Courses for Teachers 2017


Given our aim to help promote the learning and teaching of Irish at home and abroad, Oideas Gael provides courses that cater for teachers who are looking to improve their language skills for the classroom, including both school teachers and those who teach Irish to adults. There are lots of courses directed at teachers in our 2017 programme!

SCG/OCG Exam Preparation Courses


OCG and SCG are courses for school teachers in the Republic of Ireland who have qualified abroad. The schemes allow teachers to learn Irish while working. One of the requirements in both schemes is that candidates attend Irish courses at recognized providers in the Gaeltacht. Oideas Gael is a recognized provider for this.

We also provide specialised preparatory courses for the SCG/OCG exams. Two of these courses are taking place soon: the first starting Monday, February 20th with a further course taking place in April. Dates and details are available here. Additional courses will be available later in the year.

And, of course, we also recommend our regular week-long and weekend Irish language courses for those looking to practice their Irish and improve their general fluency.

EPV Courses


Primary teachers are entitled to Extra Personal Vacation (EPV) days on foot of attending summer courses that have been approved by the Irish Department of Education and Skills.

The Department recently confirmed that Summer Courses for 2017 may run from Saturday 1st of July. Most Oideas Gael courses are recognised for EPV days, from our Irish language courses to music and crafts courses. View the full list of our approved courses here and book yourself a unique learning experience!

Training course for those teaching Irish to adults


This is a training course for fluent speakers interested in teaching conversational Irish. It is directed those who are confident speaking Irish but who lack experience or guidance when it comes to helping language learners.

More information is available on our website.

Take the opportunity to  expand your knowledge (and enjoyment) of the language — déanann taithí máistreacht (practice makes perfect)!

Oideas Gael 2016 Programme now available

Dún na nGall

Here at Oideas Gael we are excited to bring you our 2016 programme of Irish language courses and cultural activity holidays. This coming year courses in our core programme will take place in three different parts of the Donegal Gaeltacht.

As always, our language courses are at the heart of the programme. Week-long and weekend Irish language courses catering for all language levels will take place at Gleann Cholm Cille and Gleann Fhinne throughout 2016. Additionally, Oideas Gael will offer specialised language courses in the teaching of Irish, grammatical accuracy and translation. We are also delighted to announce that, following a very successful pilot course under the direction of Dr Seosamh Mac Muirí this year, our Saibhreas na Gaeilge course for fluent speakers of Irish will return to Toraigh (Tory Island) in 2016.

For those interested in an engaging cultural course of a different kind, we have plenty of options including Hill Walking, Exploring the Environment, Digital Photography, Flute and Whistle Playing, Irish Harp, Bodhrán and Tapestry Weaving. Two of our long-standing courses saw changes this year as we welcomed Dr Brian Lacey as new director of the Fr. James McDyer Archaeological Summer School and Micheál Ó Dochartaigh who will teach one of our Painting and Sketching courses. Our flagship Language and Culture Summer School in July brings together the various strands of language, arts, music and traditional crafts.


Our Saibhreas na Gaeilge course for fluent Irish speakers will return to Toraigh (Tory Island) in 2016.

Of course, our 2015 courses aren’t over yet. Irish language courses as well as classes in flute and whistle playing will take place over the weekend of the 23-26th October, while school teachers in the Republic of Ireland who have qualified abroad will take interest in our next OCG/SCG Exam Preparation Course which will take place from Monday 26th – Friday 30th October.

The full details are all available on our website. Tá muid ag súil mór le fáilte a chur romhaibh! We’re looking forward to welcoming you!

Rang ar an chláirseach ag Oideas Gael

60 Years in Stone


Dr Micheal Herity is a renowned archaeologist and scholar. Those who have attended Oideas Gael will know him as Director of the Father McDyer Archaeology Summer School for some 30 years. He is also the author of Gleanncholmcille: 5,000 years in stone, a guide to the archaeological sites of the region.

Dr Herity retired as the School’s director last year but returned this August to give a talk on his 60 years of experience as an archaeologist. We took the opportunity to recognise his massive contribution to our understanding of South West Donegal’s archaeological heritage. He was presented with an artwork specially commissioned from Gerald Buchanan of Crow Pottery here in Gleann Cholm Cille.

An article by Kathleen M. Mangan describing the event and Dr Herity’s work was published in the Donegal Democrat this week:

Urged more than 30 years ago by community organizing legend Father James McDyer, Dr. Herity founded the Archaeology Summer School to bring interested people to the Glen to learn more about the region’s rich history. In outdoor sessions, Dr. Herity encouraged participants to study the evidence of the monuments in their context, to deduce their original form and use. He invited guest archaeologists to further engage students, including David McGuinness, Brian Lacey, Seamus Caulfield, Dorothy Kelly and Markus Redmond over the years. To this day, the school continues to attract interested people from around the globe. And it has been featured in National Geographic.

You can read the full story here.

Scholarships for Adult Learners of Irish at Oideas Gael, supported by Foras na Gaeilge

Cúrsa in Oideas Gael 2014

Oideas Gael is pleased to announce scholarship opportunities for adult learners taking Irish courses in Gleann Cholm Cille and Coimín, Gleann Fhinne, Co. Dhún na nGall. Courses are held weekly from now until the end of August at all levels from absolute beginner to full fluency.

Persons awarded scholarships should be resident in Northern Ireland and must register beforehand with the LÍOFA 2015 Scheme, which can be done easily by visiting this website.

Priority in the selection process will be accorded to those who have not previously had the opportunity to study Irish while at school or lack the means of attending courses without scholarship assistance.

Applications are invited by telephoning Oideas Gael at +353 74 97 30248 or by contacting the office via e-mail at with a brief outline as to why you should receive a scholarship.

Oideas Gael wishes to thank Foras na Gaeilge for providing the scholarship funding.

Course descriptions and further details are available at

Rannpháirtithe ar chúrsa de chuid Oideas Gael

“Thug muid an samhradh linn”

Oideas Gael Tea Break, Summer 2014

Another fun and rewarding summer of courses at Oideas Gael came to an end this August. For thirty years now, people have travelled to Gleann Cholm Cille and to Gleann Fhinne to enjoy the best of Ireland’s modern native culture. We sincerely thank all those who visited us this year, including friends old and new. Don’t forget either that you have one more chance to do a course with Oideas Gael this year. Although we did take a short (a very short) break, we were not idle for long! Read on to find out what we’ve been up to…

A Summer in two Glens

This was a unique summer in a number of ways. We said goodbye to some of our longest-standing teachers, the renowned artist Kenneth King and Professor Emeritus Michael Herity who directed our Archaeology Summer School for some 29 years. They will be with us again, no doubt, as part of the Oideas Gael family, and next year we will be delighted to welcome some skilled new educators in their place (more on this subject in a future blog). It was wonderful to see so many new participants coming through our doors in 2014, while one new student – Minister of State Joe McHugh, T.D. – attracted much attention to Southwest Donegal. Minister McHugh is not the first well-known guest we have had over the years, of course, and we appreciate some recent praise we received from John Finn, star of the television series Cold Case and the new Tom Collins movie An Bronntanas:

“I had been to Irish classes at the Irish Arts Center in New York over the years, but my visit to Glen was a huge leap and Liam (Ó Cuinneagáin) makes it such a great experience. I want to thank him, Colette (McDevitt), Siobhán (Ní Churraighín), Gearóidín (Nic Ghongail) for all their help.”

Our only disappointment this year was the premature end that came to Beo! (, an online magazine published by Oideas Gael since 2001. Beo! is recognised as one of the most successful and innovative publications in Irish of all time. We warmly welcome, however, RTÉ’s new online news service, the new online newspaper, and the brand new Nós* website that is to be launched soon. Oideas Gael has amassed a wealth of experience and research as result of our 13 years publishing Beo! and we will keep a keen eye on the Irish language media sector over the coming months to ensure that the Irish language community is served well at home and around the world.

The Minister of State with responsibility for the Gaeltacht, Joe McHugh, T.D., awards a Fulbright certificate to Katherine McCormack, 30 July 2014.

The Minister of State Joe McHugh, T.D., awards a Fulbright certificate to Katherine McCormack, 30 July 2014 – his first duty as Minister of State with responsibility for the Gaeltacht.

The Global Gaeltacht

We always enjoy the opportunity to meet our friends worldwide at this time of year. Liam was present at the Féile Interceltique Lorient in Brittany this August. This marked our first visit to the festival and it was indeed a fantastic cultural event. In September Oideas Gael teachers took part in Deireadh Seachtaine Gaeltachta San Francisco, an important event on the US West Coast with which Oideas Gael has a long-established relationship. Afterwards, Liam spoke at the transatlantic Golden Bridges conference in Boston. And, for the first time, the Irish Festival of Oulu, Finland, played host to a Deireadh Seachtaine Gaeilge in cooperation with Oideas Gael.

Looking Backwards, Moving Forwards

Visit our Facebook and Flickr accounts to get a taste of this year’s events.

Our courses have not yet finished for the year 2014, however. We have both a weekend Irish language course and a weekend course in Flute and Whistle Playing to come from 24-27 October, followed by a SCG/OCG Exam Preparation Course for teachers from 26 October – 1 November.

As well as all this, details of our 2015 courses are available on our website now with even more info coming soon on this blog!

The Irish Festival of Oulu

The Irish Festival of Oulu
October 1-5, 2014
Oulu, Finland


The 9th annual Irish Festival of Oulu takes place October 1-5, 2014 in Oulu, Finland. This 5-day event in a surprising location in the very North of Europe showcases the best of Irish culture in signature style, attracting audiences from near and far.

Described by fans as “original, full of craic, welcoming, and intimate”, the 2014 festival has a world-class programme showcasing numerous art forms. The festival is known for bringing in the biggest and the freshest names in the Irish music world, and this year is no exception. Raw Bar Collective, Caitlín Nic Gabhann and Ciarán Ó Maonaigh, and Socks in the Frying Pan team up with the best of the local bands for two scintillating evenings of the best traditional music. For the festival main event, legendary sisters Tríona and Maighréad Ní Dhomhnaill capture audiences with their harmonic songs, prepping the crowds for Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, who make their festival premiere in Finland.

Praised for its versatile programme, the festival includes storytelling for grown-ups and children with Eamonn Keenan, music workshops with top tutors including Anna Barriscale (Ragús) and Caitlín Nic Gabhann (Riverdance), and dance classes for everyone from beginner to advanced competition level. Irish Film Week is a mini film festival within the festival, boasting a programme packed with award-winning films and documentaries. Theatre is a hugely popular part of the festival programme, this year featuring the multi-award winning performance Silent, written and performed by Pat Kinevane. Irish poet John Montague adds his name to the impressive line of eminent Irish poets who have read their poetry at the festival.

An bhfuil Gaeilge agat? Do you speak Irish?

For the first time, there will be an Irish language weekend course in cooperation with Oideas Gael. For the second year, the festival hosts the All Finland GAA football cup with the Oulu Elks vs. Helsinki Harps, the world’s most northern GAA football match. Complementing the concert programme, multiple daily sessions make for a long weekend full of opportunities for musicians to meet and enjoy the best of the Irish music tradition.

Welcome to Oulu, Finland for the northernmost Irish Festival in the world.

For more information, including hotel and ticket packages and travel information, please visit or contact Full Programme published and tickets on sale beginning August 4th.

Oulu, Finland is easy to reach and we look forward to welcoming you.



Future of depends on public response

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The public have an opportunity to help decide the future of the world’s first and longest-running online magazine in the Irish language, Publisher Oideas Gael is asking readers to cast their vote in an online poll that poses the question “Would you be happy to pay €25 per year to enjoy a new, independent”. If you read, or have a view as regards the magazine’s future, it is vitally important that you express your opinion here.

A recent decision to withdraw State funding from has been recognised as a major cause for concern in light of the magazine’s unparalleled success in fostering a large, vibrant international community of readers and in providing over 3,000 high-quality articles over the course of 159 monthly editions since 2001. Oideas Gael is very proud of what has achieved to date and seeks to secure a future for this hugely successful magazine. It is necessary, however, to first establish public support for a new funding model.

Over the past six months has seen 6-7,000 unique users and almost 30,000 pageviews on a monthly basis. The site received 106,969 hits last year, 3,000 more than in 2012. Approximately 70% of the site’s users come from Ireland with the remaining 30% located in countries across the globe. Over a thirteen-year period has succeeded in establishing a first-class cohort of writers. Articles published on the website are also used in a huge quantity of postprimary schools, third level institutions, and adult Irish language classes in Ireland and around the world. The magazine is noted for providing a unique forum for Irish speakers abroad and members of the Irish diaspora around the world to take an active part in a global conversation.

You can cast your vote on the homepage at Oideas Gael also welcomes views and proposals from the public at

Scholarships for Adult Learners of Irish at Oideas Gael

Oideas Gael is pleased to announce scholarship opportunities, supported by Foras na Gaeilge, for adult learners attending Irish language courses in Gleann Cholm Cille and An Coimín, Gleann Fhinne, Co. Donegal. Courses are held weekly from now until the end of August at all levels from absolute beginner to fluent speaker.

Persons awarded scholarships are required to register beforehand with the LÍOFA 2015 scheme, which can be done simply here.

Priority in the selection process will be accorded to those who have not previously had the opportunity to study Irish while at school, or lack the means of attending courses without scholarship assistance.

Applications are invited by telephoning Oideas Gael at +353 74 97 30248 or by contacting the office via e-mail at

Course details can be found at
Oideas Gael wishes to thank Foras na Gaeilge for scholarship funding.

foras logo daite

Step into Columcille’s Sacred Glen: Archaeology Summer School 2014

We’re very excited to bring you this year’s Fr. James McDyer Archaeology Summer School, Saturday, 2 August 2014 — Saturday, 9 August 2014. Here’s why:

1. Location

Earlier this year National Geographic named Gleann Cholm Cille as one of its Top 10 Historical Sites on the island of Ireland.

This remote village in County Donegal is home to numerous megalithic tombs and early Christian sites, as well as the Folk Village Museum depicting furnished thatched cottages from different eras. The best way to learn about the 5,000 years of history here is to attend the weeklong archaeology school offered in August by Oideas Gael and led by eminent archaeologist Michael Herity.

2. Teachers

This year’s school is directed by Emeritus Professor Michael Herity, MRIA, with Dr. Brian Lacey and Dr David MacGuinness. For the first time, we will have three major course contributors who will offer their respective insights as to the Early Christian history of Gleann Cholm Cille.

Last year, the Summer School was a finalist in the National Heritage Week Event Awards.

3. Theme: Columcille’s Sacred Glen

This year’s School is concerned with the life and traditions of Columcille, and the ascetic lives and the mission of early Christian hermits in remote places and on the lonely offshore islands of Ireland and Scotland, from Clear Island and Sceilg Mhichíl in Cork and Kerry to Rathlin O’Birne and Tory and on to Iona, the Papa Isles and the Faeroes.

This course is devised for adults with an interest in field studies. No previous knowledge is required, merely a serious interest in the theme and a desire to participate actively in sessions in the field observing the evidence of the monuments and their context. Over the past 29 years, thoughtful, observant students have experienced the pleasure of discovering new insights for themselves.

You can find the full course details here. Remember you can always e-mail us or contact us via Facebook or Twitter.

Fancy a tune?

Saturday, 19 July — Saturday, 26 July is Oideas Gael’s flagship week for music courses this summer. Following our successful Bodhrán course earlier this year, you now have the chance to get to grips with Irish traditional music through the tin whistle and flute, or the Irish harp. Expert musicians, who also make for understanding teachers, lead these courses:

Flute and Whistle Playing

A leading traditional musician presents an ‘Exploration of Irish Music’ through the flute and whistle, with tuition for beginners and improvers. Workshops will also explain the development and progress of Irish music up to modern times.

The courses, taught by leading Irish musician Maureen McGrattan, aims to focus on the following aspects of Irish Music:

  • Music tuition: A number of daily practical sessions learning simple tunes and dances on the tin whistle and flute.
  • Regional Styles: A musical tour of the country which will focus on the different styles of each region.


Irish Harp

This course is aimed at beginners and improvers, who are interested in acquiring a basic introduction into the origins of the Irish harp tradition while enjoying the group sessions, learning Irish melodies and accompanying some Irish songs.

Beginners will be involved in an enjoyable way of acquiring an introduction into the playing of this traditional Irish instrument while having an opportunity to learn and perform Irish Melodies with other musicians. Improvers will increase and share their musical repertoire, enjoy playing with other harpers while improving their technique.

Oideas Gael will have a limited number of harps available for participants, providing that we have received prior notice.