Gael Linn and CAIRDE Teo were delighted to be among the guests of honour at a recent awards ceremony in St Patrick’s College, Armagh when Niall Comer, President of Comhaltas Uladh, presented ‘Sciath Mhic Giolla Bhríde’ (Ashbourne Shield) to the pupils of the College’s Irish Department. The shield is presented annually and recognises ‘Excellence and Proficiency in Spoken Irish in Secondary Schools in the North of Ireland’.
Speaking at the occasion, Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, Regional Manager of Gael Linn, congratulated everyone in the Irish Department on winning the highly coveted shield. The occasion was marked in the school with a presentation ceremony and musical accompaniment by students from the school’s traditional music department and their teacher Ms Mackle. In attendance at the event were the new school principal, Mr Clarke, and a host of teachers and pupils from the school’s Gaelic speaking community, as well as representatives from Comhaltas Uladh Chonradh na Gaeilge, CAIRDE Teo and Gael Linn.
Head of Irish at St Patrick’s, Mr Mark Harte, congratulated his students on the fine achievement and the hard work which had led to their success. He asked the boys to recommit themselves to speaking and promoting the Irish language in a bid to win the shield ‘back to back’ next year.
Neil Comer delivered the main oration and paid tribute to the school’s Irish Department and acknowledged the work of Mr Harte and his colleagues in nurturing and sustaining the Irish ethos in the school and in the surrounding community. Mr Comer presented the shield on behalf of Comhaltas Uladh and wished the staff and students every continued success in their efforts to promote the Irish language.
Réamonn Ó Ciaráin congratulated the teachers and students on the latest recognition for the promotion of Irish at the school and outlined the work ongoing in the local community to promote and develop Irish as a living community language in Armagh City, where the native tongue has been spoken continuously for over 2000 years. He highlighted the opportunities for employment and training that will become available for Irish speaking students when the new ‘cultúrlann Aonach Mhacha’ opens in the Shambles in 2018.
School Principal, Mr Clarke, added his congratulations and expressed his pride in the boys’ achievements.