The Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies has recently received an award from the Irish Government to support the teaching of Irish Language and Literature at Aberystwyth. An award of 93,000EUR will been made to Aberystwyth University over the next three years though an Irish government program which supports the teaching of Modern Irish. The award will also be used to create a number of language scholarships allowing Aberystwyth students to attend summer courses in an Irish-speaking area in Ireland.
Irish language and literature is a key focus in the work of the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies. Uniquely in Britain, Aberystwyth offers a joint honours degree scheme in Irish. The language also forms a core element in the Celtic Studies degree scheme and a popular option for those pursuing a degree in Welsh also. Irish at Aberystwyth is not a recent phenomenon, more than any other British university it has a strong tradition of Irish language studies. Staff of the Department have produced much important research over the years, but the most popular work is probably J. E. Caerwyn Williams’s The Irish Literary Tradition which has been published in Irish, Welsh and English, and is still used as the main textbook for Irish literature students in Irish universities. Williams was Chair of Irish at Aberystwyth between 1965 and 1979. More recently, the Department has forged links with Irish learners across Wales and England, providing regular teaching and support to groups based in Manchester, the West Midlands and London.
On the announcement of the award, Peadar Ó Muircheartaigh, Lecturer in Celtic Studies, said: ‘The award is a recognition of the high profile and hard work of Aberystwyth colleagues over the years in the study and teaching of Irish language and literature. This and our location in a strongly Welsh-speaking area make it an excellent choice for Celtic Studies students’.
Cathryn Charnell-White, Head of Welsh and Celtic Studies said ‘We are particularly pleased that the award will allow us to set us a named scholarship scheme allowing students to experience the Irish language in its heartland, and to bring that experience back to Aberystwyth with them’.
Further details on the student scholarships will be made available in due course.