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10 Jul 2017

The dust may barely have settled on Armagh’s biggest Irish Language Summer Camp, but already the tributes are pouring in. Parents, relatives, children and teachers have inundated social media networks with tributes to the organisers of Campa Mhacha 2017 – the only all-Irish summer camp in Armagh City. This year’s camp, which is organised by Irish language collective, CAIRDE Teo, attracted 90 children from Irish medium primary schools in the area. Organisers have expressed delight at the overwhelming response to this year’s event, particularly following the high-profile withdrawal of some of the funding.

The primary aim of Campa Mhacha is to encourage local children to use their command of spoken Irish outside the school environment. Due to the growth in numbers applying to participate, Campa Mhacha was this year divided into two different sub-camps and children were allocated their places within Camp based upon their age group. Children attending Rang 1 to Rang 3 attended Campa 1, while pupils from Rang 4 to Rang 7 attended Campa 2.

The younger children enjoyed two great days at Eamhain Mhacha/The Navan Centre on Monday and Tuesday, with nature trails, arts and crafts and a music and dance workshop with Eoin Ó Ceallaigh and Adam Costa. As well as that, they also visited Oxford Island and enjoyed a boat trip around a sunny Kinnegoe Marina and took on the challenge of the superb Junior Skypark in Carlingford. The older group took part in a screenprinting workshop with Ciarán Ó Conboirne in Carlingford, visited numerous sites of importance in Carlingford, enjoyed an Irish language tour of Epic museum in Dublin, which focuses on emigration and the influence of the Irish diaspora across the world. The camp was rounded off with a visit to the fantastic Exploris aquarium in Portaferry. All  workshops, activities and interaction with the children were delivered through the medium of Irish.

In recent years CAIRDE Teo has taken responsibility for coordination and delivery of Campa Mhacha. Team Campa Mhacha is staffed by professional teachers, youth workers and a community development team with many years of experience in delivering recreational projects for young people. All camp staff are fully qualified and trained to professional standards and all are vetted in accordance with legislation.

The Camp received partial financial assistance from the Education Authority Youth Service and received donations from Gael Linn and from former Lord Mayor, Councillor Garath Keating. CAIRDE Teo would like to offer their thanks to the all the Camp teachers and assistants, to Eoin and Adam, Ciarán Ó Conboirne, to the staff at the Navan Centre, Kinnegoe Marina, Skypark, Epic Museum, Exploris aquarium, and to Jerome McCarthy from Jerome’s Coach Hire.

Finally, CAIRDE would also like to say a huge thank you to all of the children who took part in the Camp and who contributed so much in terms of their participation, joy, enthusiasm and energy. Maith sibh a pháistí agus bainigí úsáid as an Ghaeilge ar feadh an tsamhraidh uilig.