A vibrant, fun-filled, week-long Irish Language Summer Scheme has been held in Greencastle, run by Óige Mhuintir Luinigh and led by Sinéad Ní Mhearnóg and Eilish Nic Giolla Chomhaill.
The week was aimed at primary school children from P3-P7 to create a positive environment in which local children pick up their native language through games, songs, arts, crafts and many other activities.
Sinéad Ní Mhearnóg commented that the week was filled with “fun and laughter” from start to finish.
Day one was spent teaching the young children how to be circus performers by learning juggling skills, uni-cycling and stilt walking among other things.
The following day they had an enjoyable trip to the Brunswick Moviebowl and Campsie Karting.
The next day the children made beautiful plaques for the bedrooms and house ensuring the Irish language was brought home as well.
It was back on the road again on the for the fourth day as the children travelled to Ionad Cois Locha in Dún Lúiche in Dún nan Gall where they learned about Gráinne’s Island and the folklore of the area.
Sinéad said, “They had great craic in the water zorbs and pedaloes and some even took on the challenge of trying to stay on the Rodeo Bull. This trip gave the children the chance to practice the Irish they had learned with the native speakers working in the centre, many the ‘Go raibh maith agat’, ‘le do thoill’ and ‘ba mhaith liom…’ was used and it was great to hear.
“The children were even lucky enough to get a wee run out to Trá Mhachaire Ghathláin in Gaoth Dobhair and they got their picture taken with the famous Bád Eddie.”
Finally the week came to an end with some bouncy castle fun and plenty of “milseáin”.
The group had their linguistic efforts celebrated and special prizes were given to five children for their great efforts to speak the Irish language at all stages throughout the week.
Sinéad continued, “Greencastle has a strong Irish language heritage with the first Irish Language Summer Scheme held in 2011 being in celebration of the 100 year anniversary of a famous Summer School being held in the area in 1911 which was the largest gathering of native Tyrone speakers and which brought important linguists from all over Ireland together.
“The fun experienced by local children at this year’s scheme show that the Irish language is as vibrant, modern, and relevant as ever, these children had fun with the language and would have made our Irish speaking ancestors very proud.
“We are so appreciative of the funding we receive to run our summer scheme from the local Education Authority and Foras na Gaeilge in their youth work through Irish schemes.
“Greencastle is in a very disadvantaged ward and thanks to these funders we can run great activities for the local young people.”
Greencastle is not alone in this work and there are many Irish language events in the area all year round, in August An Charraig Mhór will host their own summer scheme Campa an Tearmainn from August 3-7.
To be kept up to date on events happening locally contact firstname.lastname@example.org, the Conradh na Gaeilge branch for the wider Omagh area aims to keep people up to date on all Irish activities in the area not just their own.