Tuesday 23 January 2018

Wexford men to be honoured

By Amy Lewis

The councillors welcomed the decision to erect plaques to Dr Tom Walsh and Dr Arthur W Conway as part of a national scheme aimed at acknowledging contributions to science, maths and education.

The scheme was first presented to Wexford County Council earlier this year by Mr Annraoi de Paor, a former professor at UCD. It has been agreed that the plaques will be erected in appropriate locations.

Born in Piercestown in 1914, Dr Tom Walsh was educated at Piercestown National School and Wexford CBS. He studied Agricultural Science in UCD and received an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland in 1972 and Trinity in 1980. He worked as a lecturer in UCD before becoming Soil Advisory Officer in the Department of Agriculture . He later was appointed Senior Inspector in the Department, with responsibility for soils and grassland research.

Dr Walsh went on to become the first director of Teagasc and held many other important positions such as the Senior Vice-President of the Royal Irish Academy, Chairman of the National Council for Educational Awards and Director of An Comhairle Oiliuna Talmhaiochta. In 1989, he had the Freedom of the Borough bestowed on him by Wexford Corporation.

Meanwhile, Dr Arthur William Conway made a great contribution to science and mathematics. Born in North Main Street in 1875, he attended Loreto Convent and St Peter's College before continuing his studies in UCD. He received a BA in Latin, English, Mathematics and Natural Philosophy before he got an MA Degree with highest honours in mathematics.

Dr Conway completed his education at Corpus Christi Oxford where he became University Scholar in 1901. He was appointed Professor of Mathematical Physics in 1901 and later became the Registrar of the college and President. Later on in his life, Dr Conway was appointed as the President of the Royal Irish Academy. Dr Conway pursued scientific research throughout his life and was described as being 'the most distinguished Irish Catholic man of science of his generation'. One of his students was Eamon de Valera, whom he introduced to the Quaternion number system.

Cllr George Lawlor said he supported and applauded the decision to erect the plaques. Cllr Frank Staples said he would also be in favour of a plaque for Robert Brennan, which Mayor Ger Carthy said is to be done opposite Whites Hotel in the coming months.

Cllr Davy Hynes suggested that a plaque be erected somewhere in honour of the late sculptor Peter Hodnett.

Wexford People

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