The new purpose-built Facility is the latest stage in an ongoing effort to try and promote the Irish language. It was opened in the western suburbs of Galway City, Áras Mhic Ahmlaigh, which is located on the grounds of one of the country’s biggest Gaelscoileanna, in Knocknacarra.
The school opened almost 30 years ago. A small number of parents and local people gathered to assess the interest in trying to provide education through Irish in the local area.
Gearóidin Mhic Thómais, the vice principal of the school said: “We had one pupil to begin with, then all of a sudden we had 20 children and then suddenly we had 40.”
As the number of pupils in the classes increased, all effort was put into finding a home for the school. Available spaces were utilised, including rooms above the local shops and in several houses around the growing area.
A permanent school building was only provided many years later. However, it soon became clear that the number of pupils enrolling would lead to having to provide a bigger location.
Need for further development
A purpose-built school building was completed. The additional space that was needed was obtained and helped to develop the school. The number of pupils enrolled in the school today is 650.
The chairperson of the school’s board of management Seán Ó Leidhinn said: “The founders of the Gaelscoil had worked for nearly three decades to realise their aims.” Now, they hope that the new centre will further boost the use of Irish in everyday life.
Along with the three classes that are taught in the Gaelscoil there are also after-school services. At night, the school will also be used for language classes and cultural pursuits.
Dairíona Nic Con Iomaire, the principal of the school is grateful for the support given in ensuring the Irish language is taught in the area. She said: “It boils down to a special group of people and a spirit of volunteerism that was hugely important.”
The principal added: “They had a vision and they always believed in the concept that you had to start children young at the preschool level and to build on it from there.”
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