Holy Cross Boys’ Primary School has been making a concerted effort in the promotion of the Irish language and culture throughout the school. This has taken the form of Gaelic Games and traditional music groups. All classes receive a weekly language lesson. Irish is also offered as an extended schools club and there are classes for parents. We have a strong Irish Team comprising of staff members and we also engaged the support of Cumann Cultúrlann Mhic Reachtain and the Department of Education’s Primary Modern Languages Programme to assist with the teaching of Irish classes. In light of recent success both at a local and national level we have introduced a more structured approach to the teaching and learning of the Irish language, ensuring progression and continuity between each year level. This incorporates the language, folklore, song and dance in an organised way, with clear lines of development going from Primary 1-Primary 7. Signage has been put up throughout the school and we also use reward / praise stamps in all classes. Miss McAlinden and Mrs Brooks have participated in a workshadow through the Comenius Project where they spent a week in Scoil Eoin Pól, Loch an Iúir in the Donegal Gaeltacht, totally immersed in the Irish language and culture. The link between our schools continues to develop. Today, there is a lot of Irish to be heard around the school. All staff and children have shown great enthusiasm for learning the targeted phrases which are being used in a natural context throughout the school day. It is evident for all to see that the children are developing a love for the language and culture. We have also received positive feedback from parents, expressing their delight that the children are coming home and sharing their ‘cúpla focal’, saying their poems, singing their songs and greeting family members in Irish. The fact that Holy Cross Boys’ has once again been presented with the National GLEO Award, are the present holders of the Tír na nÓg Shield for poetry in Feis Bhéal Feirste and were crowned Scoil na Bliana by Feis Éanna is testament to the people of Ardoyne and the love for their language and culture which is very much alive and evidently going from strength to strength. Miss McAlinden (Irish Language Coordinator)
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