Enrolment doubles at Irish medium school in Dungiven

Gaelchol�iste Dhoire, Dungiven, staff and pupils.
Gaelchol�iste Dhoire, Dungiven, staff and pupils.

Pupil numbers at an Irish medium school in the Roe Valley have more than doubled in two years.

Gaelcholáiste Dhoire in Dungiven is the North’s second post primary Irish Medium school. It is set in the historic Dungiven Castle, and opened last year with 16 pupils.

Principal Diarmaid Ua Bruadair said the development plan envisaged having 25 pupils in the second year.

“The target was 15 in the first year and 25 in the second year,” Principal Ua Bruadair told the ‘Journal’. “This year we have 32 first year intakes, so we’ve increased pupil numbers from 16 to 48 in two years, and we are over the moon at that.”

Among new students starting school this term are eight from Derry city.

“I think there is a hunger for Irish Medium education in Derry city and you can see that starting to blossom,” said Principal Ua Bruadair. “The students in Derry saw what was available here in Dungiven, and their parents came to the open days and they wanted what we have for their children and it was within striking distance.”

There are also new students from County Derry, including Slaughtneil and Ballinascreen, and one new student from Strabane.

Principal Ua Bruadair believes the school will continue to grow due to the number of feeder Irish education schools locally, including Limavady. He said supporting the 48 pupils are a six-strong teaching staff, working part-time and full-time. Gaelcholáiste Dhoire is involved with the Roe Valley Learning Community, a partnership involving Rossmar School, Limavady; St. Patrick’s College, Dungiven; Limavady Grammar School; St. Mary’s, Limavady, and Limavady High School.