Nine students from the US and Canada were presented with awards to study Irish in Galway at a ceremony in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, An Cheathrú Rua, last month.
The Gaeltacht Summer Awards are a collaboration between the Ireland-United States (Fulbright) Commission for Educational Exchange, as supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and the National Lottery.
The awards reflect the deep interest in the Irish language in North America where, every year, many Irish language learners choose to attend courses at the National University of Ireland – Galway, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge and other venues.
Four Irish language instructors were also presented with awards to teach Irish in Canada in the coming academic year.
Executive Director of the Ireland-United States [Fulbright] Commission for Educational Exchange, Dr Dara FitzGerald said: ‘This year we welcome 62 US citizens from Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Michigan, Wisconsin, California, Dallas, Missouri and North Carolina [to Ireland].
‘These awardees come from diverse walks of life – some are students of Celtic Studies, others are teachers, actors, poets and writers.
‘While some have Irish heritage, others, following a growing trend, have simply taken an interest in Irish as foreign language. Tá an-áthas orainn faoin rath atá ar an gclár seo.’
Chief Executive Officer of Ireland Canada University Foundation James Kelly said: ‘Ireland and Canada enjoy a rich shared culture and heritage, with a remarkable 4.5 million Canadians tracing their ancestry back to Ireland. This year, we are delighted to welcome the University of Prince Edward Island as a partner university in Canada.
‘For Irish and Canadian scholars alike, this is a most exciting and formative experience, as this programme enables a new generation to explore and contribute to a deeper understanding of the connection between our two countries.’