Niall McLoughlin

Director of Development, Irish Youth Foundation
BA Geography & Sociology 1995

This summer three friends and I made our first trip back to Maynooth together since our time there in the early 1990s.  I’m very happy to report that as a bunch of friends, we are as close now as we were back then - friendships forged in Maynooth, in my experience are forged deep.  

So what had changed? Surprisingly the train from Dublin didn’t rattle, screech or let the rain in, and was quite a pleasant experience.

The memories and stories of all-nighters (both parties and cramming), food rations and marathon games of Risk came flooding back and took us all the way back to the College.    
The new campus has developed almost beyond recognition, with shining new buildings in every direction. The library is twice the size that it was, and overall the place looks pretty fantastic. The road which runs through town and under the footbridge is of course no longer the main artery between east and west so there is a weird and welcome lack of traffic around the place.
What hasn’t changed of course is the magnificent old campus, the chapel, the Aula Maxima and the beautiful squares. More memories, this time of Frank McGuinness and Peer Gynt, geography practicals and a rugby match that was blown up 10 minutes before time by the (home) ref when Maynooth took a surprise lead. We finished up in the Roost and as we were leaving to get the train home bumped into the great Professor John Sweeney and who kindly took a photo of us.  

As Director of Development now with the Irish Youth Foundation, my role aims to make a positive difference to the lives of the many vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people in Ireland.   Looking back, I was fortunate to share my time in Maynooth with some wonderful people, and to have learnt from some great (and patient) teachers. Their influence of course lives on in us and this is particularly true for me personally when I think of Fr Michael McGreal and his passion for social justice.  That has never left me and it continues to be a driving force in what I do professionally every day.