Ulster GAA launch Irish Scholarships

14 07 2013

Ulster GAA has announced a major sponsorship programme for adult students of the Irish language in conjunction with the University of Ulster. The scholarship scheme will run in partnership with the School of Irish Language and Literature and is to be known as Gaeilge sa Chlub (or ‘Irish in the Club’). It aims to promote the use of Irish within clubs throughout Ulster by providing financial assistance to GAA members who sign up for the Diploma in Irish Language course at Ulster.

This two-year (part-time) course is currently available at the UU Belfast and Magee campuses, plus the university outcentres at Cookstown, Ranafast and Downings. It runs for three months in the autumn (starting 23 September) and three months in the spring (starting 27 January) and classes are taught in each centre on Monday and Wednesday evenings (5.30-8.20pm). Students are instructed in listening, speaking, reading and writing and many diploma graduates progress to the degree course in Irish Language and Literature.

Martin McAviney, President of Ulster GAA commented on the developing relationship between Ulster GAA and the University: “This initiative enhances the existing strong links between Comhairle Uladh and the University of Ulster, developing the current sporting partnership with a new cultural and linguistic dimension.”

Ryan Feeney, Head of Community Development, Strategy and Public Affairs with Ulster GAA spoke of the importance of this scheme at community level: “This scholarship scheme is an investment in GAA volunteers at grassroots level and will enable many people to achieve a university qualification in Irish, developing their own career prospects and enriching their communities.”

Dr Malachy Ó Néill, Head of School of Irish Language and Literature at Ulster complemented Ulster GAA for this ‘pioneering’ scheme: “This is a significant investment by Ulster GAA in club members throughout the province. There is a growing appreciation of increased employability for Irish language graduates and this pioneering project is in keeping with the ethos of the GAA and the current DCAL initiative for Líofa 2015.”

There is sure to be much interest in this scheme throughout the GAA clubs of Ulster. Donegal All-Ireland winning footballer Éamonn McGee, who graduated with the Diploma in Irish Language at Magee campus this month, has given a strong endorsement of the course: “The Diploma was a real game-changer for me – now I’m starting the Degree in September. The part-time course is ideal for someone with a busy lifestyle!”

Further information on the Diploma in Irish Language is available from Mrs Ros O’Hagan in the School of Irish Language and Literature: r.ohagan1@ulster.ac.uk or +44 (0)28 7167 5277.

To apply for a Gaeilge sa Chlub scholarship, contact Dónal McAnallen, Ulster GAA Cultural Education & Outreach Officer: donal.mcanallen.ulster@gaa.ie or +44 (0)28 37517180.




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