According to tradition, Kintyre is where St Columba or Calum Cille, first set foot in what is now Scotland. On the 27th and 28th of June, a special two day conference will explore the heritage of the saint in Kintyre and Argyll. It will also discuss how best to develop the St Columba Trail to encourage heritage and cultural tourism in Argyllshire and to promote stronger links between communities in the west of Ireland and Scotland. The conference will be in the Ardshiel Hotel, Campbeltown, Argyll, and is organised by the Islands Book Trust, along with Colmcille, a partnership programme between Foras na Gaeilge in Ireland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig in Scotland. A special sailing of the Kintyre Express will bring visitors from Ballycastle.
Those attending will be coming together to listen to St Columba experts from both sides of the Irish Sea. This is an inclusive event open to everyone, whatever their backgrounds. It will be a great opportunity to learn about the huge influence Columba had over the region and the enduring cultural and linguistic links between Scotland and Ireland. Speakers will include Brian Morton writer and journalist, Rachel Butter and Alasdair Whyte from the University of Glasgow and Colm O Cuaig of NUI Galway to name a few. Some talks will be in Gaelic or Irish, with simultaneous translation into English. There will also be a ceilidh, book launch, and visit to local sites associated with Columba.
People can attend for the whole event, half days, or individual sessions, and prices have been kept low to encourage as many as possible to come along, including from the local community. Conference organisers are particularly keen to encourage engagement from both Ireland and Scotland and as such have organised a special sailing of the Kintyre Express from Ballycastle to Campeltown on the morning of Saturday 27th June and returning again that evening at no extra cost to delegates (places available on a first come first served basis).
In addition to this a limited number of scholarships are available to cover the costs of travel to the conference for delegates from Ireland and Scotland (outside of mainland Argyll). Those interested, should e-mail either Daibhidh Boag at Bòrd na Gàidhlig Daibhidh@gaidhlig.org.uk, if applying from Scotland or, Maolcholaim Scott of Foras na Gaeilge email@example.com, if applying from Ireland.
For more information or to book please contact Mairi at The Islands Book Trust on 01851 830316 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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At events on Monday 25 May and Tuesday 26 May in Tralee Education Centre, awards were presented to some of the 1582 pupils from Kerry who conceived of, designed and published their own books in Irish as part of Foras na Gaeilge’s Scríobh Leabhar (Write a Book) scheme. Caitríona Ní Shúilleabháin, a judge on the television programme Glór Tíre and a member of the Foras na Gaeilge Board, presented the awards.
Pupils from nineteen schools in the Kerry area took part in Scríobh Leabhar, among up to 6,500 primary school pupils throughout Ireland who wrote a story of their own in Irish about a vast variety of subjects. Scríobh Leabhar is organised in this area through Tralee Education Centre in conjunction with Foras na Gaeilge, the body responsible for the promotion of the Irish language. There will be other events similar these ceremonies celebrating the achievements of children throughout the country.
More than 35,000 pupils have taken part in the Scríobh Leabhar project since it was set up in the 2006/2007 school year. Not only do the pupils write their own books as part of this project but they also have the opportunity to read other children’s stories from other schools. The teachers also have a central role in the Scríobh Leabhar project and they are given an inservice course with a view to helping them to assist their pupils in their efforts.
“This is a great opportunity for children to enjoy Irish and at the same time express their imagination,” said Aedín Ní Bhroin, Director of Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge (Irish Language Books Programme), Foras na Gaeilge. “They write about all kinds of subjects, from their holidays with their family, their adventures with their friends, their pets and the wide world through their own eyes. Not only does this scheme allow them to create their own book, both writing and decorating it, but it is a great way also to increase their confidence and their ability in Irish”, she said.
Foras na Gaeilge organises the Scríobh Leabhar in conjunction with several Education Centres, including Mayo Education Centre, Clare Education Centre, West Cork Education Centre, West Dublin Education Centre, Carrick-on-Shannon Education Centre, Laois Education Centre, Tralee Education Centre, and Gort an Choirce Teachers’ Centre.
“One of our main aims is that children will be writing and speaking Irish from an early age and this project promotes this aim effectively and efficiently and pupils enjoy writing their own books”, said Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh, CEO of Foras na Gaeilge. “We are obliged to the Education Centres involved. They are to be praised, as well as the pupils and the teachers for the great success of the project”, he said.
Caitríona Ní Chullota, Director of Tralee Education Centre said, “The Education Centre, Tralee is delighted to promote, support and further develop the Scríobh Leabhar initiative in partnership with the other agencies and organisations involved.
The initiative affords the child an exciting opportunity for expression through the medium of Irish, it promotes collaboration between school communities, introduces the concept of peer review to students and above all it fosters creativity and a holistic approach to the development of the child.”
Anna Davitt, Programme Manager: Communication, Marketing and Awareness
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