THE Gaeilge sa Chlub (‘Irish in the Club’) scholarship scheme for adult learners of Irish is a joint Ulster GAA and Ulster University initiative. This enterprise aims to promote the use of Irish within clubs throughout Ulster by providing financial assistance to GAA members who sign up for a Diploma in Irish Language.
The continued success of this Ulster GAA and Ulster University collaboration provides financial support for GAA members and continues to be a fantastic pathway to a high level of proficiency in Irish.
This year saw our recipients engaging in a wide variety of activities and support for their club members in the promotion of the Irish language. Children in the Kildress, Wolfe Tones club were learning Amhrán na bhFiann with Caoilfhinn, one of our recipients of the scholarship this year. This led to a choir of children performing our national anthem before a home club game in June. This was very well received within the club and the choir have been asked to continue with this for the remainder of home games.
Furthermore, there are many opportunities to promote Gaeilge in the context of wellbeing initiatives. The Cumann Iománaíochta Chaoimhín Uí Loingsigh developed and delivered a heritage trail along the walking path at Kevin Lynch Park which outlines the history of the GAA in Dungiven, the history of hurling in Dungiven and the history of the Irish language in the area. All signage has been developed in Irish and English and approximately 100 people use the walking path on a daily basis.
The life of a language is to live it. Beatha teanga í a labhairt. We need to create as many opportunities as possible for GAA members at club level to use Gaeilge in a social setting. Grace in Limavady Wolfhounds CLG held two pop-up Gaeltacht nights, in addition to ciorcal comhrá or conversation circle) initiatives. These initiatives have led to the planning of “Giota beag” classes within the club in the Autumn.
Lastly, Stephen in East Belfast GAA understood the importance of creating a fun and social environment in providing an environment for learning as part of his project.
In May, he and others arranged for East Belfast GAA hurlers to take part in a Gaelic Bus Tour of East Belfast to learn about the Irish roots to the names of town lands and place they live. After this, they toured the ‘Turas’ library and heard about their work teaching Irish in the area. This was very inspiring for the team to hear.
The Diploma in the Irish language is an exciting opportunity to study the Irish language from beginner level in a structured and formal way with expert tutors.
Completion of the course will ensure that students will be able to understand, speak and write Irish in their everyday life or in their professional life, whilst being equipped to continue to degree level study. Deis iontach atá ann.
Applications are now live for the Gaeilge sa Chlub scheme for 2023/24. Tá iarratais beo anois.