An increase in primary education through the medium of Irish is reflected in the growing number of Gaelscoileanna nationwide.
Ten years ago Bord na Gaeilge says there were 64 primary Gaelscoileanna in Ireland and now there are more than double that number.
Founded in 1996 Gaelscoil Chnoc na Ré began life in the Presbyterian Hall on Church Street in Sligo with one teacher and twenty two pupils. In September 1998 it moved to prefabricated classrooms at St Mary’s GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) Club in Ballydoogan, and now has four teachers and ninety three pupils.
Principal Gina Ní Lionsigh says that the ability to easily learn a language in early childhood means children will continue to enjoy it throughout their lives,
Children develop a love and appreciation for the language...I think they will actually enjoy the subject rather than see it as a chore.
Parent Eamonn Lawless believes that exposure to the Irish language at this stage of their lives adds another strand to a child’s development,
It gives them an idea of not just having one way of looking at the world, but a second way.
Mayor of Sligo Rosaleen O’Grady is also praises the school and its teachers. She knows from personal experience that a child’s total immersion in the language has benefits for all the family,
I as a parent, who would only have the cúpla focal, I am now learning from my daughter.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 15 September 1999. The reporter is Eileen Magnier.