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UCC president celebrates links to gaelscoil

September 23, 2013

A university president went back to primary school for a day to mark the 20th anniversary of his college’s unique link to a gaelscoil.

Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin in Ballincollig, Co Cork, was founded in 1983 in Coolroe, close to the former home of poet Seán Ó Ríordáin — for whom the school is named. A poet and essayist, Ó Riordáin, who was one of the most important Irish language poets of the 20th century, also worked in UCC’s department of modern Irish and was one of its resident poets in the 1970s until his death in 1977.

Here’s a beautiful poem about horses by Irish poet Seán Ó Riordáin. This is the translated version – Switch – http://t.co/On97Qj1f — Neil Burns (@foreverantrim) January 15, 2013 His university colleagues established a scholarship in his name, sponsored by UCC’s Bord na Gaeilge, which has, since 1993, been awarded to one sixth-class pupil in Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin who has most promoted the Irish language in the school. The scholarship helps to fund the student’s three-week stay in the Corca Dhuibhne gaeltacht. The award is normally presented by the UCC president during a ceremony in the college. However, Pól Ruiséal, director of UCC’s Ionad na Gaeilge Labharta, said Dr Murphy has been anxious for some time to visit the 566-pupil gaelscoil to meet pupils, the principal Gabriel Ó Cathasaigh, and his staff.

And as the school marks its 30th anniversary, he said felt this was the right time. “We, in a sense, in the Ionad, are the gaelscoil of UCC,” said Mr Ruiséal. “What we have here is a unique partnership between a third-level gaelscoil and a primary gaelscoil, who have come together to do something very useful and very promotional of the Irish language.” He also said that UCC has seen a huge rise in recent years in the numbers of overseas students who have been attracted to the university to study the Irish language and culture. “We have in the region of 350 overseas students from the seven continents who arrive here without a word of Irish,” he said. “They’ve heard of U2… the Wolfe Tones, and know something of Ireland. They learn about the music and culture and then realise there is something behind this — the punch that the Irish language culture makes.”