Gaelchultúr, based in Dublin, will offer Irish language classes online from the middle of May.

Editor's Note: The following was written and submitted to IrishCentral by Maitiú Ó Coimín, the editor of NÓS magazine, where a version of this article originally appeared in Irish.

Irish Americans who wish to improve their knowledge of the Irish language, or begin learning from scratch, will be welcomed to live online classes being run by Dublin-based education institute Gaelchultúr from the middle of May. 

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Gaelchultúr, based in Dublin’s city centre, is one of the most highly regarded institutes of Irish language education in Ireland, and have been running courses at varying levels for many years in the city and surrounding counties. 

The college had to close its doors on the 12 of March when the Irish government issued an order to educational institutions to shut their doors in an attempt to stay the spread of the coronavirus throughout the state. Gaelchultúr quickly scrambled to transfer its in-house courses to an online format and within two weeks had most of their courses up and running over the internet. 

The global crisis, while hampering the physical in-class lessons, has opened a new world of opportunity for educators in the Dublin college. It recently announced that its entire summer semester of classes will be conducted live online, and that the courses will be made available to learners all around the world. 

Gaelchultúr promises “the most comprehensive online Irish course that has ever been made” and to cater to learners of all levels of proficiency. There will be classes for complete beginners, for those who have some Irish, for fluent speakers, and for those who want to improve their grammatical accuracy in the language. 

The eight levels of classes are as follows: Begginers, Elementary, Lower Intermediate, Upper Intermediate, Advanced 1, Advanced 2, Accuracy in Irish 1, and Accuracy in Irish 2. 

Each class will last two hours, and be held once a week for ten weeks. All you need to attend is a headset with a microphone, a laptop, or a desktop computer, and a reasonably good broadband connection. 

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“Gaelchultúr’s evening classes have been going from strength to strength in recent years and we are delighted that we will now be able to offer Irish classes to learners throughout the world. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting your language learning journey or if you want to perfect your language skills, we have a class for everyone, and this is a great way to make the most of this period when we are all staying at home,” said Éamonn Ó Dónaill, Director of Education at Gaelchultúr. 

The emphasis is placed on the spoken language in Gaelchultúr’s courses and they promise no change to their “encouraging, fun, and learner-centered learning environment” in the switch to online education. 

“Highly qualified teachers will be teaching the classes and, even though the learners will not be in the same room, the classes will be very interactive. There will be plenty of opportunities to speak in the classes – learners will work either in pairs or in groups and will have the chance to raise a virtual hand and ask the teacher questions orally. A digital booklet will be sent to the learners before the start of the course and they will be able to use that material during the classes and to do further study from week to week,” a spokesperson for the college explained.

The classes will be run both during the week and at the weekend to cater for different life and work schedules. 

A sample class is being held for people who are interested in signing up for Gaelchultúr’s classes but are unsure if the online model will suit their needs. ‘A Taste of Irish’ is being held between 15.00 and 17.00 Irish time on Saturday, May 9. 

Further information about the new online courses is available on Gaelchultúr’s website

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