Students in our PME in Primary Education programme have just completed their Summer 2023 Gaeltacht experience. For two weeks, a total of 2,500 students were based in the Gaeltacht, (areas of Ireland where the Irish language is still spoken). Students who began the programme in Autumn 2021 and Spring 2022 took part in the experience from 25 June until 9 July. Students who began the PME programme in Autumn 2022 and Spring 2023 took part in the experience from 10 July until 25 July.
Opportunity to Improve Gaeilge Skills
Participation in the Gaeltacht is a core part of the PME in Primary Education programme and is a compulsory element for registration with the Teaching Council. Hibernia College students attend the Gaeltacht for a total of four weeks — two weeks each summer. Proficiency in Gaeilge is an essential skill for primary teachers and time in the Gaeltacht is an incredible opportunity to improve language skills in a fun, immersive environment, rich with Irish culture and traditions.
Hibernia College students were hosted by two schools in County Galway (Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge and Ionad an Acadamh, Carna); two schools in County Donegal (Acadamh Ghaoth Dobhair and Coláiste Ghaoth Dobhair); a school in County Meath (Coláiste na bhFiann, Ráth Chairn); and a school in County Kerry (Coláistí Chorca Dhuibhne). These represent four of the seven Gaeltachts across the country.
While in the Gaeltacht, students stay quite active, participating in activities such as music and dancing, radio interviews, kayaking and exploring the local area by boat and by foot.
Faculty Reflections on the Gaeltacht
Three faculty members visited the Gaeltacht this year as representatives of Hibernia College. They provided supportive roles for the principal.
Breda Coleman is a Lecturer in Education (Primary) and works with the School Placement team. Breda’s career as a teacher began in a Gaelscoil in Cork. Breda shared, “It was a very positive trip. The students were all enjoying the course and they really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know each other. Many reported that they had made so many new friends. The teachers on the course reported very high levels of student engagement as well. The students enjoyed a very energising Zumba through Gaeilge Monday evening and three students were interviewed live on Radio na Gaeltachta.”
Kevin Quinn is a Lecturer in Education (Primary) and his experience with various school settings includes having worked in Gaeltacht schools and Gaelscoileanna. Kevin shared, “It was great to see the students working together and conversing through Irish, outdoors and in the classroom. There was great energy and a fantastic atmosphere in the area when they were present. The Gaeltacht providers and the local community enjoy having the students and praised their efforts in speaking Irish while in the Gaeltacht.”
Dr John Meegan is a Lecturer in Education (Primary) and is a member of the Hibernia College Research Committee. John shared, “What I was most impressed by was the warm welcome received by our students from the local community in Ráth Chairn. It was lovely to hear our students added to the community spirit and this was very much appreciated by the locals. They would love to see Hibernia College students return next year!”
Go dtí an bhliain seo chugainn!
We commend our PME in Primary Education students for stepping up and embracing this great experience. We are confident your future pupils will benefit from your deepened understanding of Gaeilge! Thank you to the collaborating Gaeltachts and all the staff who keep them thriving. Go dtí an bhliain seo chugainn!