Méid an Téacs

Mother Teresa’s old school ‘Gaelwarts’ in demand as a wedding venue

Eanáir 5, 2015

Meet the class in Dublin’s own ‘Hogwarts’ school in the building where Mother Teresa learned English.

The doors of Gael Cholaiste an Phiarsaig opened in September and accepted its first 16 students.

The Rathfarnham school is located in a former Loreto Abbey on the southside of the capital.

It has been described by many as Ireland’s answer to Hogwarts, but the students have a better name for the historic building.

“They love it here. It is the Irish answer to Hogwarts, the students call it Gaelwarts,” principal Joe Mac Suibhne told the Herald.


It was planned for development until the crash and then Nama took the keys. Nama sold the school earlier this year to the Department of Education for a reported €2.3m.

It is the first post-primary Gaelscoil to open on the south of the Liffey in more than a decade and it’s is hoped that the entire building when completed will cater for 500 students.

It is believed that the Department of Education will need to invest a total of €12m into the building to fully revamp it. Mother Teresa of Calcutta studied English here when she came to Ireland in the 1920s.

Mr Mac Suibhne said that his young pupils do understand the significance of their school.

“It is a really beautiful building,” he said. “The school is in demand but we are only enrolling the year before students are due to start. We are not letting people enrol ten years in advance; we want to keep it fair.”

The mixed school will take in three classes of first years next September. There are currently six teachers working in the school.

“It’s a great atmosphere we have at the minute, it’s like a family. We hope to keep hold of that,” he said.

Students and staff are currently restricted to one part of the building.

“It will be refurbished as we go along,” the principal explained.

“We are actually based in the oldest part at the moment, it was built in 1725. It’s a beautiful period building.”

“The rooms are all very large, with 15ft high that all have ornate coving,” he explained.

There is also a church located within the abbey.

“The church is a fabulous building. I have people emailing me to have their weddings here,” Mr Mac Suibhne revealed.

It’s not the first time that the 250-year-old building has housed a school. Up until the mid-1990s it was Catholic boarding school for girls.

Any building work that was carried out was done very carefully and an architecture team are currently drawing up plans for the refurbishment.


Eoin’s strong finish crucial

Bealtaine 2, 2014

A STRONG final quarter proved essential for Coláiste Eoin yesterday afternoon at Thomas Davis GAA Club, where the gaelscoil were crowned South Leinster Senior Football ‘A’ league champions at the expense of Patrician Secondary School, Newbridge.


A close-range free by Patrician full-forward Ryan King had left the sides delicately poised with 12 minutes remaining, but a magnificent goal by Eoin substitute Diarmuid ó Seasnáin helped to produce some daylight between the teams and subsequently provide the platform for the Booterstown school to secure their second piece of silverware in 2014.

Having already secured the Leinster Senior Football Championship title, Eoin were confident of coming out on top against their south Kildare counterparts, who fielded without several of their county minor players (most notably Ben McCormack of Sarsfields).

A splendid point from distance by adventurous Patricians wing-back Conor Earley had cancelled out an earlier score from Eoin half-forward Rian Mac Giolla Bhríde, but intelligent play led to further white flag efforts for the Metropolitans from Conn ó Ceallacháin (free) and Mac Giolla Bhríde.

Patricians managed to restore parity with similar scores by central attackers Niall Manning and King, before three points in succession from dynamic full-forward Colm ó Néill (two) and early replacement Cillian Mac Gearailt placed Eoin in a healthy position.

The Southsiders suffered a set-back 25 minutes in when half-back Ben Mac Cormaic was black-carded for a foul on Patricians’ Cian Scanlon, but although King cut the gap to a minimum from the subsequent free, eye-catching points by Cillian ó Seanáin and the increasingly prominent ó Ceallacháin ensured that Eoin brought a 0-8 to 0-5 buffer into the second half.

Patricians managed to level matters just six minutes after the restart, however, when Suncroft’s King coolly slotted a penalty past Eoin netminder Seán ó Dubhláin after Dara ó Colpa was adjudged to have fouled Shane Smyth inside the large square.

This intensified an already gripping decider and when Scanlon and King (two) cancelled out hard-earned Eoin points from Mac Giolla Bhríde, Fionn ó Riain Broin and ó Ceallacháin, the sides remained inseparable.

Indeed, extra-time looking like being a distinct possibility, but ó Seasnáin’s tremendous 49th minute finish to the roof of the Patricians net was the perfect tonic for Eoin as they aimed to secure the silverware on offer.

A brace of points from outstanding Sky Blues minor star ó Ceallachain left Patricians in a perilous position with full-time quickly approaching and thanks to concluding scores by ó Neill (two) and Cuala’s ó Seasnain, Eoin were able to ease over the line.

Scorers – Col Eoin: C ó Ceallachain 0-5 (2f), C ó Neill 0-4, D ó Seasnain 1-1, R Mac Giolla Bride 0-3, C ó Seanain, F ó Riain Broin, C Mac Gearailt 0-1 each. Patrician Newbridge: R King 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-2f), C Scanlon 0-2, C Earley, N Manning 0-1 each.

COL EOIN: S ó Dubhláin; E ó Lorcáin, O ó Duill, C ó Riain Broin; D ó Treasaigh, E ó Naoire, B Mac Cormaic; S ó Dulaing, C ó Cathasaigh; R Mac Giolla Bhríde, C ó Seanáin, F ó Riain Broin; L O Giolláin, C ó Néill, C ó Ceallacháin.

Subs: C Mac Gearailt for ó Giollain (11), D ó Colpa for Mac Cormaic (25, BC), D ó Seasnain for ó Dúlaing (45), M ó Ciarnain for F ó Riain Broin (61).

PATRICIAN NEWBRIDGE: R Abbott; S Healy, R Brady, G Maguire; S Dempsey, A O’Brien, C Earley; P Howard, C Kavanagh; S Smyth, N Manning, C Scanlon; L Doran, R King, P Murphy.

Subs: C Byrne for Manning (28), Manning for Murphy (33), D Hartley for Smyth (36), H Dolan for Brady (36), Smyth for Byrne (42), Murphy for Earley (53).

Referee: D Bracken (Laois).


Website offers free lessons as Gaeilge

Márta 21, 2014

GAEILGE has just gone global.

In honour of St Patrick’s Day, the language-learning website Duolingo has announced that it will include the Irish language on the site. And it has asked Gaelgoirs to come on board and volunteer to help build the new course.

The service is completely free to use, employing a crowd-sourced business model where companies pay to have content translated by contributors.

Duolingo boasts more than 25m users across the world and encourages people to learn a variety of languages via games. Irish Language Commissioner Ronan O Domhnaill has said that the addition of our native language is a good thing.


“The more resources there are for people to learn Irish, the better,” he said. “Anything like this, assuming the standard is correct, will be a welcome development for the language.”

Duolingo is now recruiting contributors for its “incubator” system, which is expected to take months to complete and will require translations for thousands of sentences.

“We need to know as many translations as possible for each sentence, so when learners are asked to translate, we can tell them if their answer is correct,” they said. However, some users reacted negatively to the decision, which one asking: “Can we have something useful like Mandarin Chinese or Russian?” Others were more positive: “I’ll definitely study. I want to know the language of my ancestors.”

Some 77,000 Irish people use the language on a daily basis.


€12m project to turn Loreto into a school again

Márta 10, 2014

Historical Rathfarnham landmark Loreto Abbey is to be restored and turned into a school once again.

The building – where Mother Teresa studied English in Dublin – is coming under the control of the Department of Education and will become a gaelscoil for the region. The Department has purchased the property from NAMA through estate agent Savills for approximately €2.3m.

However, it will need at least a further €10m to transform the 250-year-old complex into a modern educational facility. The building has a protected listed status and has been empty for 15 years after the 1999 purchase by a company owned by developer Liam Carroll. After Carroll went bankrupt, the site was taken over by NAMA before it was put up for sale last August.

The roof was recently weatherproofed by NAMA and the house was occupied by live-in “guardians” provided by the UK-based property minding company Camelot.

The Department of Education said it would not comment on conversion costs due to “commercial sensitivities”. However they said they are “satisfied” the property meets their needs.

The renovation costs will cost significantly more than the amount needed to build a new school. But considering the fact that the State would have to rescue it anyway and is under pressure to create new schools in Dublin, the move is being described by property sources as “killing two birds with one stone”.

The main building, Rathfarnham House, was constructed in 1725. The architect, Edward Lovett Pearce, was best known for the old Houses of Parliament at College Green.

Closed in the late nineties, Loreto had been a famous boarding school for Catholic girls. Its most famous pupil was Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who went there to learn English in the 1920s, at the age of 18.


Glasgow cabbie’s rage at brothers’ cupla focail

Eanáir 10, 2014

A student teacher who was forced to get out of a Glasgow taxi for speaking Irish says he had assured the driver he wasn’t talking about him.

Anthony Blair (20) and his brother Joe (22) were in the Scottish city visiting their grandmother when a cabbie ordered them to stop speaking Irish.

Glasgow council are now investigating the taxi company after a race discrimination complaint by a cousin – Kathleen McAleer – who was also in the cab at the time.

“I was sitting with my back to the driver, in the back of the taxi, and I was just chatting to Joe,” said Anthony, a student at St Patrick’s College in Dublin and a native Irish speaker from Gweedore, Co Donegal.

“It’s just natural for us to chat in Irish. I asked the driver what he thought the fare would be and he told me and I turned around again to talk to Joe in Irish.

“The driver then said ‘ you can’t speak that language in my taxi’ and I was a bit stunned and I asked him ‘why?’

“He said we were talking about him and I assured him that we weren’t but he told us if we didn’t stop speaking Irish we should get out and that we were in Britain now and should be speaking English. So he stopped the car and told us to get out. “I believe he just didn’t want us speaking Irish and was nothing to do with us supposedly talking about him.”

Cousin Kathleen McAleer (21), who is from Glasgow, challenged the driver. “I told the driver he couldn’t behave like that and he said if you are in Britain you should speak English,” said the mental health nurse. “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”

Irish language enthusiast Dáithí Ó Sé hit out at the taxi driver. “Maybe he’s speaking a foreign language himself. They have their own language in Scotland (Gaelic) and he’s speaking English so I wonder did he ever think of it like that,” said the RTE presenter.

Hampden Cabs refused to comment but a spokesman had told the Glasgow Evening Times that a driver had been recently subjected to sectarian abuse on the night of a Pogues concert in the city.
But both Blair brothers weren’t even in Glasgow that night.

Said Anthony: “We were already home. This incident happened on a Sunday night and we flew home on the Monday. The incident referred to by the cab company happened on the Tuesday evening and we were back in Donegal by then.”


Dictionary with pictures to help revive Irish

Deireadh Fómhair 16, 2013

ONE of Britain’s oldest educational institutions has published a book aimed at supporting the Irish language revival among children.

The Oxford University Press (OUP) has announced the publication of an Irish-to-English visual dictionary, aimed at youngsters aged eight years and upward. The book has been targeted at the burgeoning Irish community in Britain as well as the Irish market. The publisher, which is a department of the centuries-old University of Oxford, said its supports the Irish language revival. “Since 2000 there has been a growing resurgence of interest in maintaining and reviving Irish Gaelic with a growing desire to teach the next generation the language of their forebears,” the university said. Each section of the book, features a brief introduction followed by colourful and contemporary illustrations and it includes around 1,500 vocabulary items in both Irish and English. Vineeta Gupta, children’s dictionary publisher with the OUP, said that Irish has been undergoing a revival.

“People are quite rightly proud of their heritage and want to keep it alive and pass it on for future generations – and part of our OUP mission is about helping to support language learners wherever they are.”