‘I al­ways loved go­ing to Mel­li­font’

Drogheda Independent - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

Where did you grow up?

I lived in many places grow­ing up – Ne­nagh, Kilkenny, Dublin, but spent a lot of time in Drogheda with my Done­gan grand­mother in Mell, and my cousins on my moth­ers side – the Far­rellys on the Chord Road. My aunt Mary Done­gan al­ways rented a house in Clogher­head or Bet­tys­town, so I spent a lot of my sum­mers there. We al­ways seemed to have had amaz­ing sum­mer weather then or did we!

An event that stands out from your child­hood?

I al­ways loved com­ing to Mel­li­font Abbey with my dad, and visit­ing the High Cross in Monaster­boice. We would spend days visit­ing all our re­la­tions – the Mc Don­nells and the Done­gans in Monaster­boice, Dun­leer , the Gin­netys in Dromiskin and the Cum­mins and the Far­rellys in Drogheda.

Who has had an in­flu­ence on your life?

My par­ents had a re­ally strong in­flu­ence on me, they in­stilled in me a sense of work ethic, to work hard and to fol­low your dreams.

How did you be­come in­ter­ested in your ca­reer / hobby?

From when I was re­ally young, my dad used to tell me about Ni­cholas Cal­lan, who’s niece Mar­i­anne Cal­lan was my great-grand­mother. Ni­cholas Cal­lan was born in Darver and he was the in­ven­tor of the in­duc­tion coil, which is used in all cars now. There is a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of it in Darver near the Gaelic pitches. I was in­trigued to hear sto­ries of this priest work­ing in Maynooth dis­cov­er­ing amaz­ing things, and I think that in­spired me to study sci­ence.

What was your hap­pi­est mo­ment?

I was so happy to be in Croke park and to cheer on my cousin Roisin Ka­vanagh and the Louth ladies foot­ball team. My dad played for Louth a long time ago, and I know he would have been so proud of her!

What are you most proud of ?

In 2007, I won the EU Descartes award, that’s the EU high­est award for sci­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tion for a chil­dren’s sci­ence mag­a­zine I wrote in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Ir­ish In­de­pen­dent. The award had been pre­vi­ously won by Sir David At­ten­bor­ough and Bill Bryson.

Any big events com­ing up in your life?

Maths Week Ire­land, an all is­land event event en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to think dif­feenetly anf have fun with maths runs from Oct 13-21st. I set up Maths Week 13 years ago and it has now grown to be the big­gest fes­ti­val of its kind in the world with over 300,000 par­ticipt­ing last year. There are so many schools in Drogheda tak­ing part, it’s great - that’s tak­ing up most of my life now!

Sheila Done­gan with Min­is­ter Richard Bru­ton

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