Student Stories

Heritage Studies - Brendan McGowan

My name is Brendan McGowan & I am Acting Museum Director/Education & Outreach Officer at Galway City Museum. I graduated from GMIT in 2002 with a BA in Heritage Studies, after which I undertook an MA (by research) in Heritage Studies. The BA gave me a broad yet strong foundation in Irish heritage, with modules on history, archaeology, folklore, literature, landscape & genealogy. The course was varied & interesting. Importantly, it was practical, with a lot of project work & off-site learning. The MA allowed me to further develop & hone my research & writing skills. I feel lucky to have done a course that I enjoyed throughout & which allowed me to develop a career doing what I love. After graduating, I worked with the Education & Outreach Department of the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Co. Mayo, before moving to Galway City Museum in 2008. In 2012, I completed an MA in Museum Practice & Management through the University of Ulster. To date, I have published four books, namely Róisín Bán: The Irish Diaspora in Leeds (co-authored, 2006), Taking the Boat: The Irish in Leeds (2009), Eyre Square 300: Aspects of its History (2012) & Galway City Through Time (2013). I have also co-curated an exhibition – Streets of London – with Dr. Anne O’Dowd, National Museum of Ireland. Additionally, I have researched & developed the Barack Obama exhibition – From Moneygall to the White House – in Co. Offaly. In my spare time, I have worked as a freelance copywriter for tourist guides, including one on the Boyne Valley for Fáilte Ireland. I have also worked as a project co-ordinator for an online project & archive, Untold Stories: The Leeds Irish Community.