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Coláiste Chamuis celebrating 40 Years

September 24, 2013

Established in 1973, Coláiste Chamuis has gone from strength to strength ever since.

To celebrate 40 successful years, Coláiste Chamuis will host a celebratory dinner and evening of entertainment in The Connemara Coast Hotel on Saturday 28 September. Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Dinny McGinley, T.D., will attend as a guest of honour, along with host families who have kept students over the years, present and past staff and students of Coláiste Chamuis and many other friends of the college.

Coláiste Chamuis first opened its doors in 1973, with 52 students, 2 teachers and 10 households who kept the students. 37 of that group returned the following year and Coláiste Chamuis was under way. Numbers increased steadily until 1978 when a second course was added. In 1985 a second centre was opened at An Tulach, and again due to increased demand, a third centre was opened in 1992 at Ros a’Mhíl. A purpose-built centre, Teálta na hÓige, was opened in Ros a’Mhíl in 2003.

Coláiste Chamuis caters each summer for some 1,500 students from all around the country. Recently, the college has provided a new Easter course for student teachers. Many past pupils of Coláiste Chamuis are still actively involved in activities involving Irish, such as education, journalism, arts, entertainment and heritage, law and business.

Students of the college have come to appreciate the motto of 40 years, ‘Is fiú agus is féidir’ (You can—and it is worth it). The Coláiste Chamuis experience is also beneficial for local Gaeltacht teenagers, some of whom work with the college during courses, as they come to appreciate their own language by seeing others wish to learn it.

Coláiste Chamuis employs some 70 staff during courses. Irish colleges have a significant economic effect on the Connemara Gaeltacht with the sector generating economic activity valued at €50M each year.

Manager of Coláiste Chamuis, Máire Denvir contends: “In the context of tourism, Irish colleges represent cultural tourism par excellence, as economic development goes hand in hand with positive language planning policies, and the Coláistí are based on the most important natural resource in the Gaeltacht — the Irish language”.