SFI-Discover logo.jpg

Our 2014 activities are partially supported by the Science  Foundation Ireland through the SFI Discover programme.

OpenDay2013.jpgMaths Circles Open Day at Lifetime Lab

pv 200614 maths 3.jpgSummer 2014 in Western Gateway Building, UCC


The Irish Team at the International Mathematical Olympiad 2013 in Santa Marta, Columbia


The Irish Team at the European Girls Mathematical Olympiad 2013 in Luxembourg (together with their leader and deputy leader)


The Irish Team at the International Mathematical Olympiad 2012 in Mar del Plata, Argentina (together with their guide)




UCC Mathematics Enrichment Programme




Math Notes






Maths circles


    MathS links 






     The Mathematics Enrichment Saturday sessions are held in the Western Gateway Building, – building no 81 on this campus map. Here’s another map.

     The starting date for the Junior, TY and returning groups is 18th October 2014. The 1st year maths circles are run in schools and have various starting dates.

     Here are the schedules for all groups.

      2014-2015 activities at a glance


Follow-up for 5th-6th years

TY Maths Enrichment

Junior Maths Enrichment

 Maths Circles for 1st year students

Who:  Most of the participants have attended the UCC Maths Enrichment Classes in the previous year, but all students are welcome. The main condition for attending these sessions is willingness to do the homework! MC900433817[1]

Who:  Most participants are TY students who performed very well in the Junior Cert and/or in Round 1 of the Irish Mathematical Olympiad. 5th  year students and exceptional 3rd year students are welcome too. Participants receive invitations through their schools. Other places available upon request.

Who:  Most participants are students in their 2nd or 3rd Junior Cycle year who have attended a Maths Circle in their local school, or who have shown special interest and aptitude for Mathematics.

Who: Junior Cycle students in their first years of study, who are curious about mathematics and like maths games and puzzles. Some schools select participants based on their in-class results.

New: Primary school Maths Circles

by Carolann O’Driscoll and Eoin O’Mahony, sponsored by Claran.

Using Math.EU resources.

Where: Western Gateway Building

  See schedule for room numbers.       

Where: Western Gateway Building

See schedule below for room numbers.

Where: Western Gateway Building

  See schedule for room numbers.

Where: Schools in the Cork area. If your school does not have a maths circle, ask your teacher to seek our help with setting up and running one.


Saturday Schedule

 with class-notes.


Wednesday SCHEDULE

Schedules with links to class notes

1st year maths circles Handbook

When: Saturdays 10:00-13:00

          Starting September 14

Please check the schedule for exact dates


When: Saturdays 10:00-13:00

          December 7st – December 14th,

          January 11 – April


Sat 10:00-11:30 or Wed19:00-20:30

No classes during school breaks.

When: Throughout the school year.

Why: Now the topics you met last year start to feel more familiar, the ideas sink in, and you find yourself a better problem solver. At least that’s what most follow-up participants report. Smaller group, more one-to-one interaction.

You get a chance to participate in events like Mathematical Olympiads

Why: You encounter deeper, more challenging and more interesting mathematical problems than those on the school syllabus.

 You get a chance to participate in the

Mathematical Olympiads

UCC news, August 20th

UCC news, August 21st

Leaving Cert results

Why: To continue on with the fun of Maths Circles.

To meet like-minded people from other schools around the Cork area. 

To participate in contests like Alcumus challenges, or the Purple Comet   

Why: Testimonials

Maths Circles in the news.

More info on the Maths Circles website.



    Mathematical Olympiads


What are Mathematical Olympiads? Contests for secondary school students, they are designed to test and stimulate the creativity, intuition and mathematical skills of the participants. They provide a competitive but friendly environment for students with an interest in mathematics. There are local, national and international mathematical Olympiads. The International Mathematical Olympiad is the pinnacle of mathematical competitions among school students.

How can I prepare?

Here are some of the many fun competitions at local and national level which you can try prior to participating in a Mathematical Olympiad.




Achievement Awards

All year

Primary, junior and senior secondary school

Irish Maths Teachers Association competitions

Contact IMTA at info@corkmaths.ie

Junior and senior secondary school

Kangourou sans Frontières competition


Primary, junior and senior secondary school

Mathletes challenge

February to May

Primary, junior and senior secondary school

Prism competition


Junior and senior secondary school

Purple Comet international online team competition


Junior and senior secondary school

Most of these train your reasoning skills, speed and precision. In addition, Mathematical Olympiads typically require more advanced knowledge outside of school curriculum, along with perseverance and creativity. To practice this skillset, join one of our Mathematics Enrichment classes. Please check the schedules above.

Prior to the Irish Mathematical Olympiad in May, please review the lecture notes and exercise sets from our classes: click on the titles in the schedule page. As well, do check the resources offered by other centres in Ireland: the UCD Maths Enrichment as well as the Maynooth Olympiad manual. You can find more notes and practice with old Olympiad problems in the Maths Notes section of this website.

In addition, the following external links provide useful resources for national and international Olympiads:

Mathematical Database – the Elementary Mathematics section.  Olympiad Number Theory notes.  Olympiad Inequalities notes.  Yufei Zhaos Olympiad training notes.

Visit this Art of Problem Solving resource page for a large sample of international olympiads.

Where can I get more information? Visit the official homepage of the Irish Mathematical Olympiad.

The European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO) is an international mathematics competition similar in style to the International Mathematical Olympiad, aimed at motivating girls to develop their mathematical talents.Participating countries send teams consisting of four female mathematicians of school age.

The third EGMO took place Antalya on April 10-16, 2014. The Irish team was made of Karen Briscoe from Kinsale Community School, Ioana Teodora Grigoras from Mount Mercy Secondary School and Anna Mustata from Bishopstown Community School.

The second EGMO took place Luxemburg in April 2013. Karen Briscoe from Kinsale Community School and Anna Mustata from Bishopstown Community School were awarded Honourable Mentions. Here is An Irish team member report by Jessica Weitbrecht and some photos.

Congratulations to Declan Manning from Ballincollig Community School for his Honourable Mention at the International Mathematical Olympiad 2013 in Colombia!

The IMO2012 was held in Argentina. Congratulations to Jonathan Peters from Presentation Brothers College for his Honourable Mention! Jonathan talks of Argentina 2012

The Final Round of the 27th Irish Mathematical Olympiad took place on Saturday, 10 May 2014. Here is the Roll of Honour.

The Final Round of the 26th IrMO took place on Saturday, 11 May 2013. Here is the Roll of Honour

Short history:   Mathematics Enrichment Classes at University College Cork

     The programme was started in 1987 by Prof. Finbarr Holland and Donal Hurley, with the support of members of the Mathematics Department at UCC. These classes meet for three hours on Saturday mornings and around 100 students attend them. Students are invited to attend the classes based on their performance at the Junior Certificate Mathematics Examination and teacher recommendations. Invitations to attend these classes are highly valued. The topics covered are generally distinct from the Leaving Certificate Mathematics syllabus and the emphasis is on solving mathematical problems which require ingenuity and mathematical techniques.Programmes involving Mathematics Enrichment Classes are to be found in many countries. They are generally very extensive, meet more regularly and involve a large proportion of students. Generous sponsorship is readily available for such programmes as many of the leading scientists and engineers in these countries would have some of their early training at these activities.  


   Mathematics notes         

Irish Mathematical Olympiad
    2003  Paper 1    /   Paper 2
    2004  Paper 1    /   Paper 2
    2005  Paper 1    /   Paper 2
    2006  Paper 1    /   Paper 2
    2007  Paper 1    /   Paper 2
    2008  Paper 1    /   Paper 2
    2009  Paper 1    /   Paper 2
    2010  Paper 1    /   Paper 2

    2011  Paper 1    /   Paper 2

    2012  Paper 1    /   Paper 2

    2013  Paper 1    /   Paper 2

    2014  Paper 1    /   Paper 2


EGMO selection tests:

 2012 UCD Selection Test

 2013 UCD Selection Test

 2014 Local and final test and UCD test.


course notes, exercises and problem solving tips.

IMO geometry problems 1 and 4

IMO geometry problems 2 and 5


Geometry notes on symmetry by Andrei Mustata

Geometry notes by Sabin Tabirca: 
          1. Medial triangle
          2. Equilateral Triangles
          3. Inversion and Applications to Ptolemy and Euler
          4. Feuerbach's Theorem
          5. Orthic triangle
          6. Theorems of Ceva, Menelaus and Van Aubel
          7. Lemoine Point
          8. Lemoine Point and Circles

Geometry project1 and project2 by Prof Paddy Barry.        

  Notes on general problem solving: 


  Peng Shi’s notes on all problem solving.

  The IMO compendium Group notes.

  Alcumus videos.


  Notes on Combinatorics:

  1. Course notes by Martin Stynes.

Basic Olympiad preparations: Chapters 1 and 6, begin 2 and 3.

  2. Repetitions and conditions.

  3. Binomial coefficients notes from UCD


  Notes on number theory:

 1. Modular arithmetic by Anca Mustata:




                     Notes on inequalities

                by Professor Finbarr  Holland:


 0. Beginning inequalities

 1. Trigonometrical identities and inequalities
 2. Complex numbers and polynomials
 3. Geometric and algebraic inequalities

 4. More inequalities -Variation on a common theme
 5. Solutions 1
 6. Solutions  2

                by Anca Mustata:


 1. Inequalities and Graphs



Maths Circles also have their own new webpage.    Please make sure to check out the 1st year Maths Circles lesson plan Handbook written by Ciaran O’Conaill.

Sample Maths Circle activities: 

Getting Started

Matchstick puzzles:

Pdf     Rtf

Intro to probabilities and combinatorics.                 Pdf     

Logic puzzles, sequential thinking and graphs:   Pdf

Magic circles and sets    Pdf     

Triangular puzzle                  Pdf 

Slicing and guessing- powers of 2   Pdf    

Jumping lizard permutations                         Pdf 

Magic products Pdf  

Symmetry puzzles          Pdf          

Subtraction game   Pdf    

Chess board puzzles Pdf


Angles in triangle

Squares of sums

Multivariable action game

Binary numbers Pdf    


Triangular numbers      Pdf                    

Areas  Pdf

More challenging

Mastermind worksheet

Adding squares, cubes, etc.

Geometry without  compass or right angles




  A good source of nice puzzles, sorted by class: the  Kangaroo contest.              Problems with solutions: the Virtual Maths Club.                    A rich source of Maths puzzles and games, sorted by topic: Cut-the-knot.  

  A directory of e-books on maths games


Maths Circles on the Web: 

MSRI: How to start a math circle

AIM: Math teachers circle network             

The USA National Association of Math Circles             

A nice link  About math circles

 Some sites of maths circles containing problem sets, lesson Lesson plans or other useful information:  Toronto,  Stanford,  Berkeley.


Very rough sketch for lesson plan





Mathematics links

International Mathematical Olympiad   official site
International Mathematical Olympiad  Canadian site
Irish Mathematical Olympiad  

The Art of Problem Solving, including free interactive on-line learning
PRISM - Problem Solving for Irish Second Level.
Hamilton Mathematics Grand Challenge  - online mathematics contest, aimed at secondary school students of all ages.
The British Mathematical Olympiad 
The American Mathematics Competitions
The Canadian Mathematical Society competitions site

Millennium Mathematics Project  based at the University of Cambridge
              -   NRICH, on-line mathematics magazine 
              -   PLUS, on-line magazine featuring applications of mathematics to the sciences, arts, commerce and society
              -   MOTIVATE videoconferencing project for schools

David Joyce’s online version of Euclid’s Elements.

GeoGebra dynamic mathematics software for schools.
A. Bogomolny, Interactive Mathematics Activities from Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles





Contact information

Email:  a.mustata@ucc.ie
Mathematics Enrichment Classes organizers:

Current:       Anca Mustata                              tel (021)  420 5852
Previous:      Dr. Donal Hurley                        
                     Professor Finbarr  Holland