Thirty-five students from Europe, Japan and the United States of America are learning Irish in the heart of the Connemara Gaeltacht.
Organised by the University of Ireland, Galway, the intensive month-long course is taking place in the Irish language centre, Áras Mháirtín Uí Chadhain, in An Cheathrú Rua. The students are attending the course for a variety of reasons. Some have an in interest in minority languages for teaching or research purposes; others are there because they have Irish ancestry.
Many of the students can speak more Irish than English including Naoichiro Hirashima from Japan. Ramon Lletche, a baker from Barcelona in Spain and Californian architect Bill Dias can only communicate with each other through Irish, as Ramon has virtually no English and Bill does not speak Spanish.
Ramon decided to learn Irish after he saw programmes on Spanish television about Ireland and the Irish language. Bill is learning Irish because he has Irish ancestry on his mother's side. As part of her Celtic studies course Dorothee Tratnick from Germany mastered Scots Gaelic and hopes to eventually teach Irish at university. Karen Hansson from Sweden however, is just learning Irish for fun. She is a big fan of U2 and from there developed an interest in Ireland and Irish.
Virtually all of the pupils attending the course are determined to continue learning Irish until they become fluent enough to speak or teach it.
In a break from the intensive spoken Irish classes, teacher Bríd Ní Mháille leads the class in a rousing rendition of the popular Irish folk song 'Peigín Leitir Móir'.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 19 August 1987. The reporter is Jim Fahy.