The late Dr. Lawrence Smyth
It was with great sadness that the Association learned of the passing of one of its founders and stalwarts earlier this month.
Dr. Lawrence Smyth was best known in engineering technology circles for co-writing the engineering textbooks used throughout Junior and Senior cycles.
As an Engineering teacher in Pobalscoil Chloich Cheannfhaola, Falcarragh Dr Lawrence’s interests and influences ran deep. Within the school he was an exemplary teacher, instilling a curiosity and interest in his subject area and in learning generally.
He was most affirming in his evaluation of student endeavour and strived to instil his pupils with confidence, and an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit which led many of his past-pupils to rewarding careers in the field of Science and Engineering.
As Assistant Principal (and Yearhead) at Pobalscoil Chloich Cheannfhaola, Falcarragh extended this ethos to his year-group and indeed the whole school cohort, at every opportunity.
Amongst his many achievements he succeeded in guiding one of his students to win the overall Runner-Up (2nd Place) at the Young Scientist Competition in the mid-seventies. His entries were the first from the 'Technical-Subjects' disciplines to be presented at the competition and helped to promote Engineering as a subject nationally.
He was known far and wide for the creation of the schools’ DIY Hovercraft and such endeavours resulted in him being awarded the “Donegal Person of the Year” award in 1979.
Dr. Smyth worked at the highest levels with the Examination's branch of DES, and later the SEC, on the preparation, marking and monitoring of State Examinations in his subject areas.
Lawrence completed his Masters and Doctoral studies at Ulster University, scheduled around a full teaching timetable. Lawrence was conferred with Doctorate in Physics on the back of his thesis on 'Heat Transfer ' and initiated several projects / businesses in the area of power-generation and insulation which were well ahead of their time in terms of environmental and conservational sensitivity.
Dr. Smyth was a founder member of the Engineering Technology Teachers Association (ETTA) and chaired the NCCA course committees for Junior Metalwork and Leaving Cert Engineering.
He collaborated with the late Professor Liam Henessey on many projects at University College Limerick, including the publication of the iconic Leaving Cert textbook, Engineering Technology.
Lawrence was an accomplished sportsperson; played hurling, handball, badminton, table tennis and of course in his post-retirement years took-up horse riding, winning awards at numerous showjumping events both locally and nationally.
Many of his past-pupils followed his footsteps into a career as Engineering teachers, and many of these progressed to senior management positions in post-primary and third-level colleges at home and abroad, a development that particularly pleased Dr. Smyth who followed such achievements with interest and a suitable degree of pride.
On the 12th of June, Larry passed away peacefully at his home in Falcarragh, Co. Donegal. He will be sadly missed by his wife Rosaleen, his family Greg, Chris and Patricia; his brother Con and sister Mary. Larry will be missed by all his family, neighbours, teaching colleagues, IARC members and many friends throughout the country.
Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam.