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Aonad na Gaeilge

Micheal O Suilleabhain

Aonad na Gaeilge, the Irish Language Centre at the University of Limerick, was established in 2001. The Centre is housed in the School of English, Irish, and Communication in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences but it has a campus-wide remit. The offices of Dr. Deirdre Ní Loingsigh, Stiúrthóir na Gaeilge and Ciara Considine, Oifigeach Margaíochta agus Riarthóir Feidhmiúcháin are in the Languages Building next to the Irish language social space, Seomra na Gaeilge. This is a hub for Aonad na Gaeilge activities on campus.

Our focus is on supporting the Irish language community at UL and on nurturing University links with the Irish language community in the region and in Gaeltacht areas. Much of our work in the earlier years was on the design of teaching and learning materials for adult learners of Irish and on language pedagogy. This work is ongoing but a more recent focus of both our research and practice has been on the Irish language beyond the classroom and on the language support infrastructure required by those who wish to become speakers of Irish. We acknowledge the ongoing support of the Higher Education Authority under the Scheme 'Special Provision for the Support of the Irish language' for our programme of initiatives.

The success of Aonad na Gaeilge teaching and learning initiatives has grown out of its strong collaboration with colleagues working in modern languages and applied linguistics since its establishment in 2001. These links are maintained through involvement in the Centre for Applied Language Studies (CALS), involvement in delivering the Professional Masters in Education (Languages) programme, and through Computer-Mediated Communication initiatives with the UL Language Learning Hub. The Centre also has close links with the Irish World Academy and with Graduate & Professional Studies.

Aonad na Gaeilge is currently involved in the following  core activities:

  • the promotion of the Irish language and Irish language activities in UL;
  • the delivery and organisation of Irish language courses at various levels for students and staff (including Gaeltacht courses);
  • support for Irish-medium teaching and research in the University;
  • support services for the University’s academic courses in Irish;
  • the management of the Irish language social space at Seomra na Gaeilge in the Languages Building;
  • coordination of Coiste na Gaeilge, UL activities;
  • advisory function in relation to good practice in supporting Irish as a minority language in the workplace context;
  • research on language advising and on the language support requirements of adult learners and new speakers of Irish; and
  • advisory function in relation to the implementation of a bilingual policy at the University and the provisions of the Official Languages Act, 2003 at UL. 


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