Heroes of the IT Tallaght Computing Department through the years

IT Tallaght Logo

Hero is defined as a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.  This article is dedicated to the lecturers and team in IT Tallaght over the years that have helped shaped my career and capabilities.  Some of my heroes.

Everyone in life deserves recognition for their contribution to other’s lives.  This article is dedicated as a small thank you to the people who’ve had the biggest impact on my academic experience.

I have the privilege to meet over 30 lecturers, support staff and teachers in my lifetime.  These are just some of the ones who’ve had the most influence from in and around IT Tallaght during my time there.


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IT Tallaght through the years

IT Tallaght Logo
Image from http://www.it-tallaght.ie/

When I first attended the Regional Technical College (RTC) Tallaght I was 18 years old and it was 1996.  The college was 4 years old having opened in 1992.

I lived in Swords in North Dublin.  I hadn’t achieved enough points in my leaving certificate to attend the very highly sought after Computer Applications Programming course in DCU just up the road.

Instead I was lucky enough to get into the Certificate program in RTC Tallaght.  So for the best part of 3 years my life was 4 hours of buses per day.  1 hour into town, 1 hour out to Tallaght and back again that night.  I learn commitment the hard way.

The world was preparing for the Y2K bug and programmers were in scant supply.  Common Object Business Oriented Language (COBOL) was the most widely used banking programming language at the time.  It was the focus of our programming lectures week in, week out.

The college has transformed over the years to become the Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT).

Despite the years difference the skills I learnt as a freshman in 1996 were still as relevant to work in 2009.

I now watch with anticipation as the Technical University of Dublin emerges http://www.it-tallaght.ie/index.cfm/page/newsarchive/id/679 


My MSc from 2013

Barry Feeney


LinkedIn - Barry Feeney
Image from https://ie.linkedin.com/in/barry-feeney-76a16733

Barry is not only a lecturer the but head of the school of computing.  I had the privilege of being an IT Management student of his when doing my BSc.

In 2013, he invited me to lecture the evening students in databases. (Advanced Database Technologies (3rd years) and Enterprise Database Technologies (4th years))

His leadership and political management of the development of ITT into TUD has been amazing to watch over the last few years and truly inspiring.

A genuinely nice person, his insane work load and never ending paper work never stops his friendly smile or warm handshake in the corridors of Tallaght.

A real heroes hero and so humble that even the students don’t know how much he does for them.  I constantly aspire to emulate his ability to lead.


Seán McHugh


Seán has been my lecturer, my mentor and support when I began lecturing.

Outside of my personal involvement in Tallaght, he has been the primary point of contact for dealing with student placements in bxp software.

Over the years Seán has provided insight, time, understanding and patience beyond measure.

His knowledge of databases and ability to adapt to emerging technologies and fold them seamlessly into course material year in year out is just inspiring.

His tireless work to help students and the careers is always deserving of the honour of being named in the category heroes.

I continuously thank him for his selfless service not only to his students but also the institution that is IT Tallaght.


John Burns


Dr. Burns is one of those lecturers you never forget.

His fearless approach to the most complex of systems with an ability to make it digestible and realistic for students inspired me to do my masters thesis as I did.

Taking on something I thought was far beyond my capability and yet I excelled.  His enthusiasm for complex technologies such as CUDA inspire students to delve in where others wouldn’t dream to go.

This innate ability to push students to further themselves beyond their capabilities by setting tough challenges meant my belief in my abilities was stronger for having attended his lectures.

A titan of complexity and one of the hereos of complex systems.


James Bridgeman


LinkedIn - James Bridgeman
Image from https://ie.linkedin.com/in/james-bridgeman-sc-0155a519

Mr. Bridgeman was my lecturer for “Law” for the Masters course.

Law is a broad area.  It’s lexicon alone can take years to comprehend. A broad specialised area such as technical law is daunting.  His ability to communicate effectively has essential.

His knowledge of the law is encyclopedic.  He delivered the series of lectures brilliantly, seamlessly and insight-fully.  One of the heroes of lecturing law to non-law students.

I have used what I’ve learned in those lectures more often than not in my professional career.





Jo O’Donovan


LinkedIn - Jo ODonovan
Image from https://ie.linkedin.com/in/jo-o-donovan-0a999916

I had the privilege of studying along side Jo for my masters and furthermore I was her partner for more than one project and we always excelled together.

She is brilliant and highly intelligent which has led unsurprisingly to her meteoric rise in eir.

Her warm outgoing personality was not lost as a huge influence in the students union of the college when I first attended.

As I worked with Jo through projects, assignments and exams over the years, she pushed me to be better than I am.

She will always be one of the heroes wherever she is or whatever she is doing.




My BSc in 2009

Elizabeth Sherry


Of all the subjects I choose to explore for the fun of it eLearning is the subject which most resonated with me accreditable in no small part to her delivery style.

The subject of eLearning became something I not only submitted my BSc paper on but helped our business to win an award in 2010 for the best new product or service to the contact centre industry with the CCMA.

For such a grey area subject due to opinion and the fluidity of interface design, she made the material black and white and so easy to understand.

Thank you for inspiring my love of the subject of eLearning.


Stephen Howell


LinkedIn - Stephen Howell
Image from https://ie.linkedin.com/in/stephenrichardhowell

Stephen is not only enigmatic but brilliant.

Prepare to have your perceptions changed not only through his delivery but his inherit ability to discuss interface design and game engine psychology.

Would you up sticks, head to Japan and teach scratch to children?  A hero does, that’s who.

His industry accomplishments speak for themselves and furthermore I am privileged to have attended his lectures.





My Certificate and Diploma from 1996 to 1999

Philip Gundry-Beck

My first introduction to to the world of computer programming and broadening horizons came from his lectures.

Upon walking into the lectures, he was always in situ ahead of time.  He frequently had an Irish Times tucked under his arm.  We absorbed a nugget of tech news every lecture.  The importance of remaining current and relevant was not lost in his approach and continues throughout the years.

To this day my appetite for remaining abreast of current tech trends stems from his guidance.


Rotan Hanrahan and Aideen Hanrahan


LinkedIn - Rotan Hanrahan
Image from https://ie.linkedin.com/in/rotanhanrahan

Aideen was my lecturer and Rotan was her partner who between them they lectured and taught me pseudocode as a result students can write code in any language.

“If you can’t code it in pseudocode, doesn’t matter what language you use, you won’t be able to do it.” was the overriding memory I have of Aideen’s lectures.

Rotan at the time wrote a wrapper around the C++ environment in Visual Studio to allow us to learn C programming.  At the time it boggled my mind in admiration consequently I have followed his industrial success through the years.   I continue to be in admiration of his technical capabilities and contributions.

Without their pairing and delivery I would never have learned how to program.  The world has benefited from his contributions, a hero.




Final Thought on Heroes

In this life if someone doesn’t take the time to teach you, you are unlikely to learn as quickly.

Choosing to go into teaching or the health profession is a selfless act as you will influence more people than will influence you.

Being grateful to those who had input on your life only takes a few minutes to say thanks.

I remember every email or comment from a student who’s said thanks and shook my hand.

So to all who’ve given me so much academically, a sincere thank you for your time and your effort.


If you would like to get in touch for any reason I would be delighted to hear from you.




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