Talented pupils

Congratulations to the pupils In the Irish language stream in St. Catherine’s College, Armagh, who won first place for the best project done through Irish in the BT Young Scientist competition in Dublin.

Congratulations to the pupils In the Irish language stream in St. Catherine’s College, Armagh, who won first place for the best project done through Irish in the BT Young Scientist competition in Dublin.

This story illustrates two things: that Irish is a modern language and that it can be used in everyday life, and in the world of science. Moreover, the award demonstrates the high quality of Irish medium education: anything can be taught through Irish.

This point was proven also in last week’s Derry Journal. The paper carried an advertisement from St. Bridget’s College, Carnhill, listing the facilities of the school and the achievements of its pupils. Some of the pupils gave their opinions about the college. One boy, Tiarnán Ó Coigligh, a former pupil of Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir, wrote: ‘I chose St.Bridget’s College because it gave me a chance to practice my Irish and some of my friends go there.’ Tiarnán is in First Year. Any Irish teacher would be happy if his or her pupils were able to write Irish like that after five years of secondary education.

Tiarnán does half his subjects through Irish in the Irish language stream. I have frequently pointed out the advantages of a good Irish medium school with regard to education and culture. But the job is only half done when the pupil leaves the primary school. (This is also true of English primary education, of course.) It is difficult to cater for the needs of Gaelscoil pupils after primary school, but the various Irish language steams are doing a great job throughout the Six Counties. You should not change horses in midstream: Irish language streams give pupils the opportunity to continue learning through Irish in places where pupil numbers are low.