Gaming, knitting and hip-hop: This Irish course brings the language into 2021 for adults

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Even writing this piece, I struggled to find the cúpla focal to spread throughout, in looking to make wink-and-nod references to some long-forgotten aspect of an Irish-language education that, for one reason or another, just didn’t connect with many of us.

Scoil Scairte (Hedge School – a reference to informal Irish education throughout colonial history), a new course for adults curious about rediscovering the language by writer, television presenter and Irish-language revivalist Manchán Magan, aims to address all the well-worn criticisms, by presenting the language in action, not as an abstract or something to be endured, but in the current cultural context.

Singer and songwriter Eithne Ní Catháin, aka Inni-K - one of the co-hosts of the course
Singer and songwriter Eithne Ní Catháin, aka Inni-K – one of the co-hosts of the course

Operating online over nine weeks, Scoil Scairte mixes culture, ecology, and heritage with music, poetry and gaming among other pursuits, including contributions from a wide variety of guest lecturers and performers, including Belfast rap rabble-rousers Kneecap, co-host and singer-songwriter Inni-K, videogames streamer/writer Úna-Minh Kavanagh, and journalist/film-maker Ola Majekodunmi.

As well as the main programme, the course offers online breakaway rooms to work collaboratively on exercises, as well as homework and further support.

“I believe passionately that the Irish language can steer us back to what truly matters,” says Magan, “allowing us to make sense of an increasingly chaotic world by reintroducing us to the mysterious glories of the natural world and the subterranean existence to all things. 

“The seeds of wisdom, ease and sustainability are contained within the language and now is the time to share this wisdom as widely as possible.”

  • Scoil Scairte starts this Thursday night, and runs for the next nine weeks. 
  • Tickets €225 available from The Trailblazery.
  • Support for the course comes from Forás na Gaeilge

Who’s on the course?

Irish language revivalist Manchan Magan pictured on top of Croagh Patrick in Mayo.
Irish language revivalist Manchan Magan pictured on top of Croagh Patrick in Mayo.
  • Eithne Ní Chatháin, aka Inni-K (singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist​​)
  • Dr. Louis de Paor (Poet, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway)
  • Annemarie Ní Churreáin (poet, writer, mentor)
  • Kneecap (hip-hop trio)
  • Úna-Minh Kavanagh (journalist, gamer, forager)
  • Timmy Creed (actor, writer, theatre-maker)
  • Róise Goan (artistic director, producer, writer)
  • Dr. Margaret Ann Noodin (American poet, Anishinaabemowin language teacher, Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee)
  • Ola Majekodunmi (journalist, commentator, filmmaker)