Monday memorial service planned for missing Trinity Professor

Seamus Lawless died while climbing Mount Everest for charity

A memorial service for Trinity Professor Seamus Lawless, who died while climbing Mount Everest, will be held on Monday in his hometown.

Lawless, an Assistant Professor at the School of Computer Science and Statistics, went missing last Friday after falling from an altitude of 8,300 metres at a balcony area near the summit of Mount Everest. He had reached the summit earlier that morning.

His family decided to call off the search for his body yesterday due to treacherous conditions. The “high altitude and the sheer range of the search area ultimately proved too difficult,” the family said in a statement.

A memorial service celebrating Lawless’ life will be held in the Holy Redeemer Church in Bray, Co Wicklow on Monday at 11am.

In an official statement, Trinity offered its condolences to Lawless’ family, stating: “The tragic death of our friend and colleague, Séamus (Shay) Lawless, has come as a huge shock to all of us. On behalf of everyone at Trinity College Dublin and the research centre, ADAPT, we want to offer our condolences to his wife, Pam, and their daughter, Emma, and to his large family, all his friends, students and colleagues.”

College held a candlelit vigil for the professor last Saturday. Trinity Press Officer Caoimhe Ní Lochlainn said in a statement: “Together as a community who knows Shay for his spirit and kindness, his strength and his resilience, and above all for his dreams and visions, we want to light a candle together to not lose sight of the light itself and to carry our hopes and thoughts as far as only light can carry them.”

Lawless had set out on the expedition in a bid to raise funds for Barretstown Children’s Charity, which supports seriously ill children and their families. His family have requested that donations in memory of Lawless be made to the charity.

Lawless was one of an eight-member team participating in this year’s Irish Everest Expedition led by the professional Irish climber Noel Richard Hanna. The assistant professor had previously scaled two peaks in preparation for the Everest ascent.

A GoFundMe page was set up by Lawless’s family as the insurance company that had provided a policy for Lawless were not providing assistance with the search and rescue.

Lawless was the Director of the Knowledge and Data Engineering Group and Associate Director of the ADAPT centre, with responsibility for research funding. According to his profile on a Trinity website, Lawless’ primary research was in the area of personalised information retrieval, which involved work in the areas of natural language processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, user modelling, recommender systems and digital humanities.

He authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, coordinated and delivered 13 research projects, and supervised ten PhD students and dozens of masters students.

Aisling Grace

Aisling Grace is the Editor-in-Chief of the 66th Volume of Trinity News. She was formerly Online Editor and Deputy News Editor, as well as an English Literature and History of Art and Architecture student.