Photo of Debra Ní Shuilleabháin

Alumni profile

Debra Ní Shuilleabháin

PME in Primary Education



Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil, Co. Cork


An Ghaeilge agus na Meáin Úra


Gael Linn Gaeilge Award

Why did you choose teaching & why Hibernia College?

I have had teaching in the back of my mind for many years and I finally bit the bullet in 2016 and applied to Hibernia College. I have worked with young people in many capacities over the past decade and having enjoyed that experience thoroughly, I felt it was time to do what had been in my head for years. Why Hibernia? Quite simply, Hibernia college offered the flexibility I needed in order to complete the course, with the combination of on-site and distance learning suiting my needs

What field of work or study were you in before you started your PME?

My undergraduate degree is in An Ghaeilge agus na Meáin Úra. I was fortunate enough to find employment in a sector that combined my interest in working with young people and my love for Gaeilge when I worked as a development officer with youth clubs in the Gaeltacht areas of Munster. It was through this line of work that my interest in teaching was fostered initially.  Thanks to my mother, I have always had a grá for Irish and was fortunate enough to be educated through Irish, which I feel has been hugely beneficial in my endeavours over the years

Can you tell us a bit about your research project and why you focused on this area?

In my research project, I focused on the implementation of the Education Policy for the Gaeltacht in  Uíbh Ráthach. Coming from this area and with a keen interest in language planning, I realised that schools are integral to the language planning process,  in particular in areas where Irish is in decline. This allowed me to research tumoideachas or immersion education, which was of benefit to me when applying for teaching posts in Gaelscoileanna.

Now that you have graduated, what are your plans? I am in the happy position of having a job in Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil in Co. Cork, and I am thoroughly enjoying it! I am delighted to have the opportunity to teach through Gaeilge with my fellow teachers whom are equally devoted to Gaeilge

What piece of advice would you give to any person considering starting a PME?

Prepare yourself- it is a huge undertaking. Fully inform yourself on how often you will have lectures and onsites, and be willing to put the effort in! Stay on top of the workload and get to know your fellow group members- they will be your biggest source of support over the duration of the course.

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