The journey from Mayo to Waterford to study for an academic year paid off for Peter McMurray when he won a scholarship to study in Italy this summer. Earlier this year Peter, a student on the one-year BSc in Applied Conservation Skills at Waterford Institute of Technology’s Department of Architecure was awarded the Madelaine Gervais Scholarship Award.
The scholarship, generously provided by Ms Gervais enabled Peter to travel to Italy in June 2016 to participate in the four-week San Gemini Preservation Studies Touching the Stones summer programme in the medieval hill-top town of San Gemini, Umbria, Italy.
Peter, who was working as a thatcher, says he was keen to study the BSc in Applied Conservation Skills in Waterford Institute of Technology’s Department of Architecture as “It is the only course of its kind in Ireland”.
Peter, who lives in Partry, Co Mayo wanted to improve his all-round knowledge of conservation and to find new avenues within it. He was 47 when he embarked on the course, and while he initially had worries about the distance from Mayo to Waterford and his ability to study, he says “I bit the bullet and went for it.”
“The Madelaine Gervais Scholarship Award was for a programme based in Italy. It was an added bonus and one I will not forget. I would like to thank Madelaine Gervais for her generosity and interest.
“I got the opportunity to learn about the restoration of traditional masonry buildings in Italy and how to identify and analyse historic buildings and their settings.”
Looking back on his year of study at the other end of the country, he said his wife Claire and daughter Jessica were very supportive. His advice for potential mature students who may be indecisive is: “the academic year is short. If you have the time do it.”