen and could not breathe as we are dependent on plant life to generate oxygen.

As a developed economy, we in Ireland are consuming very high levels of natural resources, at an unsustainable and much higher level than our parents did - more central heating, more and bigger cars and more and better food, etc. Thus, if every country in the world had levels of consumption similar to Ireland we would need about five and a half Earths to meet the demand for resources!

We have to be very careful of all our species as we do not know what disasters may occur if we lose some of them completely or if their numbers decline drastically. The interdependencies between species are complex and are not fully understood.

A terse and apposite quote used by Tom was "We did not inherit our future from our ancestors, we have borrowed it from our children" (paraphrased from Wendell Berry). It is our responsibility to protect our planet for future generations. Our young people have recognised this but our politicians are lagging behind.


Making “Ulysses” Come to Life
Published on 10/04/2019
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James Joyce’s masterpiece, “Ulysses” is a book that we all know but few of us have actually read. Dr Seamus Cannon, a well known local historian and scholar gave us a well illustrated and fascinating account of what a multi-layered and complex book it is that captures the human experience uniquely. As Seamus said, Joyce took the bread of everyday life and consecrated it into art. In the novel we encounter great characters living in a convivial city.

Seamus used clips and photos of Joycean readings, music and celebrations of Bloomsday around Dublin on 16th June to illustrate his talk. Joyce was in either Paris or Trieste when he wrote “Ulysses” but used a map of Dublin, a ruler and a stop watch to track Bloom’s journey across Dublin in one day to ensure it was accurately timed.

We learnt how the book was based on the Mediterranean voyage of Odysseus in Greek mythology and each chapter is based on a different part of the mythical journey. Joyce built everyday events and people he knew into the story of Ulysses. He himself features as Stephen Daedalus, his wife Nora as Molly Bloom. Michael Cusack, the founder of the GAA, is represented by the Citizen, a rabid Irish nationalist

Declan Kiberd has said that It is it time to reconnect “Ulysses” to the lives of ordinary people. Seamus certainly did that for us and encouraged us to appreciate it and even try once more to read it. We might need Stephen to guide us however!


Sage Advice from a Doctor on Staying Healthy over 60
Published on 27/03/2019

Dr Simon Hugh-Jones, one of our founding members, gave us an informative, lively and well-illustrated talk about understanding cholesterol and the importance of managing it. He explained that atheroma, or hardening of the arteries to you and me, is caused by the build up of cholesterol plaques in the arteries. High levels of “bad” cholesterol or LDL in the blood cause this. This is contrasted to HDL, which is “good” cholesterol, which actually takes away the fat from the arterial walls.

Since the mid 1990s clinical trials have shown major reductions (30%) in death from pre- existing cardiovascular disease such as angina, heart at attacks or strokes amongst patients between the age 35 and 70 years taking statins.

If you have high cholesterol you should therefore consider taking statins, especially if you have a poor family history, namely a first-degree relative having angina or heart attack less than 60 years age.

He also advocated men over 65 getting an ultra sound scan for abdominal aortic aneurysm (dilated- AAA) to determine if their abdominal aorta is enlarged, as this can be fatal if undetected.

Click on the link below for more advice on abdominal aortic aneurysm screening, although a NHS website, the science still applies to the Irish as well. The cost of screening should be far less than the price of an MRI.

www.nhs.uk/conditions/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm/

Such scans are performed annually on men over 65 in the NHS as part of a national screening programme, if their aorta is marginally enlarged. AAA are far less common amongst women.

Simon had some key words of advice for us all. If we get a sudden and unexplained bout of severe indigestion, it could be a heart attack so don’t delay in seeking help. Don’t sleep on it! Dial 999 and state that you have “central chest pain”. Indigestion is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that your tests show you have not had a heart attack and the probable cause of your CCP is indigestion.

Don’t play the card the other way, as you may never get to play another hand!

Similarly, if we notice someone with symptoms of a stroke such as drooping of the face and arm on one side and/or slurred speech don’t delay, call an ambulance, as swift treatment is vital to preventing and treating a stroke. We are all too nice, he told us, but we must be more assertive in looking after our health!

Finally, he steered us towards a website; www.qrisk.org. If you open it and enter some figures about yourself, such as age, weight, cholesterol and family history it can tell you how likely it is that you will have a heart attack or stroke in the next ten years. Some risks can be modified but unfortunately you can’t change your parents or your age.

Good luck. You can’t say you haven’t been warned!


Maynooth University Department of English & Arts and Humanities Institute April 8, 2019
Published on 20/03/2019
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Maynooth University Department of English & Arts and Humanities Institute April 8, 2019 Professor Stefan Collini (Cambridge) ‘Quality Control: Academic Disciplines and the Future of Universities’

Professor Stefan Collini is one of Britain’s best-known and most widely-read public intellectuals. A Fellow of the British Academy, he is Professor Emeritus of Intellectual History and English Literature at Cambridge. He is a frequent contributor to the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian and the Nation. Professor Collini is the author of many books, including Public Moralists: Political Thought and Intellectual Life in Britain 1850-1930 (1991), English Pasts: Essays in History and Culture (1999), Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain (2007), Common Reading: Critics, Historians, Publics (2009) and Common Writing: Essays on Literary Culture and Public Debate (2018). He delivered the Ford Lectures in History at Oxford in 2017, recently published as The Nostalgic Imagination: History in English Criticism. His books on the university question are What Are Universities For? (2012) and Speaking of Universities (2017). This seminar will take place at 4pm, in Seminar Room 1.33, First Floor, Iontas Building, North Campus, Maynooth University.

The event is free and everyone is welcome.


Building Up A Family Tree
Published on 12/03/2019

James Ryan gave us a talk that demonstrated his encyclopedic knowledge of geneology. Outlining the principles behind genealogical research he gave us useful tips on resources we could check out. Interestingly, the first step is to consult with older family members and get as much information as possible from them. From there you can go to many of the online data sources to trace your family tree. Make a plan and start with what you know and go from there, he advised. Check all facts and keep a meticulous record of sources of material. He outlined the various potential sources of family history, ranging from census data to land records to church records. Much of this work can be done online. A checklist of useful websites is being made available to our members.


A Renaissance Woman Came to Visit!
Published on 26/02/2019
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Recently, Ann Fleeton came to talk to Monkstown U3A. She is seen here (left) with our Honorary Secretary, Kirsten Briggs, who chaired the meeting.

Ann brought with her many examples of her beautiful narrative quilts. A geologist by training and an artist by nature, Ann's presentation was wide ranging and fascinating. She uses her scientific training in her depiction in fabric of many natural phenomena.

We travelled with her from the Bayeux Tapestry to the Ross Tapestry in New Ross. On the way, we viewed examples of Impressionist art and saw how they had influenced her work and that of others. Her inspiration is drawn from many sources, historical and contemporary. Thus we saw, for example, pieces drawing on the 1914 Antarctic expeditions, the Magdalene Laundry in Limerick and the 9/11 attack.

Ann uses a variety of textiles and techniques to tell her story. In some pieces she incorporates text printed on the fabric, in others she uses natural materials such as flowers and leaves dyed into the silk. As she says herself, "she uses stitches to tell a story".

Her talk indicated her breadth of skill and expertise, her love of poetry, art and story telling. A true Renaissance woman!


How to Improve Our Brain Health?
Published on 12/02/2019
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We can all take action to improve our brain functioning and it’s never too late to do so. That was the message that Sabina Brennan, from Trinity College Dublin imparted to our members recently, based on her extensive research. Indicating the large number of people worldwide now suffering from dementia (50 million), she said that we can do something to build up our cognitive reserve.

The brain has the capacity to adapt and change, depending on how we use it. Lifestyle factors play a big part in brain health. Thus, a healthy diet, exercise, social interaction, educational activity and reduced or no alcohol consumption are key.

She introduced us to a number of “Brain Health Hacks” which are outlined in depth on her website (http:www.sabinabrennan.ie). Basically, we need to challenge ourselves by learning new things, getting out and meeting people, getting regular exercise and good sleep and finally, by smiling at least five times a day!

It was a stimulating and very well received talk. You can learn more by getting your hands on Sabina’s new book, “100 Days to a Younger Brain”, due out on 7th March.


Things We In U3A Should Think About!
Published on 03/02/2019

Members of the Citizen’s Information Centre in Dun Laoghaire came to visit and delivered a most helpful and informative session to us recently. They distributed booklets to us on our entitlements as over 60s and also demonstrated how we could get further information and advice through their extensive website (www.citizensinformation.ie).

We need to plan for the future as we get that bit older and not put it off. The Irish Hospice Foundation has a most helpful booklet to help us do that. It covers topics such as health, legal and financial information in the event of an emergency, as well as how to draw up an Advanced Healthcare Directive if we fall seriously ill. Finally, it addresses what we would like to happen when we die. Further information on www.thinkahead.ie

A very big thank you to Joe McCarthy, Diana Ferguson and Denis Dineen from the Citizens Information for sharing all that information with us. We now know where and who to go to if we have problems with the state bureaucracy....Diana, incidentally, is one of our own, namely a member of Monkstown U3A!


Exercise is Good for Older People!
Published on 15/01/2019

That’s not so surprising is it? We all know that don’t we so why don’t we do more? Professor Brendan Egan of DCU made a compelling case for why we older people should get more exercise. Any exercise is better than none, he argued,but to avoid muscle wastage as we age we should engage in some resistance exercise as we lose about 1% of our muscle mass every year once we are over 65. Why should that bother us? Well, it means that we become frail quicker, more likely to fall. Resistance training will build up our strength and improve our balance.

Studies have shown that our muscle mass declines more rapidly if we are bedridden due to illness for a peiord of time. Even a week in bed can lead to 7% reduction in muscle mass amongst older people!

Older people generally don’t like gyms. However, he demonstrated some simple resistance exercise we could do at home. Start gradually, he advised and build up your strength over time but aim to push yourself a bit more every week.

Protein is the building block of muscle development. Studies have shown that older people do not consume enough protein. We need to eat some protein at every meal.

All in all, it was a stimulating talk which gave rise to many questions.

Finally, quoting David L. Katz ( who wrote “Disease Proof”) he outlined the requirements to protect ourselves from chronic disease (such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes) as we age:

FINGERS - don’t smoke!

FAT - maintain a healthy weight

FORKS - eat a healthy diet

SLEEP - ensure you get enough sleep

STRESS - avoid stress

LOVE - have meaningful relationships.

Now we have the recipe for healthy aging - we just have to put it into practice...


Wishing You a Very Happy New Year - notice of next meeting
Published on 08/01/2019

Wishing you a very Happy New Year and looking forward to seeing you at our next Monkstown U3A Meeting on:

• Tuesday, January 15, 2019

• 10:30 - 12:30

• Mounttown Community Facility

Muscling in on Healthy Ageing

Brendan Egan, Associate Professor of Sport and Exercise Physiology, Dublin City University

Brendan will examine the role of exercise and nutrition to support health and healthy ageing. He will focus particularly on the role of strength-based exercise for improving our physical capacity as we age. He will also explain how protein can support the benefits of exercise for us.

Brendan is well placed to speak on this topic. He is the Associate Professor of Sport and Exercise Physiology in Dublin City University. He has led research teams for a number of years in both DCU and UCD using human trials to examine the impact of exercise and nutrition. Outside of academia, he is performance nutritionist to the Dublin hurling team!

Prepare yourself to be motivated to get out of the armchair and get moving!


Happy Christmas from Monkstown U3A
Published on 28/11/2018
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Members of Monkstown U3A gathered for an early celebration of Christmas on 27th November. First of all, Pat Smyth enthralled us all with a presentation of his life in wine. Pat had travelled to France early in his career as a seven-a-side rugby player. He subsequently returned to France due to his love of the Rhone Valley and its wines and took up a career in wine. He told us many facts about wine growing and also exploded some myths about wine tasting. Wine, he said, tastes of grapes and not grass, tobacco, kumquats or any of the other fanciful descriptions given to wine. The taste of wine will vary depending on the grape variety, the methodology employed by the vigneron and the growing conditions in a given year.

He shared some interesting tips, for instance, if you are warming red wine, take out the cork first as otherwise the cork may go into the wine bottle. Only 3% of white wine is worth keeping for over ten years as after that it begins to go off. Drink a white wine when it's young and fresh, he advised. His talk was illustrated by a tasting of a lovely white Cotes du Rhone. Sadly, we had to cut Pat short before he could tell us more about red wine, so this is a lecture to be continued. Having helped ourselves to some more wine, mince pies, and other seasonal delicacies we sang along to some Christmas music and carols played by friends of our membership secretary, Frances.

A very happy, safe and peaceful Christmas to all our members and speakers and see you all in 2019, starting again on 15th January.


Preliminary Spring Schedule for Monkstown U3A Now Available!
Published on 23/11/2018

Check out our first seven events for Spring 2019 now in the Events section of this website. Make sure to put the dates into your new 2019 diary.


U3A Visits Maritime Museum
Published on 21/11/2018

Recently Monkstown U3A visited the Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire. We were guided around by Seamus O’Connor and his colleague, Helen. They brought the Museum alive for us with anecdotes and stories of human interest. Seamus had recently given us a talk on the sinking of the sinking of the RMS Leinster one hundred years ago just outside Dun Laoghaire harbour. We saw artifacts from that ship, not to mention a light bulb from the Titanic! The museum is housed in the most beautiful building, a former church which is worth seeing in itself. The volunteers who work in the museum are to be commended for their commitment and enthusiasm in establishing and maintaining the museum. It is clearly a labor of love.

All in all, a fascinating morning and we recommend highly a guided visit to the Maritime Museum.


An Atmospheric Railway in Dun Laoghaire!
Published on 31/10/2018
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Tom Conlon enthralled our members with his account of an innovative railway that ran from Dun Laoghaire to Dalkey for ten years from 1844. Not only did he tell us the story and the history behind the train, he also treated us to a live demonstration, using a model and a Dyson vacuum cleaner!

The railway was based on an innovative design for a vacuum driven train. The train was sucked along a line uphill to Dalkey and then rolled downhill with its own power back down to Dun Laoghaire on its return journey.

The train was initially a great draw for its novelty. Over the ten years it ran it carried about 240,000 passengers for the princely sum of 2 or 3 pence.

Eventually, the novelty waned, passenger numbers decreased and the need arose for a railway line to Wexford.

Before its demise however, the railway managed to break the world land speed record when a young Trinity student, named Elrington managed to decouple the engine from the carriages and release the brake with the result that the train speeded from Dun Laoghaire to Dalkey in just 75 seconds!


The Question of Palestine in the Age of Trump - Reasons to Be Pessimistic!
Published on 16/10/2018

Conor McCarthy gave us a most informative talk on the background to the "Palestinian Question". Conor, an academic from Maynooth University, is a self confessed partisan and activist on behalf of Palestine. It was nevertheless valuable to hear his account.

He traced events back to the 1897 World Zionist Organisation Conference which was the first political movement to establish a Jewish state where Jews would be sovereign. It was followed by the enunciation of a policy of colonising Palestine to achieve that end.

The subsequent Great War led to the break up of the Ottoman Empire whereby Palestine became a province of Britain. The Balfour declaration of 1917 - a letter from the then Foreign Secretary of Britain to Baron Rothschild committed Britain to a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

This was to become a reality following the Second World War which had seen the persecution of Jews across Europe.

Following the Six Day War of 1967, which Israel won decisively and took over the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Golan, reducing considerably the areas under Palestinian control.

In the present time President Trump has moved decisively to back Israel even further by establishing the US embassy in Jerusalem.

This year Israel has introduced a new Basic Law which proclaims Israel to be the state of Jewish people worldwide, enshrines the right to exclusively Jewish self-determination and encourages and promotes further Israeli settlement of the Palestinian territory.

Concluding, Conor bemoaned the lack of visionary leadership on either the Israeli or the Palestinian side and said that the solution of a two nation state was no longer realistic. He himself is part of a group called Academics for Palestine which lobbies on behalf of Palestine.

The presentation gave rise to a great deal of questions and concerns were expressed for the future given the extent to which many conflicting national interests impact on the issue.


Remembering the Sinking of the RMS Leinster
Published on 03/10/2018

On 10th September 1918, almost one hundred years ago, the mail boat between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead was sunk by a German submarine, leading to the worst ever disaster in the Irish Sea and greatest loss of life of Irish people in a maritime disaster. It is being commemorated this year by a series of events in Dun Laoghaire.

This tragedy occurred in the last few weeks of the Great War. Sensitive peace negotiations were under way at the time between the warring sides. As a result, the tragedy was not widely reported. Irish newspapers were ordered to play down the incident for fear of impacting on morale. This incident has not received the attention it deserves, until recently.

On board the RMS Leinster were 22 postal workers, sorting the mail bound for overseas, about 180 civilians, about 70 crew members and, importantly, about 500 soldiers. German authorities claimed as a consequence that it was a legitimate target as a "troop carrying ship", British authorities claimed it was a "ship carrying troops". Semantic but important differences as the troops were not actually on a wartime mission but were in fact returning to Britain after a period of rest or recuperation in Ireland.

In any event, the RMS was hit by torpedoes east of the Kish bank, leading to a massive loss of life, estimated at over 500. Seamus O'Connor, a lifelong student of the RMS disaster and a member of the Board of the Maritime Museum gave an enthralling talk to Monkstown U3A on 2nd October. In it he recounted stories of those who had lost their lives and those who were rescued.

Ironically, the German submarine, U-123 never made it home. It itself was lost at sea, probably encountering a mine off the English coast a few days later

A full listing of all the free events to commemorate the sinking of the RMS Leinster can be found in the link below.

We are organising a guided visit to the Maritime Museum on 13th November 2018. Sign up sheets will be available at our next meetings.

"If the dead could speak there would be no more war" - Heinrich Boll


AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL – WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? - Review of talk given by Paul Humphreys on 18th Sept.
Published on 22/09/2018

Paul Humphreys is a very experienced Air Traffic Controller who presented his talk using a variety of media that made this topic very interesting, visual and of course informative.

We were told about the roles and responsibilities of the air traffic control team and got a good insight into the high level of communication and the technology used to ensure that flights take off and land in an orderly and in particular, safe manner.

Wi-Fi internet access allowed us to see flight routes around the world live on screen. Focusing in on Ireland Paul enabled us to see and understand clearly the sequencing needed to cope with the volume of traffic at Dublin Airport.

We even saw the holding patterns that are necessary at busy times and how planes then land in turn following strict safety regulations. “Very reassuring” was a comment made by one of our members – expressing the view; I’m sure, of all of us.

The Atlantic Ocean is divided into sections of airspace that are watched over by a range of controllers and we saw fantastic live images of the defined flight routes from America to Ireland and indeed globally.

Paul then presented us with a case study video and we were asked to work out who was responsible for an incident (OK - no casualties involved). The majority of members got the correct answer and Paul then explained to us how the incident actually occurred and what steps were taken to ensure that this type of incident does not happen again.

A wide range and good number of questions from our members were ably answered by Paul and further discussion took place over tea/coffee.

Paul’s expertise in his subject area, his use of everyday language and clear delivery as well his use of visual media and diagrams created a valuable opportunity for our members to gain a good insight into air traffic control.


Public Health Talks this Autumn in Tallaght
Published on 11/09/2018

Tallaght University Hospital is organising a series of talks on topics that may be of interest to our members. Admission is free.

Tallaght University Hospital Public Health Talks -Autumn/Winter 2018 schedule

Arthritis –Arthritis Prevention; How to Minimise Risk

Professor Ronan Mullan, Consultant Rheumatologist

Firhouse Community Centre, Tallaght

10th October @11 am

Let’s Talk Clots - Often referred to as ‘Thrombosis’ this wide-ranging talk will cover blood clots what they are, how they happen and what happens when they happen! There will also be a speaker on how to manage worry after an illness. Professor Rónán Collins, Consultant Physician in Geriatric & Stroke Medicine

Dr. Johnny McHugh, Consultant Haematologist,

Dr. Áine Connolly, Senior Psychologist Anne Marie O’Neill, Patient & Founder of Thrombosis Ireland

Rua Red Theatre, Tallaght

17th October @ 6.30 pm

Please note that registration is required for this event. please phone 087 363 4828 or email info@thrombosisireland.ie.

COPD - Never too early, never too late. What changes you can make to improve your health following a diagnosis of this chronic lung condition. This event is being run in partnership with the Tallaght COPD Support Group.

Dr. John Cullen, Respiratory Consultant, TUH.

Red Rua Theatre, Tallaght

15th November @ 10 am


MONKSTOWN U3A KICKS OFF WITH ITS FIRST MEETING
Published on 31/08/2018
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On Tuesday 4th September Monkstown U3A held its introductory meeting in Mounttown Community Facility. The meeting was addressed by Corona Joyce from Age Action and Donal Denham from Dun Laoghaire Killiney Dalkey U3A. Corona welcomed the start of a new U3A and outlined the role of Age Action in facilitating their spread and development in Ireland. She indicated the work of Age Action in advocating on behalf of elderly people in Ireland. She also spoke of some of their services for older people. Did you know for example, that they provide training in the use of computers free of charge to older people? Also, they have a service whereby older people can avail of a Care and Repair programme which carries out minor repairs for older people free of charge?

Donal outlined the phenomenal growth and demand for U3A in Dun Laoghaire. Most of the Monkstown U3A members had been on their waiting list. It now has 180 members and it has supported the start not just of Monkstown U3A but also of Bray Heads U3A which has also started recently with 90 members and a waiting list.

Laraine Joyce, Chairperson of Monkstown U3A welcomed our new 60 fully paid up members. We too have a waiting list. We have deliberately kept our numbers small due both to space constraints in our chosen meeting venue and a desire to enable members to get to know each other and to develop a social network. She stressed the fact that Monkstown could evolve in whatever form it wished in accordance with the needs and wants of its members. With that in mind the new U3A wanted to grow and develop based on feedback from members. Members of the U3A committee outlined their roles and plans for the future. From the floor, members welcomed the initiative and made a number of suggestions for topics to be covered in the course of next year.

If you wish to join our waiting list, please let us know by emailing us at u3a.monkstown@gmail.com.



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