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The Real World Value Of Ireland’s Indigenous Language And Culture

Éire – Going Beyond The Ireland Straitjacket

Numerous experts in the area of language tourism have pointed to the failure of the Irish state to promote and exploit Ireland’s indigenous language and culture to encourage would-be Irish learners from Europe, North America and elsewhere to visit the country. Instead it has been left to a host of ad hoc, mostly voluntary groups to do the work of encouraging Irish language education around the world. However, in recent times, with the dramatic fall in overseas tourism, this niche, and potentially lucrative, market has gained renewed importance. Indeed, one example of this is the huge growth of interest in Irish that has taken root in Canada, a market that Ireland’s tourism promoters have long had a difficulty cracking.

From comes this announcement:

“The Ireland Canada University Foundation offers an annual programme of scholarly exchange awards open to all academic disciplines, between the universities of Canada and Ireland.

With funding from the National Lottery and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Foundation provides scholarly awards designed to support the teaching of the Irish language in certain Canadian universities.

For the nine month period, September 2012- May 2013, ICUF wishes to appoint Irish Language Instructors to universities including:

University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, Ontario

University of Toronto, Ontario Concordia University

Montreal, Quebec, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia

St. Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick Memorial University

St. John’s, Newfoundland University of Ottawa, Ontario

These awards enable teachers to participate in the Irish language instruction programme at a Canadian university, and will also provide individuals with the opportunity to refine their teaching skills and extend their knowledge of Canadian society and culture, enriching their teaching work on their return to Ireland.

Further information on the awards, the terms and conditions and application forms are available on 

For enquiries and further details please email: “

The last seven years has seen a steady rise in the level of funding for Irish language education and scholarships in Canada, partly supported by the Government of Ireland and various Canadian universities. There has also been a growing number of Canadian and US students studying Irish in colleges and universities around Ireland. With the government searching for new and imaginative ways to create sustainable industries in Ireland, as well as promoting our national language and culture, what better form of sustainability for our economy and language can there be than investing in people?

Not only does it bring valuable revenues to the economy, and future generations of potential visitors, but it spreads the Irish language around the world, enriching and enlarging the pool of Irish speakers. It has worked for Spain, France, Portugal and even Israel. Why would it not work for us?

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