Maths Week Ireland 2021 set to attract more than 250,000 young people

Minister for Education commends event for enhancing understanding of maths in society

Maths Week Ireland (MWI), which takes place from October 16th-24th, has announced a wide range of events for young and old throughout the island of Ireland.

Because of ongoing Covid precautions, a lot of the 2021 programme will be staged online but already 250,000 school pupils are signed up to take part.

MWI is again showcasing the benefits of mathematical thinking and the opportunities this creates for students, society and the economy, according to the organisers Calmast, Waterford Institute of Technology’s STEM outreach centre.

Whether you like maths, patterns and numbers, or even if you don't, there's something of interest for all, said MWI co-ordinator Eoin Gill.


"Pupils and teachers will be doing special fun and challenging maths activities in schools the length and breadth of the island. An inclusive event, cross-Border participation is an important part of Maths Week . . . Now in its 16th year, it continues to be the leading festival of maths in the world and has been replicated in England and Scotland, " he added.

The Hamilton Walk returns as an outdoor socially distanced event. The walk from Dunsink Observatory to Broombridge along the Royal Canal in Dublin celebrates a famous mathematical discovery by Sir William Rowan Hamilton in 1843. It takes place on Saturday, October 16th, and is organised by Maynooth University and Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies.

Action-packed programme

“Maths will always be a part of our lives and Maths Week 2021 is a celebration of this. We’re really excited to deliver another action-packed programme full of events where participants can enhance their skills and interest in maths,” Mr Gill said.

This year will see the return of MathsWeekTV, which will broadcast live two daily shows online for primary and secondary school pupils. The line-up includes Dr Tom Crawford, mathematician and creator of the award-winning website TomRocksMaths; Kjartan Poskitt, who has sold over five million Murderous Maths books; broadcaster Bobby Seagull; and children's author and maths teacher Sally Lunt.

As usual, WMI acknowledges “maths is not just for school, it is for life and there are evening events for adults and weekend events for families”. Notable events include:

- Workshops where schools across the island will have the chance to join in online learning about the magic of maths;

- Daily maths challenges taking place in schools;

- “Loving maths” events for pre-schoolers aged three to six; and

- Family scavenger hunts with a maths theme.

The Maths Week Award 2021 will be also announced in recognition of a person’s contribution to raising public awareness of maths.

Decisions and creativity

Minister for Education Norma Foley launched Maths Week 2021 by underlining "maths not only helps individuals develop skills including critical thinking and problem-solving, but also helps us makes decisions in our day-to-day life and encourages creativity".

“Ensuring children are gaining mathematical skills from a young age is intrinsic to their personal growth and will serve them throughout life. Maths Week supports understanding of maths and numeracy in society through its many activities and is promoting a positive attitude towards the subject,” Ms Foley said.

Dr Ruth Freeman, director of science for society with Science Foundation Ireland, said the week increases public interest in the subject and explores its positive effects in our world, as well as furthering our understanding of all walks of life through maths. "Maths is essential to many jobs, the functioning of our society and the success of our economy, and I encourage everyone to get involved in the activities taking place across the island," she added.

MWI is funded through the SFI's Ireland Discover Programme; the Department of Education and Skills; Matrix – the Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel, ESB and Xilinx. It is run with more than 50 partner organisations including the universities, institutes of technology, libraries, schools, training colleges and employers.

Programme details are at

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times