Thinking about the Gaeltacht, the things that came to mind were—very hard, boring classes, horrid food and very little of it, nice people but a rotten Bean an Tí! We were in for a surprise!
The Bean an Tí was fabulous—always pleasant and chatty. We had lovely rooms which were spotlessly clean. We could watch TV—as Gaeilge of course. There were 16 girls staying in the house, most of them were from Dublin and the others from various parts of the country. We learned a lot of Irish in the house itself from speaking to each other. It was strange at first but amazing how natural it was after a bit. The food was divine—4 meals a day and a 3-course dinner. However, after a 25 minute walk to the Coláiste, we were soon thinking of our next meal!
The Coláiste itself was really enjoyable. Our daily schedule was classes from 10–1; lunch; sport from 3:30–5; tea; ceilí from 7:30–9. The classes were split into three 45 minute ones with three different teachers. We did enjoyable things like debates and discussions. They were bearable and easy to comprehend. During the middle of the second week we had an oral exam. It was exactly what a real oral is like. It was good practice and afterwards you knew what your weak and strong points were.
The sports we played were basketball, volleyball, soccer, handball and rounders. These were very enjoyble. It was weird speaking Irish playing sport but like everything , you get used to it. You did not have to play anything you did not want to.
The céili was great craic. We learned the dances beforehand. You fell in love with the music after a while. We went on tours to Inis Oírr and Galway. It was totally up to yourself if you wanted to go and it was at your own expense. They were under £10.
We went to Mass once a week in Irish. It was hard to get used to it.
We would recommend anyone in the 12–18 age bracket to go. It does not matter how good or bad you are at Irish, you will definitely pick up loads.
They were three brilliant weeks which went too fast. You make loads of friends and come home with great memories.
Averyl Farrell & Claire Nolan