Sunday, May 24, 2015

Preston North End Promoted to the Championship!

Finally - a play-off success for PNE (tenth time lucky!) today with a 4-0 win over Swindon Town in the League One play-off final at Wembley. It has been a great season, but with a hiccup on the last day meaning the play-offs were the route to the Championship rather than automatic promotion. In truth it was a easy win for PNE despite Swindon dominating possession. The hero today was Jermaine Beckford with a hat-trick, and I'm sure that everyone in the City of Preston will celebrate today's win.

Image source: RIP.IE
While scoring a hat-trick at Wembley must be the stuff of dreams, the reality for Beckford and the rest of the PNE squad is that the Championship is a lot tougher and many of them will probably be discarded as new signings are brought in. Beckford has just been released by Bolton Wanderers! Money will talk, but Preston are not a big club and may well depend on loans again to stay up next year.

Finally, I hope there is Sky Sports in heaven as today would have been a great day for PNE's biggest fan in Ireland Joey McKeever who sadly died suddenly a month ago. He lived right across the green from me at Marian Park and he was passionate about PNE. Rest in Peace.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

26th August, 1988 #EmptyNest

Once when I was young I had no children - it seems so long ago. Life was very different from what it has been over the past near 27 years. The last time Roma and I had no kids was 26th August, 1988 - the day before Claire was born. Little did we know that we would start a family with three wonderful girls that would be so central to our lives. With Claire in New York, and Vicki in Belfast (soon to go to USA for a year), we have been getting used to less people about the house. Today, Kate moved into her own apartment in Dublin City, and I helped her with the move. 

Very mixed emotions on a day like today. My heart is bursting with pride that our three girls are so independent and making their own way, but I miss them so much. Life goes on and I'm certainly not the first Dad to experience the "empty nest" syndrome. I have not lived with my own Mum and Dad since 1978, yet I still call their house "home". I know that I can walk into their house in Ballingate as if I was never away, and I hope our girls will always feel that they can do the same in Blackrock.

Love you girls!

OK Roma - let's party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With Claire, Kate, and Vicki - Rosmindle. Co Mayo.

Monday, May 18, 2015

8,000,000 @YouTube Views Milestone #learning

Today my YouTube learning channel reported 8,003,215 views, it has taken almost four months for the last 1,000,000 views to to take place - with a bit of luck it will hit the magic 10,000,000 before the end of the year or early next year.

About this time last year the number of views on the channel was climbing rapidly - approximately doubling year-on-year. On March 3rd 2014 a new daily high view count of 11,944 occurred, but that record has not been broken since. While the seasonal pattern remains the same, growth over the past year has stagnated and for the last few weeks has been running lower than this time last year. Here is chart showing views since November 5th, 2007:

Monday, May 11, 2015

How To... Calculate Pooled Variance in Excel 2013

My YouTube Account Manager recommended that I do several things to improve my channel and get more views. One was to upload videos on a regular basis, and the other was to add custom thumbnails. 

My latest video is taken from one of my Statistics classes where Student's t-Test is used to compare the means of two samples. In unpaired (independent) t-Tests, if equal variance is assumed - the pooled variance of the two samples must be used in calculating the t statistic. My video below shows you how to do this manually in Excel.

For the second major recommendation, add custom thumbnails, I have created what you see below using PowerPoint and Snagit. I mock the graphic up on PowerPoint using my stock portrait image found in my videos, plus a title. I tried many variations on this, but keeping it simple works best for me. Apparently, thumbnails like this attract more viewers and adds a type of brand awareness to my channel.

Here is my latest video...

Friday, May 08, 2015

The Future of Higher Education - What Students Have to Say

Students at the University of New South Wales in Australia are interviewed to get their thoughts on what they think are the "future directions" for higher education. Technology is seen as playing a keen part in this with students seeking an increased role for video, recorded lectures, and more computers to help them in their learning. It's interesting to hear students in the video, who I'm guessing are in their late teens/early twenties and who grew up in the digital age, talk about what they would like to see in higher education. There seems to be some resistance to the traditional lecture, with many students seeing opportunities for more interactivity in class and more use of downloadable material supported with short YouTube videos. We should listen!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

NCI Guest Blog Post "A Day in the Life of a Lecturer"

Last week I wrote a guest blog post for the National College of Ireland Blog about a day in the life of a Lecturer, which was published yesterday. I chose the last Wednesday of Semester II to log my activities for the day - this was my longest and busiest day of the week. It was fairly typical of my work day - especially ones where I have classes. Sometimes I feel than when I have a class I don't get any work done! But then I remember that I am a Lecturer and should be spending time in class. I played down the amount of administration that I do - this is the boring part of the job that I don't like.

Here's the text of the blog post (Photo credit: Bonnie Cullen):

A Day In The Life of A College Lecturer

Regular readers of the NCI blog may recognise Dr Eugene O’Loughlin, NCI lecturer, author, Harley-Davidson enthusiast, blogger and YouTube content creator. Several years ago Eugene wrote this blog post about NCI’s first foray into blogging and we've finally taken him up on his suggestion!

It’s Wednesday during the final week of the Semester and a busy day lies ahead. As I teach an evening class on Wednesdays I normally do not come into the office until about 11:00am. This gives me some time at home to check personal email and I also write a blog post about the Open Plaques project in the UK that is trying to create a “Museum of the Street”, by recording on-line the commemorative plaques that we see on houses where famous people lived.

Soon it is off on my bike to the National College of Ireland and I arrive just in time for an 11:00 – 13:00 class. In this class the students, who work in groups, make their final project presentations. The presentations are excellent and I am very pleased with the work done. After this I have lunch at my desk and check my office email. There are 54 new emails today, many of which are newsletters and notifications that I subscribe to. I scan through the list for something interesting and note that the Journal of Education for Teaching has an interesting looking paper on “Reflection and Teacher Education”. In some of my classes I get students to complete reflective journals, so I read the abstract and make a note to read the full paper later. I have many emails to respond to from students, many of whom are now feeling the pressure as the semester ends and exams loom ahead.
After dealing with email I have an overdue task to complete which is to update reading lists for modules I will be teaching in the next academic year. I’m surprised at how long this takes. Most of the texts that I have been using over the past 2 – 3 years have new editions out, so the title, year, author, publisher, and ISBN for each text has to be updated. I use Amazon for all the details needed and return the revised reading list to the School Office.
Next I have a short meeting with a colleague to work on an abstract that we are submitting to a conference being held later in the year – the deadline for submission is this coming Friday, so we have no time to lose. Our paper is about Learning Analytics - we are researching ways of collecting data on educational videos and how these data can be interpreted. Following this I take a short mid-afternoon break where I take a walk up and down the quays by the Liffey. While I still have lots to do today, taking a break is important. Many of my students will remember me referring to ABBA (taking “a break between activities”, not the Swedish group!), and to Stephen Covey’s “Sharpen the Saw” story, to state the importance of taking breaks.
It is now 15:30 and I now concentrate on my evening classes for the rest of the day. My first class (17:00 – 18:00) is a tutorial for students who requested extra help in using SPSS and Excel for data analysis. As this is the last tutorial I plan to use so-called “big data”, so I download large files from the Central Statistics Office, Met Éireann, and the World Bank. In our tutorial we look for links, trends, and patterns in the data. I run through all the statistical tests that I will cover and prepare some tasks for the students to complete in the tutorial. Following this I prepare for my 18:00 – 21:00 Statistics class. We have already covered almost all of the curriculum, so this evening’s class will begin with the final lab on making predictions with data using Simple Linear Regression. I already have this prepared, so I quickly go over my plan for the rest of the class where I will provide feedback on a previous Continuous Assessment test, and finish up with reviewing a past exam paper in preparation for the class’s upcoming final exam.
There is a good turnout for the tutorial and almost a full house for the evening class. All goes according to plan, though I get many questions from nervous students about the exam paper. When asked for some tips in the exam I hold up my folder of the course notes and say ”This is what you need” – not many students see the humour in this! I had hoped that as this was the last class of the semester that we could finish a little early, but going over the exam paper took longer than expected and we didn’t finish until 21:00.
It’s always with some sense of sadness that I leave the last class – being with this group of students for 12 weeks has been very enjoyable and gratifying. After class there are a few students with further questions and I don’t get to leave the College until about 21:30. I ride home to a late dinner and a catch-up on the evening's events in the Champions League. A long, but satisfying day.

Enjoy this post? Check out Eugene’s article with advice from a lecturer to his younger self, or read more about our computing courses at National College of Ireland. You can also follow Eugene on Twitter here! 

Monday, May 04, 2015

Belfast Weekend

After years of not visiting the second largest city in Ireland, I now feel like a regular visitor to Belfast. As it was my daughters' birthday weekend we made a break of it for the May weekend. We had a great meal in Howard Street Restaurant, delicious food and great atmosphere. On Sunday I visited the Ulster Museum and particularly enjoyed the exhibition of First World War posters. Today I bought a new jacket selected by my daughters! I also took the time out to visit Scrabo Tower near Newtownards and its wonderful views over Strangford Lough. Last summer I passed through Newtownards on my tour around Northern Ireland's coast, but only saw this tower from a distance - today I got right up to it, but unfortunately the tower itself was closed. I took a lot of photos in an effort to get a good one for my next book - I think this one is the best:

Friday, May 01, 2015

Should Google be Allowed in Examinations?

This is an interesting question posed yesterday on the "Today" show on BBC Radio 4 - the clip below hears both side of the argument where one panel member questions the credibility of an exam where Google was used, while the other states that it should be allowed depending on the type of exam in question. Clearly this is a question for debate amongst all educators and learners?

Image source: Wikimedia Commons.
First - consider this quote attributed to Albert Einstein:

Why should I memorize something I can so easily get from a book?

If he were alive today he might instead say:

Why should I memorize something I can so easily get from Google?

Secondly, consider this fact: In 1975 (the year I sat my Intermediate Certificate), calculators were allowed in Intermediate/Leaving Certificate exams in Ireland for the first time. Lots of people objected to this saying it "dumbed down" maths tests and that they could help a student get a good grade without understanding the concepts behind the maths. Look how common they are now!

Google is part of learning whether we like it or not (I like it - I regularly ask/allow students to look up stuff online in class). This makes it part of teaching. I wish I had it in the 1960s/1970s when I was at school. Of course we have to be careful about a "cut-and-paste" culture and take steps to ensure that this is not learning, but if you use a specific tools to learn, then its presence in an exam should be considered. I am in agreement with Mark Dawe, Chief Executive of the British OCR exam board, who says in the clip that "It is inevitable" that search tools such as Google will be used in exams. I also agree with him in that it should only be used in certain types of exams and that the exam itself will be different is search is allowed. Assessing students' ability to make connections, show understanding, and interpret content is different than assessing recall. If I am preparing an exam where I know access to the Internet and Google will be available, I will naturally set questions accordingly and have different expectations about the answers students should provide. For example, in a Statistics exam I might ask students to find their own data to analyse and interpret, rather than give them a defined data set that all students must use. Which is of greater value?

Listen to the clip and form your own opinion...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: "Thomas Cromwell" by Tracy Borman

Having recently read both of Hilary Mantel's novels based on Thomas Cromwell: "Wolf Hall", and "Bring up the Bodies", plus having watched the BBC's dramatization of the books - I can say that I already knew quite a bit about Henry VIII's Chief Minister. Despite this, Tracy Borman manages to re-invent Cromwell in this wonderfully researched book: "Thomas Cromwell".

Image source: Amazon.
The book covers Cromwell's early life, his rise at the court of Henry VIII, and his downfall. Borman speculates very little on what might have happened in the inevitable gaps in his life that were not recorded. The court intrigue and politics is described so well that you almost feel as if you are present in Henry's court. Cromwell made enemies and friends in equal measures, and is regarded by Borman as a workaholic who had a prodigious appetite for getting things done by whatever means necessary. Where is succeeded in getting rid of Anne Boleyn (there's not doubt that she lost her head because Henry wanted her gone, and Cromwell found a way to do it), he failed with Anne of Cleves. His enemies at court, led by the Duke of Norfolk, saw to it that failure meant a one way trip to the block.

The pace of the book is kept up throughout and for the most part it is an easy read. However, I found the use of old English very difficult. Many long passages and quotations (from Cromwell's writings) had to be read several times to get the meaning. Though some old words are translated into modern English - most were not. This irritation does not detract from a great read about a fascinating man in a fascinating time.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Preston North End 3 Swindon Town 0 @pnefc #COYW #DontForgetTheTickets

My first visit to Deepdale in Preston for a couple of years ended with a convincing win for North End over Swindon Town courtesy of a hat-trick by League One Player of the Year - Joe Garner. This also afforded me the great opportunity to hang out with my bro' Brian for the day!

Thanks to Ryanair, it was cheap (€37) to get return flights to Liverpool from Dublin - we targeted this game a few weeks ago as one that might be a big occasion for Preston in their push for promotion to the Championship. A bus from John Lennon Airport to Lime Street followed by a train meant I arrived in Preston at about 11.30 - Brian was waiting in the station, it was good to meet him again (last time was for Liverpool vs West Ham - God Bless football!). We went to Weatherspoons for an early lunch of burger, fries, a pint, and a great catch-up chat. The pub was buzzing with PNE fans and I wasn't the only one with wearing the club's colours.

We walked up to the ground, but had to turn back because somebody forgot the tickets! Nevertheless, we were in plenty of time for a quick pre-match beer in the Sir Tom Finney Stand. Preston were 1-0 up within two minutes thanks to League One player of the Year - Joe Garner. After this Swindon dominated possession for about 20 minutes without really looking like scoring. PNE got a second goal just before the break - a simple header by Garner. Just after the restart he completed his hat-trick with another simple header. Overall - a very solid performance and a great atmosphere from the 17,000+ crowd inside Deepdale.

After the game it was a quick walk back to the station to get the train to Liverpool. I don't know who organizes the trains in England, but take a bow - I got a train to Wigan, and immediately transferred for Liverpool Lime Street where I got another train to Liverpool South Parkway. A bus from here to John Lennon Airport and I was in plenty of time for my flight home. As neither Liverpool, Everton, or Manchester United were playing today - the flight home was less than half full.

I'm off to Croke Park tomorrow for Dublin vs Cork - you'd never guess my other half was away for the weekend!
At Deepdale with Brian.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy 10th Birthday YouTube! #10years @YouTube

Today 10 years ago, this 18 second video, "Meet me at the zoo"...

...was the first video ever posted on YouTube. Just under a year later I created my own channel on April 7th 2006. With over a billion users, YouTube has become part of our lives like Google, Facebook, and Twitter - also 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute (Source: YouTube Statistics). YouTube has been very good for me with many of my students using the videos for studying tasks covered in class. As I write, the my channel has 7,806,655 views and 16,232 subscribers. To put this into context, this is a tiny number compared to what other videos and channels achieve - the video above alone has 19,606,483 views!

So happy 10th birthday to YouTube, roll on the next 10 years!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Open Plaques - "The Museum of the Street" @openplaques

Recently I have been contributing to the Open Plaques project which documents "the historical links between people and places, as recorded by commemorative plaques". Essentially it is a database of plaques from all over the world contributed by people who pass by a commemorative plaque of any type. 

Image source:
The idea is a simple one - if the plaque is not already listed on Open Plaques, it is easy to add one. A photo is ideal, though it should be readable. Some plaques are quite high up and you need a reasonable camera to get a good shot. Each plaque entry should have the details added to the site - a simple transcription of the text (in all languages) should be provided as well as such details as who posted the plaque, what colour it is, and when it was posted. Quite a few plaques plaques in the Dublin area are already listed, mostly thanks to Dr Michael Seery of DIT (who is a historian as well as an award winning Chemistry Lecturer). 

Plaques of any type are accepted - not just the round blue ones that tourism boards put up. So any time I see anything of interest I take a photo and check Open Plaques to see if it is already there (most likely Michael Seery beat me to it). Below are some of the plaques I've added (or were added for me by the good folks in Open Plaques), with links to their Open Plaques page:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Preston North End for promotion? #coyw

It's been just over four years since I last went to see Preston North End play Ipswich Town and get a 1-0 win in the English Championship. Unfortunately PNE were relegated to League 1 at the end of that season, but now after four years they are on the verge of being promoted back to the Championship with just two games left. Two wins and they are up! On Saturday I am off to Deepdale in Preston, thanks to a €36 return fare from Dublin to Liverpool, to see PNE play Swindon Town (and to catch up with my bro' Brian). What a tribute to the late Sir Tom Finney if they get promotion in the season in which he moved on to that great football field in the sky!

Image source: The BBC.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Village of Clonegal

About 8 kms from where I grew up in Ballingate in Co Wicklow is the village of Clonegal which lies on the Carlow/Wexford border. I went there yesterday with my Dad Joe for a pint in the excellent Osbournes pub, but finding it closed we had a look around instead. Dad told me there was a plaque on the bridge so I want to take a photo for the Open Plaques website. I never knew that Clonegal had so much items of interest, so with Dad as my tour guide I snapped a few more photos to record our time there.

Dad poses at the "Gate of Tears" with the River Slaney in the background.
This is on Open Plaques here.
This is located on the Carlow Wexford border near Kildavin here
This plaque is located on the bridged over the River Derry in Clonegal.
This is on Open Plaques here.

Posing for a selfie with Dad - we are getting more alike by the day!

Mágh dhá Chon - The Plain of the two Hounds in Clonegal was in the ancient parish of Mágh dhá Chon.
The legendary hounds of Fionn Mac Cumhail, Bran and Sceolaig, rested here during their pursuit
of Diarmaid & Gráinne.

Soup pot at High Street in Clonegal.

Dad pointing the way to Slí na Sláinte.

Rebels in 1798 were hanged in the yard behind this gate.
This 1798 monument is on the Slí na Sláinte commemorating Mylie Doyle who is buried nearby.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Learning from YouTube Analytics #ThingsIDidNotKnow

Yesterday evening I had my first ever conversation with someone in Google/YouTube about my channel. I did not know this but I have an Account Manager who helps YouTube content creators once they reach a certain number of subscribers and the number of watch minutes exceeds a threshold. I was surprised to find that my Account Manager knew a lot about my channel and she had plenty of advice about how to improve the channel to get more views and subscribers. 

One of the main things we discussed in over an hour's conversation (in a Google Hangout - another first for me) was about how viewers find my videos. 61% of my views come from Google and/or YouTube searches which brings the viewer directly to my video. Another 29% comes from "Suggested Videos" - they are from the suggestions that appear at the end or at the side of a played video. This means that hardly any are coming through my channel or my website.

Also of interest to find out was what the people were searching for when they landed on my video's page - here are the top ten searches terms from the last 365 days:
  1. gantt chart (2.6%)
  2. gantt chart excel 2013 (1.9%)
  3. standard deviation excel (1.5%)
  4. how to embed a youtube video into powerpoint 2010 (1.2%)
  5. gantt chart excel 2010 (0.8%)
  6. how to make a gantt chart (0.5%)
  7. how to make a gantt chart in excel 2010 (0.5%)
  8. gantt chart excel (0.5%)
  9. how to calculate standard deviation in excel (0.5%)
  10. how to create a gantt chart in excel 2010 (0.4%)

While the overall percentages for each is small, it does give a strong indication that Gantt Charts are very popular. My most popular video is How To... Create a Basic Gantt Chart in Excel, which accounts for 896,897 out of 7,725,778 views. I was also informed that the Search Algorithm searches through the metadata tags, video title, and video description (in that order) so it is therefore important to make sure that these items are as optimized as possible.

One of the first things I plan to do is to create a custom thumbnail template for all my videos - my Account Manager showed me some sample channels where faces and large type made all the difference, especially for searches. Lots more to do!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Game of Thrones - Season 5 #CantWait

Like millions of viewers all over the world I am really looking forward to the opening episode of Season 5 of Game of Thrones this evening on Sky Atlantic. I have watched all four previous seasons, though have not read the books that the series is based on. There is still life in the weekly format of programmes like this - Netflix hasn't got hold of it (yet)! Ten weeks of great TV awaits - here's the official trailer on YouTube to whet the appetite:

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Linkedin Acquires

Right on the heels of my post yesterday ranting and moaning about "endorsements" in Linkedin comes the news today that training company has been acquired by Linkedin. Were they listening to me? When I think about it - adding a successful training company to the Linkedin portfolio makes sense. Jeff Weiner, CEO of Linkedin, states in the video below that "skills is one of the final pieces of the puzzle" and their aim is to empower "membership through learning and development". Linkedin wants to create a "digital representation of every job and every skill" required for their members and companies. 

I think this is a good mix and will certainly add a lot more value to Linkedin members' profiles if skills and proof of acquiring those skills through training (rather than endorsements from somebody else) are provided. Check out the video below for more about this acquisition.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Linkedin Endorsements

A few times a week I get messages from Linkedin that So-And-So has "endorsed" me for a particular skill. While this is nice to get (and thank you to those who have taken the time to do so), I'm not sure how valuable they actually are. 

Image source: Pixgood.
Today I was endorsed for "Event Management" - I was quite surprised by this. I have never managed an event in the sense that this is intended. I am also endorsed by people whom I barely know, and who certainly would have no knowledge as to how skilled I am in the likes of "HTML" (I have 25 endorsements for this, even though I rarely use it). I have been "endorsed" several times for "Research" even though it is about 10 years since my last peer-reviewed research publication. This makes such endorsements have reduced value for me, however well-meaning the person doing the endorsing is.

I know that Linkedin pops up suggestions for members to endorse others, and my guess is that many folks just click a few options to get them out of the way. If a ranking was introduced, then it would be more beneficial - but I suppose this is open to a lot more difficulty. An old Competency Management rating that I sometimes use: "Beginner", "Intermediate", "Advanced", "Expert", and "Guru", might possibly be more valuable - but you need to know your stuff before judging others. I'll continue to be skeptical about Linkedin endorsements until they come up with a better, more meaningful system.

Monday, April 06, 2015

O'Connell Street Today #RoadToTheRising #ProudToBeIrish

So it was off to Dublin in the green today to see what was happening in O'Connell Street for the "Road to the Rising" event created by RTÉ. Thousands of people turned up for what was an ordinary event with too many people and too few attractions. 

The Easter Rising in 1916 was the single biggest event in Irish history, and forms part of what we are. Arguably our nation was created during the fight that tool place between a few Republican dreamers and the British Empire. A year of nostalgia lies ahead as we rightly celebrate the seed that grew a few short years later into independence. I loved the event today as a celebration of the birth of our nation. Everybody that I could see was enjoying the day, especially those who dressed in early 20th century costume for the day. 

I "forced" Roma to take the picture below of me in front of the GPO - you can still see some of the bullet holes in the pillars behind me. 99 years ago our nation was created here.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Review: "Jersey Boys" at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre @BGETheatre @JerseyBoysUK #JerseyBoys

Oh What a Night! The Broadway show "Jersey Boys" came to Dublin last evening and sent the full house home walking like a man and humming songs by The Four Seasons. I had seen this show last year in New York, but when I heard it was coming to Dublin I just had to see it again. I was not disappointed.

Though slow to get going the show moves into top gear the second "Sherry " and "Big Girls Don't Cry" are blasted out in fantastic harmonies and falsetto. With the excellent Tim Driesen (who is from Belgium, not Jersey!) in the role of Frankie Valli, all the company performed brilliantly putting in a magnificent effort all evening. It is both a very funny show and a warts-and-all account of the lives of Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Nick Massi, and Tommy DeVito - these four were only together for a few years, with lots of other members coming and going after DeVito (1970) and Massi (1965) had left the group. The list of hits they had from 1962 to 1975 is a chronology of pop/rock music that any group would be proud of. Classics like "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", "Beggin'", "Walk Like a Man", "Decemember 1963", and "Who Loves You?" will last forever.

Being that it was Good Friday, it was strange being in the middle of a crowd of over 2,000 people in a theatre with not an alcoholic drink in sight! Our archaic licencing laws in Ireland prevent alcohol being sold on Good Friday. It was a strange sight at the interval seeing most of the crowd staying in their seats - no need to rush to the bar for a quick one! I wonder how much the takings for the night were affected by this?

Here's a flavour of the show from

Video source:

Friday, April 03, 2015

Killiney Lions Club Quiz

Last evening I had the pleasure of acting as quiz master for the Killiney Lions Club fund raising quiz in aid of "My Canine Companion - Support Dogs for Children with Autism" held in the Rochestown Lodge Hotel. The event was very well attended and it raised a lot of money for a great cause. 

In acting as quiz master I also wrote all the questions. Following some feedback that my last quiz was "too hard", I set about trying to make this one a bit different with something for everybody. I decided on themed rounds which seemed to go down well. Ten rounds of 10 questions was the format - seven of these rounds are below (the other three are tow picture rounds and a Recent News round). As you can see there are a mix of "easy" questions that most people should get, and some harder questions. Also in there are lots of questions that got an "Aww shit - I knew that!" reaction when I read out the answers. The event was won with a score of 76/100 and it was competitive right to the end. The winning team was lead by Mary Hanafin (pictured) who is a great supporter of fund-raising events like this. This winning score was actually a lot lower than the winning score (91/100) of my previous "harder" quiz.

So - here are the questions below, see how you do (no cheating with Google and Wikipedia)!


Who came second in the 2011 Irish Presidential Election?
Who is the oldest surviving living former Taoiseach?
Who was the first woman to be elected as an MP in Westminster elections?

Name the four TDs for the Dún Laoghaire Dáil constituency.
Name both Republican party candidates defeated by President Barack Obama in the US Presidential elections in 2008 and 2012.
Who is the Minister for Education & Skills?
What is the name of the new political party launched in March 2015 by Lucinda Creighton?
What position does George Osbourne hold in the UK Government?

Who is the current Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council?

How many seats did the Labour party win in the 2011 General Election? (range: plus or minus two)

Numbers (Answers are 1 to 10)

How many of golf’s Major titles has Padraig Harrington won?
What is the Square Root of 49?
How many statues of Irish historical people are there in O’Connell Street in Dublin?
(O’Connell monument counts as one)
How many counties are there in Connaught?
How many All-Ireland Senior Football Championships has Donegal won?
How many times was British actress Elizabeth Taylor married?
How many times has Everton FC won the English League Championship?
How many “hole-in-ones” has Rory McIlroy scored in competition in his professional career to date?
According to research by the University of North Carolina (Irish Independent, 16th Feb, 2015), how many kilometres does it take to walk off one large pizza (930 calories)?
How many sides does a tetragon have?


Who wrote and said the famous words: “the fools, the fools, the fools! - they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace” on the 1st of August, 1915?
Who is reputed to have killed Brian Boru at the Battle of Clontarf?
Who was the sixth wife of Henry VIII?
He was born in County Mayo in 1777 and was an admiral in the Argentine Navy. There is a statue of him on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay by the Liffey, and the Wolfe Tones wrote a song about him in 1982. Who is he?
Which County Dublin park was officially opened as a public park on 30th June 1887 by Prince Albert Victor (grandson of Queen Victoria)?
What organization was founded on the 21st October 1879 in the Imperial Hotel Castlebar, Co Mayo?  Clue: Charles Stewart Parnell was elected as the first president of this organization.
In what year did the Battle of Waterloo take place?
Which English King signed the Magna Carta in 1215?
Who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean?
Who was Taoiseach from 18th February 1948 to 13th June 1951?


Who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2015?
Name both parents of 50 Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson.
Name the Disney movie released in 2013 which is based on the fairy tale “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen.
Who played the part of Scarlett O’Hara in the 1939 movie “Gone With the Wind”?
Name the Academy Award winning song from the movie “Once” sung by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglova.
Spell the song title “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from the movie Mary Poppins.
Who was presented with an Honorary IFTA Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Irish Film and Television industry at the 11th Annual IFTA Awards in 2014?
What movie shot some scenes on Skellig Michael in County Kerry last year?
Gregory Peck played the part of Atticus Finch in this 1963 movie adaptation of a book by Harper Lee. Name the film.
Name the real life US Navy SEAL that the 2014 movie “The Sniper” is based on.


Name the former three time Formula One World Motor Racing Champion from Australia, who went on to form his own Formula One team, who died on 19th May last year aged 88.
In cricket, what is meant by the term “maiden”?
Who was the Leading Jockey at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival?

Which school won the Leinster Rugby Senior School’s Cup for the first time on St Patrick’s Day this year?
Name the only county in Leinster never to have won a GAA Leinster Senior Football Championship.
What golf course is the 2015 Irish Golf Open to be played on May 28-31?
What team was Stephanie Roche playing for when she scored the goal that came second in the FIFA Ballon d’Or Puskas Award?
Which individual has won the most Olympic medals (gold/silver/bronze) of all time?
Name the Irish sailor who finished fourth in the 2012 London Olympics in the Women's Laser Radial class event.
Only three Irish players have finished in the Top 10 Premier League goal scoring charts in England since 1992. Robbie Keane is one, name either of the other two.


What is the second smallest county in Ireland?
In what country would you find the Cantabrian mountain range?
What is the county town of Leitrim?
What is the modern name for the street in Dublin City Centre formerly known as Drogheda Street?
What is the capital city of North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)?
If you were on a boat in the middle of Lough Key, what county in Ireland would you be in?
Name the three states in the USA whose names start and end with the letter “A”.
Which European country has a map on its national flag?
What is the highest mountain in the Province of Ulster?
Which borough of New York City is named after the Dutch word for "broken valley"?

TV and Radio

Which character in RTÉ’s Fair City is played by actor Bryan Murray?
On what radio station does former minister Ivan Yates present the Breakfast Show?
What is the name of the Netflix series starring Kevin Spacey as President Frank Underwood?
What planet was the Star Trek character Mr Spock from?
What ITV series is shot on location at Highclere Castle in Hampshire?

In the Dallas TV series - Who Shot J.R. Ewing?

First broadcast in 1953, name the world's longest-running current affairs television programme?

What is the name of The Simpsons pet dog?
Who is the presenter of the RTÉ cooking programme “Kitchen Hero”?
What programme is presented on FM 104 by Jim-Jim and Nobby?