Galway, Ireland’s mayor visits Notre Dame, meets with South Bend’s mayor at special event

Author: Mary Hendriksen

Galway Sb MayorsGalway Mayor Eddie Hoare and South Bend Mayor James Mueller

This week, thousands of Notre Dame students, faculty, staff, and fans will journey to Ireland for the August 26th Aer Lingus College Football Classic.

In yet another sign of the University’s long-standing ties to Ireland and the many initiatives underway to strengthen those bonds, the mayor of one of Ireland’s most iconic cities, Galway, and a delegation of 12 City Council members made their way to Notre Dame.

On August 16, the Galway guests, led by Mayor Eddie Hoare, met for conversation with James Mueller, the mayor of South Bend, and his staff; representatives of Notre Dame International (NDI) and the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies; and Irish students.

“It was a pleasure welcoming Mayor Eddie Hoare and his delegation to South Bend during their visit to Notre Dame,” said Mayor Mueller. “Building strong relationships and exchanging visions for our cities will promote further collaboration and shared opportunities.”

Mayor Hoare of Galway echoed his optimism: “The links between Galway through both Kylemore Abbey and the University of Galway and Notre Dame are something we hold dear, and we look forward to building on those links into the future. We look forward to welcoming those traveling to Ireland for the game, and we hope they get the opportunity to visit Galway during their stay. Go Irish!”

The Irish delegation spent the day on campus, touring the football stadium and visiting Aedin Clements, Irish studies librarian, who offered a tour of the rare book room and its Irish treasures at the Hesburgh Library.

NDI’s role as a builder of bridges

“Notre Dame International is a connector, a builder of bridges,” says Michael Pippenger, vice president and associate provost for internationalization.

“Embracing that role, we were pleased to take the lead in welcoming the Galway delegation to campus so that they could become familiar with Notre Dame. We also were keen to facilitate conversation between two dynamic mayors—each of whom grew up and attended university in the city he now governs. Both are working diligently on ambitious agendas ranging from affordable housing to economic development to the revitalization of neighborhoods. And both are committed to cultivating relationships that emphasize experiential learning for students in their respective cities for greater community impact.”

Pr 8Touring the football stadium.
Pr 8Viewing Irish treasures in Hesburgh Library's rare book room.
Pr 8
Pr 8

Notre Dame’s historic relationship with Ireland

Embedded in Notre Dame’s storied relationship with Irish America is the University’s distinctive relationship with Ireland. The University’s physical presence in Ireland began in 1998—when O’Connell House opened its doors on Dublin’s Merrion Square. 

Ireland25 InstagramNotre Dame is celebrating 25 years in Ireland

More recently, in 2016, with the opening of the Kylemore Abbey Global Centre on Ireland’s fabled west coast, just 70 kilometers from Galway, Notre Dame has strengthened its relationship with the University of Galway and Galway City, as well as built new connections throughout Connemara. Under the leadership of Director Lisa Caulfield, the Centre has facilitated study and dialogue for Notre Dame faculty and students in such diverse areas as cancer research, archeology, ecology, geology, and the literature of the west coast. The Centre has hosted conferences in areas encompassing legal ethics, private law, Catholic Social Tradition, coastal currents, and executive leadership as well as convened art, history, literature, and poetry seminars and workshops. On the ThinkND platform, it has organized several virtual book clubs, which have been attended by many in the Galway region as well as in the United States and throughout the world.

Even before the dedication of the Kylemore Abbey Global Centre, Notre Dame’s ties to Galway ran deep. Notre Dame International’s frequent partner, the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, has long engaged with the University of Galway, particularly its Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies.

At last week’s luncheon with the Galway delegation, Patrick Griffin, Madden-Hennebry Professor of History and the Thomas Moore and Judith Livingston Director of the Keough-Naughton Institute, spoke about his own transformative fellowship year at the Moore Institute and the importance of the Kylemore Abbey Global Centre to scholarly inquiry and to examination of the pressing issues of the day.

“Kylemore Abbey has become Notre Dame’s Bellagio Center,” Professor Griffin said. “Its location in Connemara—in a setting that is conducive to conversation as well as introspection—makes it a place where Notre Dame and its partners can do their thinking. “

Griffin mentioned one specific example, where Kylemore hosted the initial meeting in January 2020 of the Institute’s ambitious ongoing joint project with the Royal Irish Academy: Analyzing and Researching Ireland North and South Project (ARINS), which brings together experts to provide evidence-based research and analysis on the most significant questions of policy and public debate facing the island of Ireland, north and south.

The distinctive offerings of the Galway experience

Once the football game in Dublin is over, the Notre Dame students who have chosen to study at the University of Galway this semester will immerse themselves in the much different environment of the west of Ireland.

Their experience will include living and attending class in the vibrant college town of Galway and also programs, retreats, and immersive experiences at the Kylemore Centre.

Two distinctive offerings of the Galway experience are a partnership with Notre Dame’s Harper Cancer Research Institute and classes on environmental stewardship—a topic Caulfield says is increasingly important to the newest cohorts of Notre Dame undergraduates.

A popular course here at Galway for our students,” she explains, “is one on contemplative ecology, a framework for understanding the science of caring for the environment through the lens of faith.”

Learn more about Notre Dame’s presence in Ireland.