A LITTLE part of East Limerick was turned into the West of Ireland for a week.
Murroe-Boher GAA club through its Irish officer, Helen Regan, organised a five day activity camp as Gaeilge.
In these recessionary times not every parent can afford to send their children to the Gaeltacht during the summer. And it gets even harder if there are a number of children around the same age. The club backed the idea 100 per cent and their first camp attracted 19 teenagers - all girls.
Mrs Regan said it costs between €850 and €950 to send a child for three weeks to the Gaeltacht.
While they charged just €50 for the week.“I know that when you are in the Gaeltacht you are immersed in Irish from the moment you arrive to until you leave.
“Our idea was to provide activities for first and second years through Irish, and improve their conversational Irish in a fun environment. At that age they are gone too old for soccer camps or GAA camps,” explained Mrs Regan.
It was co-ordinated by Martina McNamara, a qualified Irish teacher, and fifth year girls acted as mentors to groups of three or four to pass on their language skills.
Harty Park in Murroe village was the venue. They played tag rugby, made Irish signs promoting Féile na nGael which is being hosted in Limerick this weekend, practiced healthy eating options, played rounders, bingo, drama, poc fada and football and hurling skills.
All through our native tongue.
As there were no boys involved, Boots staff even gave a full skin care routine and make up advice.
“They packed a lot in to the week,” said Mrs Regan, who hoped the girls picked up Irish without even knowing it.She stressed the importance of being able to speak the Irish language due to the changes in the Junior and Leaving Certificate in recent years.
The oral exam counts for a whopping 40 per cent in both exams.
The feedback has been very positive from the girls and their parents who really “bought into the concept”.
Other clubs are taking up Murroe-Boher GAA club’s initiative as well.
“We will do it again. I have mentioned it to others as well.
“It is no substitue for the Gaeltacht but it is a new angle to encourage the kids to speak Irish,” said Mrs Regan, who wished to thank Murroe-Boher GAA club for all their support, and everyone who made the week such a success.