Alumni Spotlight

Gareth Hanrahan - Author and Game Designer

1 Apr 2019
Gareth Hanrahan, BSc Comp. Sci. 2000

Gareth Hanrahan is a Cork-based writer and game designer. His first novel, The Gutter Prayer, has recently been published by Orbit Books. Described as “a fantasy thriller set in a world of strange monsters, dark gods and dangerous magic”, it is the first in a series called The Black Iron Legacy. Fans of the genre have heaped praise on the book with The Guardian calling it "a wonderfully bizarre vision that reads like a collaboration between Hunter S. Thompson and H.P. Lovecraft." Gareth takes some time out to speak to us about his college days.

When GARETH HANRAHAN attended his first gaming conference at UCC in the mid-90s it felt like the stairs in the Kane Building led to an “exciting and otherworldly” place.

“The first Warpcon I attended was Warpcon 4 in 1994, which was held in the old Kampus Kitchen. Later, when I was actually in college, I spent a lot of time in the CSNOVELL labs which were also in the basement”

Not surprising then, that a seemingly mundane set of steps evokes such precious memories for Gareth. After four years studying Computer Science he briefly worked as a programmer. However, his passion for writing soon bubbled to the surface, and what began as a hobby burgeoned into an unexpected career. The competencies he acquired while studying Computer Science were to prove useful for a budding writer.

“The degree did teach me to think in an orderly fashion; writing’s just programming for the human brain”.

The discipline he developed while at university was not lost on Gareth. While urging students to “be open to new experiences” he also emphasises the importance of attending lectures.

“No matter what you do, the ability to drag yourself out of bed in the morning and concentrate will stand you in good stead”

He describes his student days as “a wonderfully busy time - so much to explore, so much to live”. He enjoyed the fact that the university brought together a disparate group of people with diverse interests and he relished the opportunities that this presented.

“College is about making connections, ideally unexpected ones – between people, between concepts, between fields of learning”.

When asked which person in UCC had the most influence on him, he is refreshingly candid.

“If I’m being honest – to my dying day, I shall be grateful to Martin Clancy of the New Bar, who heroically prevented a serious international incident”.

The ‘international incident’ in question was an unannounced visit by the British Ambassador which coincided with a charity game of ‘Assassin’ that Gareth organised on campus. Awkwardly, one of the teams arrived in costume complete with balaclavas and replica rifles. However, thanks to Martin Clancy’s tip-off a potentially embarrassing encounter was averted!

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