Students from three schools in Mayo were presented with a Gaelbhratach (Irish flag) at a ceremony in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, this week.Irish debating, interacting with local primary schools in Irish and celebrating Seachtain na Gaeilge are just some of the activities set up and run by student committees in Mayo that were recognised for their promotion of the Irish language.


Run by Gael Linn, ‘Gaelbhratach' is a national initiative that encourages primary and secondary students to speak Irish outside of the formal classroom setting. Students from Mayo attended the ceremony which marked the 10th year of the scheme in post-primary schools.


As part of the ceremony, 67 flags were awarded to post-primary schools from all over Ireland – the highest number of recipients in any one year. Flags were awarded in recognition of their efforts to inspire and empower their school communities to speak Irish.


The schools from Mayo awarded a Gaelbhratach were:


Commenting on the event, Síomha Ní Ruairc, Youth Coordinator with Conradh na Gaeilge, ‘How to Gael’ podcast host, and television presenter said: “I was very lucky to grow up speaking Irish at home with my family. Being able to speak Irish has opened so many doors for me in life, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. The Gaelbhratach scheme is a great way for students to take charge of their own use of the language, bring it into everyday life and make it fun! It’s exciting that young people are starting to see the potential of the language outside of their learning in the classroom. I’m delighted to be at Gaelbhratach to speak on the panel about my experiences in Irish and to meet all of the students receiving their flags.”


Speaking at the awards ceremony, Edel Ní Bhraonáin, Bainisteoir Gaelbhratach said: “We are delighted to be in Mary Immaculate College for the Gaelbhratach awards and to be celebrating 10 years at secondary level, which is a significant milestone for the scheme. Gaelbhratach gives young people of any age or background the opportunity to use and develop their Irish language skills outside of the traditional classroom setting. The programme aims to put the student voice at the centre of their learning through the Gaelbhratach committee. The role of this student-led committee is to direct the Gaelbhratach activities throughout the school year - empowering students in Mayo to take ownership of how and when they use their language.


“We have new schools hoping to join the scheme each year and it’s inspiring to see young people’s passion for the language. The most rewarding part of the scheme is hearing feedback, from students and teachers in Mayo, on how they have integrated the language into their everyday lives and the impact it has had. We’re so appreciative of the dedicated teachers in each school who support and encourage their students on the Gaelbhratach committees.”


As part of the event, Barry Ó Siochrú, the first full-time Irish language officer in the Students' Union, University of Galway hosted a panel discussion with:

  • Síomha Ní Ruairc, Youth Coordinator with Conradh Na Gaeilge, ‘How To Gael’ podcast host, and television presenter;
  • John Prendergast, Language Planning Officer, Tobar Dhuibhne, former Fulbright scholar and Ireland Canada University Foundation student;
  • Abbey Shiels, goalkeeper for Dublin LGFA’s senior women’s team; and
  • Cian Mac Coisteala, student at Mary Immaculate College.


A number of workshops to demonstrate the fun, creative ways in which Gaeilge can be used were held including Biongó Lócó, a game of bingo like you've never seen, Craic le Ceoil, spinning a modern take on our favourite Irish tunes, “Na Dúshláin”, you've heard of I'm a celebrity, well this takes it to another level of challenges, and our in-house Cinema with Irish short films including some of Hollywood's biggest stars!


Gaelbhratach is an Irish language scheme focused on promoting Irish in primary and secondary schools around the country. Each year, Gaelbhratach organises the post-primary Gaelbhratach Awards Ceremony to celebrate the significant contributions made by teachers and students around the country towards the promotion of the Irish language in their schools.


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