Mayglass pupils are detectives for a day!

By Amy Lewis

Published 08/10/2016 | 00:00

Dr Eamonn Keogh with his sister Fiona Power and her son Tommy Power who is a student in the school.
Dr Eamonn Keogh with his sister Fiona Power and her son Tommy Power who is a student in the school.
Ciara Murphy and Eoibheann Rankin learn all about fingerprints.
Mayglass NS pupils Eva Smith and Katie Foley.

Pupils at Mayglass Primary School got to grips with solving crimes when Dublin-born computer scientist Dr Eamonn Keogh made a flying visit to the school.

The professor jetted in from the University of California Riverside to give a talk on fingerprints and DNA to fourth, fifth and sixth class children. He had the full attention of the class, as well as the teachers, as he explained how different types of fingerprints can be used to solve crimes. Among the crowd was Dr Keogh's sister Fiona Power and her son Tommy who attends the school.

'It was an absolutely brilliant day and such an interesting talk,' said Fiona, who lives in Kilmore Quay with her husband Jim and their son. 'Eamonn explained that there are four primary types of finger prints. He then gave the children eight different prints that they had to match up with ones from an imaginary crime scene. At the end, he told them that they were all qualified in examining fingerprints and said that they should be very proud of themselves.'

Dr Keogh also told the children a bit about his life and where he came from, saying that he currently lives '25 minutes from Disneyland'. Along with being a professor of computer science, he also beat more than 2,400 applicants in a bid for a €72,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates' Foundation. The grant was given to him to fund research on a sensor-based device which helps to identify malaria-carrying insects.

Dr Keogh has also published over 130 papers and won several awards for research and teaching. Though he dropped out of school at the age of 15, he stressed the importance of education to the Mayglass pupils.

'He told them that if he had stayed on to do his Leaving Cert and gone to college, he would have gotten to where he is now a lot earlier in life,' said Fiona.

Following the talk, the pupils had their chance to ask some questions and, kids being kids, many of them looked for the gruesome details.

'Some of them were asking if he had ever been to a murder scene,' laughed Fiona.

This marked the first time Dr Keogh has run a talk in the county, having paid visits to schools in Dublin, Japan, South America and elsewhere as part of his series of NFS-funded talks. According to Fiona, he has promised to pay a visit again next year.

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