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Thosaigh sraith ghairid de cheithre chlár ar BBC2 Dé Luain seo caite: ‘Píobairí Ard Mhacha- The Armagh Pipers’. Insíodh stair an chumainn atá caoga bliain ar an saol i mbliana.

Bhunaigh Brian Valelly agus a bhean chéile Eithne an club. Tagann na céadta foghlaimeoir chuig ranganna an chlub gach bliain agus tá clú idirnáisiúnta ar iardhaltai. Bhí béim ar an cheol sa chlár, ar ndóígh, ach chuaigh ard-chaighdeán na Gaeilge a bhí ag na daoine áitiúla a labhair ar an chlár i bhfeidhm orm go mór.

Tá an Ghaeilge an-láidir sa cheantar. Tá craobhacha ag Conradh na Gaeilge i gCathair Ard Mhacha féin, ar an Lorgain, i gCrois Mhic Lionnáin ar an Sruthán, i mBéal Leice agus ar an Mhullach Bhán.

Ar leibhéal na scoileanna, tá scéal iontach ann. Fuair Coláiste Chaitríona na torthaí GCSE ab fhearr i dTuaisceart Éireann i mbliana. Fuair 100% de na daltaí cúig GCSE A*-C, nó níos mó! Agus ní scoil ghramadaí é: ní aithníonn sé an 11+ neamhoifigiúil. Tá naonúr múinteoirí Gaeilge sa scoil; bhí ar an Choláiste múinteoirí Gaeilge breise a fhostú ar na mallaibh. Déanann gach dalta Gaeilge sa chéad bhliain. Tá 168 dalta ag freastal ar an sruth Gaeilge. Tagann siadsan ó na sébhunscoil Ghaeilge sa cheantar. Ag eochairchéim 3, déanann siad Stair, Teicneolaíocht agus Dearadh, Teagasc Críostaí, Foghlaim don Saol agus don Obair, Gaeilge agus Eacnamaíocht Bhaile trí Ghaeilge. Ag eochairchéim 4, déanann siad ceithre ábhar trí Ghaeilge faoi láthair.

Cuirtear dualgas ar na hiardhaltaí Gaelscoile Gaeilge a úsáid tríd an scoil. Spreagann sin na daltaí nach bhfuil an méid sin Gaeilge acu. Is cuid den scoil é an sruth Gaeilge. Bíonn na daltaí páirteach in imeachtaí a bhaineann leis an scoil go léir chomh maith le himeachtaí a eagraítear dóibh tríd an Ghaeilge. Tá iris idirlín ag na Gaeilgeoirí óga. Bhí turais acu go Baile Átha Cliath, go Learpholl agus go Barcelona le déanaí!

Tá éacht déanta ag Coláiste Chaitríona chan amháin maidir leis an Ghaeilge. Tá fealsúnacht ag an scoil a aithníonn luach agus ábaltacht na ndaltaí uilig. Molann na múinteoirí na scoláirí agus tagann siad.

Translation

Orchard County

A short series of four programmes began on BBC2 last Monday:‘Píobairí Ard Mhacha- The Armagh Pipers’.

The programme traced the history of the association which was founded fifty years ago this year.

The club was founded by Brian Valelly and his wife Eithne. Hundreds of learners attend the club’s classes every year and former students have earned international recognition. The programme concentrated on

music, of course, but I was greatly impressed by the high standard of the Irish of the local people who spoke on the programme.

The Irish language is very strong in the area. The Gaelic League has branches in Armagh City, in Lurgan, in Crossmaglen, in Bessbrook, in Belleek, and in Mullaghbawn. At school level, it’s a good news story. St. Catherine’s College got the top GCSE results in Northern Ireland this year. 100% of the pupils got five or more GCSE’s A*-C ! And it is not a grammar school: it does not recognise the unofficial 11+. There are nine Irish teachers in the school: the college had to take on additional Irish teachers recently. Every pupil

does Irish in First Year. There are 168 pupils in the Irish stream. They come from the six all-Irish primary schools in the area. At Key stage 3, they do History, Technology and Design, Religious Knowledge, Learning for Life and Work, Irish and Home Economics, all through Irish. They do four subjects through Irish at Key Stage 4 at present. The pupils from the Irish primary schools are asked to use Irish throughout the school.

That encourages those pupils who don’t have so much Irish. The Irish stream is part of the school. The pupils participate in all-school activities as well as Irish language based activities. The young Irish speakers have an Internet site. They have recently gone on trips to Dublin, Liverpool and Barcelona! St. Catherine’s College has done great work, not only with regard to Irish. The philosophy of the school recognises the value and the ability of all its pupils. Their teachers encourage the pupils and they respond.