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  Preasráiteas 
Instonian to be UCD's Professor of Irish
 
 The Governing Authority of University College Dublin at their first meeting of the current academic session has appointed Joseph Watson as Professor of Modern Irish, a historic Celtic Faculty chair which dates from the foundation of the National University.  Professor Watson was head boy at RBAI ('Inst') during 1961-62  from where he won an open scholarship in Classics to King's College, Cambridge.  He carried out postgraduate work thereafter in Celtic at Edinburgh University and the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and, following a period in the Irish Civil Service, was appointed to the Dept of Modern Irish at UCD in 1970. 

As Seosamh  Watson, he is familiar to students and scholars of Irish language and literature on account of numerous academic, as well as more popular, books and articles.  While research fellow and visiting and professor in Canadian universities he has made a special linguistic study of the Scottish Highlanders' culture in Nova Scotia and is particularly interested in connections between Ulster and Gaelic Scotland.  Mapping language has always been one of his passions and, as a founding member of the International Society for Dialectology and Geolinguistics, Professor Watson is joint editor of the multi-volume UNESCO Atlas Linguarum Europae, published in the University of Florence. 

Committed Irish-speakers and prominent members of Ireland's Bahá'í religious community, he and his wife, Dr Vivien Hick of the National Museum of Ireland, have raised and educated their family, 3 girls and 3 boys, through the medium of Irish.  As an important practical step in helping to share the Irish language and culture with people of all backgrounds in Ireland, Britain and worldwide  the setting up of the highly successful Oideas Gael  adult learning institution in Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal, was a move in which Watson was instrumental.  Programmes there are attended now by over 1,000 participants annually: last year President McAleese enrolled with Oideas Gael. 

Dean since 1995 of UCD's prestigious Celtic Studies Faculty which comprises, Archaeology, Irish Folklore, Early Irish, Modern Irish, Welsh and Early Irish History, Professor Watson is probably the first Instonian to attain academic prominence in Irish since the school's early days when scholars such as Dr JamesMcDonnell, Rev. William Neilson and Robert McAdam were familiar and respected figures in the intellectual life of Belfast - over 100 years ago.  
 
 

 

'Instonian' ina ollamh le Gaeilge ag UCD

Ag a chéad chruinniú den bhliain reatha acadúil tá Údarás Rialaithe an Choláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath i ndiaidh Seosamh Watson a cheapadh mar Ollamh le Teanga agus Litríocht na Nua-Ghaeilge.  Ollúnacht stairiúil atá i gceist a tháinig ann le bunú Ollscoil na hÉireann.  Bhí an tOllamh Watson ina phríomhchinnire scoile ag RBAI ('Inst') le linn 1961-62 agus bhain sé amach scoláireacht oscailte sna Sean-Chlasaicí i gColáiste an Rí, Ollscoil Cambridge.  Ina dhiaidh sin chuaigh sé i mbun taighde iarchéime sa Léann Ceilteach in Olllscoil Dhún Éideann agus mar scoláire in Institiúid Ard-Léinn Bhaile Átha Cliath agus ar dó tréimhse a chaitheamh i Státseirbhís na hÉireann ceapadh é i Roinn na Nua-Ghaeilge i UCD. 

Tá eolas ar Sheosamh Watson in Éirinn agus i dtíortha thar lear de thairbhe leabhar agus alt éagsúil ar léann na Gaeilge, macasamhail Mac na Míchomhairle, Oidhreacht Ghleann Cholm Cille agus Féilscríbhinn Thomáis de Bhaldraithe.   Le linn dó bheith ina chomhalta taighde agus ina ollamh cuairte in Ollscoileanna de chuid Cheanada rinne sé staidéar ar leith ar chultúr Ghaeil na hAlban in Albain Nua agus cuireann sé suim ar leith sna gnéithe teanga a cheanglaíonn Cúige Uladh agus Alba.  Is é mian a chroí a bheith ag cur canúintí agus tréithe teanga ar léarscáil agus, mar bhall bunaithe den International Society for Dialectology and Geolinguistics, tá an tOllamh Watson ina chomheagarthóir ar imleabhair an Atlas Linguarum Europae  de chuid UNESCO a fhoilsítear in Ollscoil Fhlórans.  

Cainteoirí Gaeilge iad a chreideann go láidir i dtodhchaí na teanga Seosamh agus a bhean, an Dr Vivien Hick atá ina Leas-Choimeádaí in Ard-Mhúsaem na hÉireann.  Baineann siad beirt le pobal creidimh Bahá'í na hÉireann agus tógadh a dtriúr iníonacha agus a dtriúr mac le Gaeilge, teanga a bhfuair siad uilig a gcuid scolaíochta inti chomh maith.  

Mar chéim phraiticiúil le teanga agus cultúr na Gaeilge a roinnt le daoine de gach cúlra in Éirinn, sa Bhreatain agus ar fud an domhain bhí páirt lárnach ag an Ollamh Watson i mbunú Oideas Gael i nGleann Cholm Cille, Co. Dhún na nGall, i mbliain 1984, eagraíocht a bhfuil an-rath uirthi le fada i réimse oideachais aosaigh, agus corradh agus 1,000 duine ag freastal ar a cuid imeachtaí ansin gach bliain: ghlac Uachtarán na hÉireann páirt i gcúrsa Odeas Gael anuraidh . 

Tá Watson ina Dhéan ó 1995 anall ar Dhámh iomráiteach an Léinn Cheiltigh in UCD, ar a n-áirítear Ranna Seandálaíochta, Bhéaloideas Éireann, Sean-Ghaeilge, Nua-Ghaeilge, Breatnaise agus Sean-Stair na hÉireann.  Dealraítear gurb é Seosamh Watson an chéad duine ó 'Inst' le hardcháil acadúil a bhaint amach sa Ghaeilge ó laetha tosaigh na meánscoile sin tráth a bhí scoláirí mar an Dr Séamas Mac Domhnaill, an tUrr. William Neilson agus Roibeárd 'an Ciúin' Mac Ádhaimh ina bpearsana measúla i measc intleachtóirí chathair Bhéal Feirste - os cionn 100 bliain ó shin. 
 

Issued by the Office of Public Affairs, UCD. 20 November 1998. 
 

 
 
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