Paul Donnelly 0

NUI Maynooth needs a new Aula Maxima

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The Aula Maxima (meaning Great Hall) in NUI Maynooth was built in 1893. It serves as the main theatre for the university and surrounding area, occasionally as a lecture or examination hall and also serves as the conferring hall of the university.

This is the perception of the Aula Maxima at present, but the reality is quite different. For years, students, staff and local groups alike have made the best they can of the old hall due to the limitations around Maynooth. In recent history - particularly with the demolition of Maynooth's Parish Hall (formerly located in the Boys' National School) - the Aula Maxima has become the only purpose-built location capable of hosting medium to large scale performances, concerts, recitals, and various other cultural events. On a university-wide level, lectures, exams and conferring ceremonies continue to be held in the Aula Maxima. If we are honest, the Aula Maxima is not chosen for these events because it is the ideal host; it is purely because there is no real alternative elsewhere in Maynooth.

  1. Firstly, this petition requests that the University's Governing Authority should prioritise a new hall in the next stage of Campus Development; not simply a replacement hall, but a venue that can serve the multitude of functions that contemporary university life demands. In many ways, such a facility seems ideal for inclusion in the "NUIM Plaza" proposed in the Campus Masterplan : it can be a public space, an assembly space, a cultural centre and point of celebration for the university's achievement.
  2. Secondly, this petition requests that the University's Governing Authority consider the facilities that are and will be available in the interim period until such a new building is completed. If these facilities are found to be lacking, this petition expects that those groups dependent on the Aula Maxima will be provided for to the standard becoming of a university.
  3.  Thirdly, and finally, this petition requests that the University takes a greater responsibility for its role as a centre for culture; on behalf of its students, staff and the wider Maynooth community. NUI Maynooth excels in the Arts and Humanities, which makes it more the pity that - apparently - culture is not a significant aspect of the University's structure.

If you agree with these requests, please support by adding your name to the petition.


Paul Donnelly


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