Minister of Arts, Heritage, & the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D. welcomed the first group of Gaeltacht Summer Awardees to Ireland in Ballyferriter, Co. Kerry this week. These awards from the Ireland - United States Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange offer US citizens, currently studying Irish in the United States, grants to participate in Irish language courses in Ireland’s Gaeltachtaí during the summer.

The Awards are supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and the National Lottery.
The 30 awardees will attend two week or month long courses in four schools: Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Carraroe, Co. Galway, International Summer School, National University of Ireland, Galway, Carraroe, Co. Galway, Oideas Gael, Glencolumbkille, Co. Donegal, Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne, Ballyferriter, Co. Kerry.
Awardees have received a monetary award, which covers tuition and accommodation for the course of their choice in Ireland, but are responsible for their own travel and other related costs.
Commenting on the awards, the Minister of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D. said, “I am delighted that in this Gathering year the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in partnership with the Fulbright Commission can bring 30 Americans to Ireland to further develop their understanding of the Irish language and to experience the wealth of culture and heritage that the Gaeltachtaí have to offer.

“These Gaeltacht Summer Awards are an innovative and worthwhile initiative to promote the Irish language and create a sustainable cultural tourism offering. They are instrumental in forming connections between Ireland and the US and a lifelong interest and understanding of Ireland’s unique language and culture. I am delighted to extend a ‘céad mile fáilte’ to the 30 awardees who will be visiting us this summer.”

Speaking about the awards, Colleen Dube, Executive Director of the Ireland – United States [Fulbright] Commission for Educational Exchange said “The Gaeltacht Summer Awards, now in their third year, have gone from strength to strength. This year we had a twofold increase in the number of applicants and partner institutions.
“The Gaeltacht Summer Awards scheme offers US citizens an unparalleled immersion experience in Ireland’s rich heritage. The courses offer not only language learning, but excursions, traditional Irish music and story-telling in some of Ireland’s most captivating locations.
“The Gaeltacht Summer Awards are instrumental in supporting Irish language learners in the US while also providing tangible economic benefits to Ireland. Each of the 30 awardees has not only invested time in coming to Ireland, but their own finances on international airfares, additional travel, accommodation and entertainment costs while in Ireland. These awards are a superb example of private – public partnership in the cultural tourism sector.
“We are quite sure this year’s awardees will thrive and benefit enormously from their immersion in Gaeltacht courses around the country. We have no doubt they will share their experiences with many others in their home states which include Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania.”
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Minister of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., are seven of this year's 30 winners of a Gaeltacht Summer Award who are spending time studying Irish at Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne, Ballyferriter.Domnick Walsh