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Donegal Gaeltacht Welcomes Irish Languages Students



Pádraig Ó Tiarnaigh, research student, Dr Gearóid Ó Domagáin, Course Director, Dr Malachy Ó Néill, Head of School of Irish Language and Literature, and Professor Ailbhe Ó Corráin, Celtic Research Institute Director, pictured at the Céilí Mór.

Over 100 University of Ulster Irish language students have taken part in a week-long residential course in the Donegal Gaeltacht.

The BA Irish Language and Literature students from the University’s Belfast, Coleraine and Magee campuses have just returned from the intensive language programme delivered by University of Ulster staff.

Irish language students at Ulster have been attending immersion courses in the Gortahork area of County Donegal for more than 30 years but this year’s course marked a change in structure.

Dr Malachy Ó Néill, Head of School of Irish Language and Literature, explained: “Traditionally our students have spent a fortnight on the residential Gaeltacht course around Easter each year but this has become increasingly difficult in recent times for students who work part-time and who also have coursework deadlines to meet late in the second semester.

“The new structure means that students have the opportunity to fulfil the course requirements in terms of residency in a Gaeltacht community by spending one week there per semester. The second course is scheduled for March 2013.”

Dr Gearóid Ó Domagáin, Director of the Gaeltacht Course, added: “I was delighted with the high level of attendance and engagement from the student body and I would also like to acknowledge the support from Ulster staff who travelled to Donegal to organise and deliver language lessons, seminars and cultural activities.

“This year we also introduced a series of afternoon lectures which greatly enriched the course. This enabled students to benefit from new perspectives on their courses in language and literature while resident in an Irish-speaking environment.”

The series of lectures included:

Dr Gearóid Ó Domagáin – Forbairt agus tábhacht na bhfoclóirí Gaeilge (The development and significance of Irish language dictionaries)

Dr Éamonn Ó Ciardha – Ón Reifirméisean go dtí na hÉireannaigh Aontaithe (From the Reformation to the United Irishmen)

Dr Fionntán de Brún – Seosamh Mac Grianna agus dúshlán an 20ú haois (Seosamh Mac Grianna and the challenge of the 20th century)

Dr Art Hughes – Córas Bhiathra na Gaeilge (The verbal system of the Irish language)

Mr Niall Comer РLogainmneacha mar Eochair an D̼chais (Place names as a key to heritage)

All teaching was delivered through the medium of Irish and students and staff stayed with local Irish-speaking families throughout the week. The course concluded with a dinner and Céilí Mór.