Access to Research at National University of Ireland, Galway

    Theatre and Space: Druid's Productions of Tom Murphy's Plays, 1984-1987

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    This study analyses the relationship between the theatre company Druid and Irish playwright Tom Murphy to discern how Druid successfully toured Murphy's plays abroad despite the perception that his work is viewed as popular only in Ireland. This research also considers how the relationship assisted Druid's development as an international touring company. Druid's productions of Tom Murphy's plays between 1984 and 1987 tell us important things about both parties. Therefore, this study allows for a reconsideration of key aspects of the recent history of theatre in Ireland, which have multiple applications, not just in Ireland but elsewhere. To achieve those goals, this study shows how the company and the writer undertook a shared investigation of the spatial relationships manifested both through migration, as represented in Murphy's plays, and mobility, as enacted by Druid's touring productions of Murphy's plays. This suggestion raises the possibility that Druid's original stagings of Tom Murphy's plays, and any subsequent tours of those plays, provide key examples of the interaction of geographic, societal, and theatrical spatial relationships. These interconnections include relationships between the nation and the outside world, between rural and urban spaces within the nation, between onstage and offstage spaces, between the performance space's physical location and its community, and between public relations material (which constructs the play in a particular way to potential audience members) and the audience. By providing textual and production analysis of each of the Murphy plays that Druid produced, this research provides a framework for the analysis of the interrelationship between company, playwright, and audience.2017-02-2

    The Place of Hunting in Rural Ireland

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    Recreational hunting activities occupy an uneasy position in contemporary rural space. Framed by global developments and changes in the sociocultural, political and economic fabric of rural societies, we are also witnessing, however, a growth and interest in non-agricultural activities in the countryside, particularly those associated with recreation and leisure, including that of hunting. Contextualised within this broader discourse, this research seeks to explore how hunting is positioned by those within and outside by drawing on critiques of how nature is socially constructed; work in animal geography, which highlights the changing character of human-animal relationships, and rural studies which illustrate not only how representations of rurality are seen as socio-cultural constructions, but can also be specific to particular social groups and individuals. To unpack this complex and nuanced relationship and explore the place of recreational hunting in rural Ireland, this research utilises a national questionnaire-based survey of hunters and hunting organisers, an examination of rural policy documents, in-depth interviews with rural policy decision-makers, and focus group discussions with farmers. This approach not only registers the relationship between hunting and the rural economy and between hunting and the ecological management of rural space, it also highlights hunting and its portrayal as exclusionary, selective and divisive within Irish rural policy. Overall, this research provides a comprehensive study on the place of hunting in rural Ireland. It offers new understandings into how hunting activities potentially challenge contemporary rural policy objectives and provides complex insights into nature-society-rurality connections, within a broad discourse of rural change and restructuring.2016-03-1

    Group Decision Quality in Agile Software Development: The Impact of Contribution Behaviours

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    The purpose of this research is to develop an understanding of the impact of contribution behaviours on group decision quality in the context of Agile Software Development (ASD) teams. ASD is the most commonly deployed approach in Information Systems Development (ISD), and its adoption continues to rise. Teamwork is an integral part of all ASD methodologies. ASD teams are self-managed; they set and comply their own rules, define their own behaviours and encompass a devolved decision-making structure. They therefore rely heavily on the input of their team members during decision making. There are however, a number of complexities associated with decision making in ASD teams coupled with traditional complexities associated with groupwork and group decision making. Alternative-generation by group members is essential in surfacing necessary information to inform decision making. The extraction of this information is often problematic and in the context of ASD teams can only be achieved when group members engage in contribution behaviours. This research investigates how contribution behaviours impact group decision quality in the context of ASD teams and examines how ASD practices influence this relationship. The study also determines how ASD practices can be leveraged to facilitate contribution behaviours during group decision making. The research first identifies six process indicators for achieving decision quality in groups and is one of the first to collectively assess and examine these in the context of ASD. Hitherto, much research on decision quality has assessed outcome indicators and this study responds to research calls for approaches that assess process indicators; the relevancy of which extends beyond ISD. A qualitative, two-phased research approach was used. The primary research phase adopted a multiple-case study approach that incorporated twenty-six structured interviews with four ASD teams across two organisations. Direct observations of each team's ASD practices were also conducted. In the context of ASD teams, results show a strong presence of five of the six process indicators for achieving decision quality in groups. The study offers novel input into limited, existing research on contribution behaviours and illustrates their imperative role in impacting four decision quality indicators. Ways in which ASD practices can be leveraged to facilitate effective contribution behaviours during group decision making are presented. Ultimately, the study shows that facilitating effective contribution behaviours can positively impact group decision quality and this is a worthwhile avenue for researchers and practitioners

    Expression, purification and characterization of carbohydrate-binding proteins

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    Glycans play important roles in many biological interactions. They are involved in cell-cell interactions, function as a point of entry for viral infections and facilitate the adhesion of microbes in the body. Glycans of interest may be normally present on cell surfaces or may be the result of a change in the normal glycosylation leading to different disease states. As a result these glycans make interesting targets for the development of diagnostic reagents. Antibodies, lectins and enzymes are three types of carbohydrate-binding proteins that recognise these cell surface glycans. We are interested in two different carbohydrate-binding protein systems. Firstly, single chain variable fragment antibodies based on murine monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), C3.1 (IgG3) and B6.1 (IgM), that are both specific for the same [beta]-1-2-mannotriose cell-wall epitope on Candida albicans and secondly an inactive [alpha]-L-fucosidase enzyme for the recognition of terminal fucose residues. We engineered a recombinant single-chain variable fragment (scFv) Ab consisting of the variable heavy and light chains of the parent C3.1 IgG3 mAbs. Using site-directed mutagenesis (SDM) we generated B6.1 subclones that comprise the six unique amino acid point mutations between the two antibodies, the B6.1 scFv and a B6.1 mutant subclone. We report on the expression, purification and kinetic analysis of the C3.1 and B6.1 scFvs to date. An [alpha]-L-fucosidase was engineered based on [alpha]-L-fucosidase from Thermotoga maritima that is the closest bacterial relative of mammalian [alpha]-L-fucosidases and shares 38% identity with human [alpha]-L-fucosidase. The nucleophilic activity of the enzyme was removed by SDM to introduce a point mutation D224N. We are interested in determining the affinity and specificity of the D224N [alpha]-L-fucosidase by glycan array screening and SPR.2016-05-2

    The anomerisation of glycosidic linkages

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    This thesis deals with the anomerisation of glycosidic linkages using TiCl4 and SnCl4. Methods involving the Lewis acid induced anomerisations of glycosides have been published over the past decade, however this methodology has not been widely utilised in carbohydrate chemistry due to low yields, large variations in selectivity, and the need for specific functional groups (e.g., carbamate). It is felt that a better understanding of the anomerisation reaction could be achieved by probing the effects of protecting groups and pushing the reaction to it limits. Chapter 1 deals with the anomerisation of glycosyl azides. Previous work by Murphy et al. has led to reasonable but not high selectivity using SnCl4. Since this work was carried out a seminal publication by Murphy et al. demonstrated the advantages of using TiCl4 in anomerisation reactions. The application of TiCl4 and varying the carboxylic functionality from acid to ester gave the desired high selectivities in good yields. Chapter 2 applies this successful approach to the anomerisation of disaccharide substrates, resulting in regioselective anomerisations and giving the desired alpha-products in high selectivities and yields. Chapter 3 deals with the influence of protecting groups on the rate of the anomerisation reaction. The rate of anomerisation for has been quantified for 34 substrates in an attempt to elucidate the influence of the steric and electronic effects. It was evident from the results obtained that both steric and electronic effects have an influence on the rate of anomerisation.2017-07-0

    Glycobiology of commensal bacteria with emphasis on cell surface adhesins and exopolysaccharides

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    The human gastro-intestinal tract (GIT) is an elaborate ecosystem specific to an individual and his physiological stage that involves inter- and intra-relationships between the bacteria composing the microbiota and between the host and the microbes. The idea of a communication system or a 'crosstalk' between the host and the microbiota has emerged after bacterial-derived molecules, such as polysaccharide A in Bacteroides fragilis, were shown to be essential for the maturation of the host immune system (Mazmanian et al., 2007). Understanding the molecular nature of the interaction between host gut epithelial cells and commensal microbes is essential for promotion of the mutualistic relationship with all its associated benefits for the host and prevention of the deleterious effects of infection by pathogens. Considerable efforts have been directed at the exploration of the lectin - adhesins of pathogenic bacteria and their relevant glycan receptors, with a view to identification of potential candidates for vaccines. To date, very little is known about adhesion mechanisms in gut commensal species. In particular, the lectin-like adhesins and their associated carbohydrate ligands have not been described. Recent technological advances in glycomics (omic databases, synthesis of glyco-conjugates and glycan microarrays) have provided new tools to study lectin/adhesin interactions with glycans. In this thesis, an in silico approach was used to identify surface-exposed proteins and putative adhesins of human commensal species, from the genera, Faecalibacterium, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, that could represent potential probiotic strains. In vitro expression studies supported the in silico work, especially for the Lactobacillus species. Selected strains and their extracted pili were also incubated on mucin and neo-glycoconjugate microarrays and glycan ligands identified in F. prausnitzii, B. bifidum PRL2010 and L. paracasei subsp. paracasei. The potential of these novel approaches for the study of adhesins was thus demonstrated. The beneficial effects attributed to commensals in the GIT are in many cases exerted through exopolysaccharides (EPSs). Bacteria assemble a variety of glycoconjugates and polysaccharides as part of their cell walls. These include anchored molecules such as bacterial peptidoglycan, capsules and EPSs. Several functions, including health benefits for the host, have been attributed to EPSs. However, their isolation and analysis is a lengthy process that requires several analytical steps. The study of mammalian glycosylation has benefited significantly from recent developments in microarray technology, which enables the simultaneous analysis of the interactions between glycans and immobilised carbohydrate-binding proteins, such as plant lectins. Here, lectin microarray technology was successfully used for the first time to profile and differentiate fluorescently-labelled EPSs from commensal strains, as confirmed by monosaccharide analyses. Thus will help to move our understanding of EPS molecules ahead more quickly and promote their exploitation.2019-02-2

    Basic aesthetic features and their influence on attention and performance

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    Within experimental aesthetics it is often claimed that artists can exploit the normal activity of the perceptual system in order to achieve aesthetic effect. This thesis extends such a proposal by providing evidence to suggest that the elementary units of aesthetic experience are intrinsic to the normal functioning of the perceptual system. The practical implication of this proposal is that aesthetic relevance can be studied via its effects on perceptual performance instead of reliance on preference measures which may poorly reflect real-world experience. It also underscores the importance of research in experimental aesthetics as it proposes that we experience the world in a fundamentally qualitative manner. The strategy of the thesis was to select two phenomena with extensive previous research literature and avowed aesthetic relevance, namely visual balance and golden ratio sectioning, and apply visual search paradigms to investigate their effects on performance. Furthermore, and in order to follow up on results from findings relating to visual balance, a study involving domestic chicks (Gallus gallus domesticus) was conducted in order to test the proposal that the observer effects of this phenomenon in the human studies were due to perceptual organisation rather than the specific neural architecture of human observers

    Infilling wetlands with construction and demolition (C&D) waste: Influence on land use, plant/dipteran communities and metal contamination

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    Construction and demolition (C&D) waste, comprised of sand, stone, concrete, bitumen and other wastes from building sites, is one of the largest fractions of waste produced internationally. It frequently ends up being used for land reclamation (infilling) under specially granted permits in wetlands. This happens despite the instrumental value of wetlands to society, both environmentally and financially, in that they provide a plethora of vital ecosystem services including habitat provision, water regulation and filtration. This study which assessed the distribution of C&D waste infill sites at a local scale, found that sites are primarily wetlands located adjacent to urban areas and major road networks. Wetlands in these areas are, therefore, likely to be at a higher risk of loss. Infill sites were also found to be concentrated around designated conservation sites (SACs), a point of concern as these habitats may be sensitive to any contamination and hydrological changes caused by the waste. The study also found that non-compliance with permit conditions is common, with many sites having excessive or contaminated waste; poor or absent perimeter fencing; infilling activities taking place prior to the granting of permits or after permits have expired. Undocumented infilling which was also found to be a major problem had a similar distribution pattern as legal infilling sites. Resources available to local authorities should be increased to allow better policing of proposed and current sites. The ecological impacts of infilling wetlands with C&D waste were also assessed. It was found that plant species composition was different on the waste compared to the wetland, with an increase in common ruderal species and fewer wetland specialist species on the infill. This is most likely as a result of changed soil parameters where the pH increased and both soil moisture and organic content decreased. Dipteran communities were also found to differ, with a decrease in wetland specialist, gall-forming, parasitic and haematophagous groups. Both the abundance and species-richness of Marsh Flies (Sciomyzidae) were lower on the C&D waste infill than the adjacent wetland. In addition, slugs (Deroceras reticulatum) collected on C&D waste had significantly higher concentrations of priority pollutants Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Cobalt, Selenium and Thalium than those from control sites. This suggests that the metal in the C&D waste is in a bioavailable form, increasing the potential risk of such infill sites to adjacent wetland habitats, including those with European designations. Challenges faced through the study are discussed, and recommendations are made both for future research and policy makers.2019-01-2

    Nineteenth-century Irish fiction: Irish identity, O'Connell and the transnational

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    This project contributes an analysis of the representation of Irish identity in the novel post-Catholic Emancipation (1829) to the turn of the twentieth century. The thesis focuses on the works of Gerald Griffin, William Carleton, and George Moore. The construction of Irish identity by the authors and O'Connell is focused on the use of transnationalist elements. The main theme is the transnational and anti-transnational response in fiction to the construction of Irish identity in politics, literature, and culture particularly the image propagated by Daniel O'Connell's political narratives. Additionally, a chief interest of Irish fiction post-Catholic Emancipation was a satirical treatment of the political culture. The spectre of Daniel O'Connell features heavily in the satire. In turn, both the authors and O'Connell are portrayed in a nationalist vein in the Freeman's Journal. The narratives of O'Connell's politics have a role in the political manufacturing of these authors' images in newspapers. The transnational identity of the O'Connell and Moore family provides a context for the transnationalist narratives created by the authors and politicians. The response of Moore to his father's politics and the narratives of Catholicism in Irish culture showcase Moore's knowledge of the European novel. The reconfiguration of Irish tenant and landlord character moulds throughout the work of Griffin, Carleton, and Moore's fiction is framed within the evolution of Irish satire in the nineteenth century. Newspapers are used to trace the available narratives of political and transnational clout which are present in Irish satire. Pointedly, political satire whether in literary or political narratives, offer a transnational dimension to Irish identity. Consequently, the far-reaching transnational legacy of Daniel O'Connell, as his narratives of Irish identity reverberated throughout the nineteenth century, modifies in representation in fiction, newspapers, and criticism as the requirements of Irish identity changed. Furthermore, the focus of this thesis is to branch out from the hereto defined historical narratives of the Catholic and Anglo-Irish novel. This is achieved through detailing the nuanced transnational characters that the authors used to construct Irish identity beyond the confines of a relation to the British Empire.2019-05-2

    An autoignition study of hydrogen and natural gas mixtures under gas turbine relevant conditions in a rapid compression machine

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    This study presents an experimental and modelling investigation of the ignition of hydrogen and natural gas mixtures. These mixtures were chosen due to their relevancy to the gas turbine industry. A detailed chemical kinetic mechanism for hydrogen and H2 / CO (syngas) mixtures has been updated during this study. Experimental results for ignitiondelay times and flame speeds have been compared with predictions using our newly revised chemical kinetic mechanism, and good agreement was observed. This work also used the mechanism produced during the course of this study to investigate numerically the effect of the variationin the syngas composition on some fundamental combustion properties of premixed systems at realistic engine operating conditions. Several pressures, temperatures, and equivalence ratios were investigated. Results of this study showed that the addition of hydrocarbons generally reduces the reactivity of the mixture (longer ignition delay time, slower flame speed) due to chemical kinetic effects. The amplitude of this effect is however dependent on the nature and concentration of the hydrocarbon as well as the initial condition (pressure, temperature, and equivalence ratio). Natural gas/hydrogen mixtures were also investigated as an update to a previous natural gas study. Experiments were performed at 1, 10, and 30 atm in the temperature range 850 - 1800 K, at equivalence ratios of 0.3, 0.5, and 1.0 and with dilutions ranging from 7290 %. All experiments were simulated using a detailed chemical kinetic model. Overall good agreement is observed between the simulations and the experimental results. The influence of steam dilution on the autoignition behaviour of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, syngas and natural gas mixtures under gas turbine relevant conditions was also investigated. Experiments were performed for fuel/air mixtures at equivalence ratios of 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0, in the temperature range 895 - 1140 K for the H2 and CO mixtures and 730 - 1060 K for the natural gas mixtures and at pressures of 10 and 30 bar. It was found that significant changes in the thermal properties of the mixtures affect the reactivity, whereas no chemical effect of the steam addition was observed for the majority of the mixtures investigated.2018-02-2
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