By Ellen Madden

The Gaeltacht is a well-known summer school that allows students aged 12–18 to have the perfect summer. While they grow their knowledge of Irish, Ireland’s native language, they will also engage with a more traditional side of Ireland, such as traditional music, sports, and dancing, especially on the nights that the céilí takes place. They also get to experience the beauty of Ireland, which they might not have the chance to see if they did not go to the Gaeltacht, such as the Atlantic Coast, where most Gaeltachts are located.

There are many benefits to attending the Gaeltacht. From educational to social reasons and everything in between, there is something to suit all students who want to attend a summer school and improve their Irish.

As previously mentioned, the Gaeltacht takes place every summer and happens in the various regions where Irish may be primarily the native language. They can be found mainly in Galway, Meath, Waterford, Kerry, Donegal, and Wexford.

In most cases, local households around these areas open their homes and arms, allowing the students to stay in their homes for capital returns, which can positively impact their income during the summer. In return, the student will get accommodation and may receive meals from the Bean an Tí, who are the locals that mind the students that occupy their house.

Meanwhile, students are encouraged to speak Irish as much as possible during their stay. They follow a schedule that involves many activities and classes, which depend on the type of Gaeltacht the teen attends. For example, Coláiste UISCE provides a lot of water-based activities, while Coláiste Lurgan provides a lot of music-based activities.

Students are encouraged to push themselves to be more social with other students while they are in the Gaeltacht. The students will most likely share a room, which allows them to experience the time spent in the Gaeltacht together.

Students may already know other students who are in the same boat as they are, as they may have gone to the same school together. Secondary schools highly encourage their students to attend these Gaeltachts.

To conclude, the Gaeltacht is a wonderful experience for everyone involved, as it gets everyone to become more social and culturally aware while driving in money for homes and local establishments.