Gaelchultúr has been offering an intensive preparatory course in written Irish (“Dianchúrsa Ullmhúcháin i gCruinneas na Gaeilge”) for over a year now and eighty people have attended the three courses run to date. A majority of the participants have been based in Ireland but, due to the fact that the course material is available online, students in Australia, England, France, Switzerland and the United States have also undertaken the programme.
One-day workshops are organised on four different Saturdays during the course (these are not compulsory, however). The sessions were only available in Dublin initially but they were run in Údarás na Gaeltachta in Na Forbacha, Galway, as well during the summer this year. The one-day workshops will be offered in both places this autumn again and will take place once a month until December. The intensive course will commence in Galway on Thursday, 15 September, and in Dublin on Saturday, 17 September.
This part-time programme is aimed at those who wish to apply for a post-graduate course in Irish but who feel that they don’t have the required standard in the language. It’s also suitable for those working through the medium of Irish on a daily basis – journalists, civil servants and translators, for example – who wish to improve their written skills and grammar. The course fee is €450.
“Gaelchultúr has aimed in recent years,” says Éamonn Ó Dónaill, Gaelchultúr’s Director of Education, “to present the rules of Irish grammar in an easily comprehensible way and to help learners get to grips with the complexities of the language. During this particular course, we give continuous feedback to the participants and we try and help them understand some of the more difficult rules. The popularity of the programme shows that people like the approach we use.”
The course focuses on grammatical accuracy, writing style and translation skills. There’s also an emphasis on the technological resources available in Irish, including those on the Web. The participants do most of the work online and they can also attend the classroom-based sessions, if they wish.
Students have access to two courses on Gaelchultúr’s e-learning website, ranganna.com, and also have an opportunity to view videos on that site containing comprehensive information about the work undertaken in the classroom-based sessions. They can send homework by email and they’re given feedback about their work within a few days.
This initiative is being funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.