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School Joy for Carrigaline

July 25, 2012

A new 500-pupil secondary school is to be built in Carrigaline.

The Department of Education is set to confirm funding for the new gaelcholáiste under the patronage of the County Cork VEC. The new school has been planned for a number of years and a large site has already been purchased at Ballinrea to the north of the town. The county council subsequently rezoned the land from agricultural to education use.

Labour TD Ciarán Lynch said a specific timeline for the school’s construction has not been given but said he expected work to start before the end of the year and the school to start accepting pupils from September 2014.Approval of funding by the Department of Education reflects the rapid population growth in Carrigaline over the past decade.

Carrigaline Secondary School is the only post primary school in the suburban town and has more almost 1,000 pupils enrolled there.“This is very welcome news that funding has now been approved by the Department of Education. The County Cork VEC have been seeking this for many years,” Deputy Lynch said.“This is a response to the rapid growth in the area and the number of school projects both at primary and post primary levels that will be carried out in Carrigaline in the coming years reflects this increase in population,” he said.

The Carrigaline Gaelcholáiste will join numerous other all-Irish secondary schools in areas such as Glanmire, Ballingeary, Ballymakeera and Cork city. All-Irish units are also attached to secondary schools in Ballincollig, Clonakilty and Youghal.

€2,000 Scholarships available for students

July 24, 2012

Fiontar have announced that five scholarships to the value of €2,000 will be made available to students undertaking the MSc in Business and Information Technology  in the coming year.

The MSc is a part-time course aimed at graduates who intend to pursue a career in managerial and development roles within the private and public sectors.

Students are prepared for careers within the private and public sectors through the provision of the most up to date expert skills in business and technology.

The MSc is a taught programme, completed over two years by attending weekend classes on the DCU campus in North Dublin.

5 scholarships with a value of €2,000 will be awarded to the 5 best students of the MSc programme at the end of the first year. The selected students will cover the costs of the first year, however, as the MSc is officially recognised by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) under the Required Skills programme, a total cost of €2,750 applies to the course.

The MSc in Business and Information Technology is taught through the medium of Irish and fluency in both written and spoken Irish is a requirement for this course.

Further information: Sally Mhic Dhomhnaill 01 700 5614

www.dcu.ie/fiontar, fiontar@dcu.ie

Tús curtha le cainteanna maidir le Samhail #2

July 24, 2012

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Countdown begins to Belfast’s Féile an Droichid Festival

July 24, 2012

For the fourth year in a row, Féile an Droichid is set to run from 23-26 August in Belfast with a jam-packed schedule of events prepared to suit every age group.

The festival will kick off on 23 August at 8 pm at ‘The Mac’ with a special concert featuring famous sean-nós singer, Iarla Ó Lionáird from Cúil Áodha, West Cork and traditional guitar hero, Steve Cooney from Melbourne Australia.

Over to ‘The Droichead’ at 7.45 pm on Friday 24 August, where a well-known pairing of musicians, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Breandán Ó Beaglaoich will be conjuring up a whirlwind of accordion and fiddle music. Caoimhín is no stranger to the festival as himself and Iarla Ó Lionáird made an appearance with the contemporary music group ‘The Glaoming’ for the main event last year.

On Saturday, 25th August at the same time and place, a fusion of bouzouki, concertina, uilleann pipes and keyboard will be performed by Dónal Lunny Pádraig Rynne, John McSherry and Graham Henderson. This is the first time for this group to play together although all performers are well known as solo musicians.

Among the other events taking place at the weekend will be a screening of two hugely influential Irish language films ‘Mise Éire’ and ‘Poitín’ at the QFT (Queens Film Theatre), an exhibition of records at Ulster Hall, intensive Irish / Scottish Gaelic courses, concertina and bouzouki workshops with Pádraig Rynne and Dónal Lunny, flute and fife classes and well as plenty of informal sessions throughout the festival.

A Graffiti Session and Movement Class for children will also run as part of the festival. Full details for all events will be available on www.androichead.com.


Area faces € 1m loss as college pulls plug

July 23, 2012

WHEN a third- level college pulled the plug on its association with a Gaeltacht area, the local community looked to re- invent itself.

The Iveragh Gaeltacht in south Kerry is smaller and lesser known than the more established Gaeltacht of the Dingle Peninsula – with which it competes for students. It decided to focus this summer on courses that target families – but that didn’t work either.

Situated about 10km south of Cahersiveen, near Ballinskelligs, the Iveragh Gaeltacht is spread across three parishes with a population of around 2,000. When the teacher- training e- learning college Hibernia College announced earlier this year that it would no longer be sending students, locals were faced with an estimated € 1m loss to the local economy.

“We decided we’d offer holiday packages to families where they could come and stay in rented cottages and attend Irish classes,” said manager of Comhchoiste Ghaeltachta Uibh Rathaigh, Caitlin Breatnach.

“While there was demand for it, there simply wasn’t enough for it to work this year.

“There definitely is potential to develop it but it’s just about getting the word out,” Ms Breatnach added.

The Iveragh Gaeltacht had hosted about 1,000 students from Hibernia College over the past three years, and they used to stay in rented houses in the area. It also provided 21 teaching jobs throughout the season.


Students shun Gaeltacht trips

July 23, 2012

Fall in numbers as more sign up to learn foreign language

THOUSANDS of students are signing up for foreign language courses at home and abroad as trips to the Gaeltacht have been hit by a 15pc fall in numbers.

Fewer than 24,000 children are expected to travel for summer Irish courses this year, down from 28,000 in 2008.

However, agencies running summer courses in French, Spanish and other foreign languages are reporting record numbers.

Official figures from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht show a continuous decline in the numbers heading for the Gaeltacht in recent years.

Leaving Cert marks for oral and aural Irish have been almost doubled to 45pc of the total exam during that time – increasing the importance of spoken Irish.

But that has failed to halt the decline in course numbers in the Gaeltacht, which Irish colleges’ umbrella group Concos has described as “dramatic”.

“The numbers continue to plunge year on year. They are down by about 20pc on the peak. It is definitely a reaction to the economic downturn,” said spokeswoman Maria Nic Dhonncha.

Ms Nic Dhonncha added that the costs of running the schools continued to rise.

She said this meant that reducing the charge – which is typically between € 750 and € 900 for a three- week residential course – was not an option.

The only state subsidy is the € 9.50 per day paid to the Bean an Ti for each student staying with her, and this was cut by 10pc over the last two years.

Sean O Casaigh, secretary of Colaiste Chorca Dhuibhne in west Kerry, confirmed numbers were down “significantly”.

“There has been a 20 to 25pc decrease in numbers since 2008,” he said.

However, the director of the European Language College, Donie McCormack – where students take three- week French and Spanish language summer courses – said the downturn had little impact on business.


“Our numbers are on the rise, I think parents will always prioritise education, no matter how tight things are,” said Mr McCormack.

The Horizon Education School offers summer schools in English, French and Spanish. Its owner, Frank Noone, said more than 3,000 students had signed up for summer school so far this year – the largest number to date.

“Thankfully business is doing very well, the numbers are up by 25pc on last year,” he said.

Horizon charges € 500 a week for its summer language school.

Similarly, there has been a significant increase in the numbers travelling for courses.

Lingoo, a multilingual European- based website, which allows parents to find foreign families who host students for language holidays, said the increase in demand from Irish parents was “striking” this year.


‘It’s hard work but has huge economic importance to region’

July 23, 2012

Kitty Hutchinson has welcomed students to her west Kerry home for over 30 years.

The income she has earned as bean an ti has helped put her four daughters through college.

Although the number of students attending summer courses has dropped in recent years, Mrs Hutchinson remains hopeful about the future.

She said the restructuring of the Leaving Certificate Irish exam marking system to put more emphasis on the oral and aural exams has helped the situation.

But she believes the only way the Gaeltacht summer courses will survive is if Gaeilge remains a compulsory subject on the Leaving Cert curriculum.

“There has been a noticeable decline in numbers since about 2008 with the recession but what has had more of an impact is a new rule that restricts the number of students in any house to 14,” Mrs Hutchinson told the Irish Independent.


Like many of her neighbours in Feothanach – 13km north west of Dingle – Ms Hutchinson is kept busy during the summer catering for three three- week courses, one each in June, July and August.

Depending on how many students they keep, the mna ti can expect to earn between € 10,000 and € 15,000 gross on average.

But it is hard work. They are expected to provide a home environment for the students, provide them with three square meals a day of nutritious food and snacks and spend time with them so that they have every chance to improve their Irish. They are literally on call 24/ 7.

“It is hard work, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s very rewarding and I’ve enjoyed it. Otherwise I wouldn’t be still doing it after 30 years,” she added. “It’s of huge economic importance – not only to the mna ti but to the whole region,” she said.

But ultimately, the courses work because the students enjoy the experience and want to return, she added.


Educating students for the real world

July 23, 2012

With the latest announcement of jobs in PayPal, and the fact half of the number are imported people with language skills, I would like to ask the teachers running our Dáil why we are not teaching kids these languages by now?

This jobs for the boys/girls culture, has cost us again.

Teaching Irish and religion benefits no-one, and we are the only tiny country in the world speaking Irish and barely practising religion.

Let Irish be an option, let the Catholic Church teach religion.

Let’s educate the children about stuff that makes a difference — German, French, Spanish, how to drive, environmental studies.

Instead of buying tablets for TDs, let them do a bit of work.

They are all paid way more than they’re worth and there are too many of them.

They should get in touch with the real world.

Emmet Murphy
Co Cork


Language in peril in its homeland

July 23, 2012

Generations of Irish children have gone through a sort of rite of passage – usually, and appropriately enough, when on the threshold of adolescence – which has left them with happy, lifelong memories.

They remember the other- worldly environment of the Gaeltacht, the unusual sounds and sights and smells, like bread baking; and the strange experience of hearing all around them people speaking a language that most children have heard only in the classroom.

But how many are moved to improve their knowledge of the language, or speak or read it, nobody knows.

Now it emerges that the numbers attending Gaeltacht “summer colleges” are falling. Less than 24,000 are expected to travel this year, down from 28,000 four years ago.

At the same time, more and more have registered for courses in European languages.

This points up what might seem a stark choice but is really an irrelevance. There is no conflict between learning Irish and learning French or German. Nor need there be any conflict between the modernisation of Ireland and the preservation of the language, including one of its most charming aspects.

But the Gaeltacht itself is shrinking. Its very existence is in peril. Sceptics question whether the people of the present Gaeltacht areas will still speak Irish in 20 years’ time.

Like the loss of childhood, such a loss could never be repaired.


Irish Language Scheme Launched By The Dublin Institute Of Technology

July 20, 2012

The Dublin Institute of Technology has launched its Irish Language Scheme 2012-2015 under the auspices of the Official Languages Act. The Scheme aims to increase and develop the range and standard of services available in Irish to the public from DIT.

Schools, Departments and Services across the Institute have agreed commitments with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht regarding the development of service provision through the medium of Irish over the next 3 years.

The key commitments in DIT’s scheme relate to developing Irish language academic programmes as well as the provision of training in Irish language competency and language awareness for DIT staff in order to begin the process of service provision through Irish between now and 2015.

There will be an increase in Irish language content in DIT publications, promotional materials, application forms, information leaflets and media.

DIT’s website and interactive on-line services will include more Irish language content; the Institute will provide customer service through Irish at key public areas and the Irish language will be promoted on DIT’s Grangegorman site and in student life across the Institute over the next 3 years.

There are currently over 200 students studying on a variety of Irish language programmes in DIT ranging from the part-time MA in Applied Irish to the full-time BA degree programmes in Journalism with Irish and Film & Broadcasting with Irish provided by DIT’s School of Languages and School of Media. A wide range of Irish language modules are also available from the School of Hospitality Management and Tourism; the School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology; the Conservatory of Music and Drama and the School of Social Sciences and Law.

A dedicated Irish language office, Oifig na Gaeilge, was established in DIT in 2006 to oversee the development of the Irish language across the Institute and is charged with facilitating the implementation of DIT’s Official Languages Act Scheme and the provisions of the Act. Oifig na Gaeilge organises an Irish language accommodation scholarship scheme (Scéim Cónaithe Gaeilge) for DIT students with Irish to live together through the medium of Irish as well as many opportunities for staff and students to learn, improve and use the language. The Institute also has a vibrant Irish language student society, an Cumann Gaelach who organise Gaeilge events for students during the academic year.

DIT’s first Official Languages Act Scheme will certainly add to the current provision of Irish language services available from the Institute. Information on services being provided through Irish to the public over the next 3 years will be updated regularly on www.dit.ie/gaeilge.

DIT’s Official Languages Act Scheme can be viewed at www.dit.ie/gaeilge and further information is available from Oifig na Gaeilge at 01 4027043 / gaeilge@dit.ie.

Further Information:
Siobhán Nic Gaoithín, Oifigeach na Gaeilge / Irish Language Officer, DIT:
01 4027043 / 087 9807288 / gaeilge@dit.ie / www.dit.ie/oifignagaeilge

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