Emerald Isle Irish culture adventure Part 2

January 22, 2014

Learning & understanding Irish language, music, dance and sports was an essential part of the Irish cultural adventure. 

On January 22, students arrived at the UCD Applied Language Centre, where they were divided into two groups. An Irish language teacher began by giving some background on the history and development of the Irish language, and then taught the student some basic Irish words and phrases. Students quickly learned different kinds of polite phrases and thanked their teacher. Irish and English are both official languages of Ireland. Irish is part of the Celtic group of languages, which includes Scots Gaelic, Cornish, Welsh and Breton.

After the language class, the students went to an Irish dancing class in a multi-media room. Irish music and dance are two of the most established forms of traditional Irish culture and are renowned throughout the world. During the dance class, three UCD students used traditional Irish instruments to play. Students then learned some basic Irish dancing moves, under the guidance of an instructor. The cheerful music contributed to the great atmosphere and the visiting BDIC students participated in learning a group dance.

During the visit, students also went to the Na Fianna GAA club to learn about Ireland's two most popular native sports, Gaelic Football and Hurling. The students were very enthusiastic in spite of getting a bit wet during the incessant rain. Under the guidance of a trainer, students learned basic skills and then divided into two groups for a match. Holding hurls (the stick used to hit the ball), students ran and scored repeatedly on the green grass field.  Hurling is a national sport that only involves amateur players. The sport of Hurling can be traced back to the beginning of the Christian era in the 5th century and is the fastest field sport in the world.

Through these educational experiences outside of the classroom, students were able to learn about the exotic charm of the rich and varied Irish culture. Students expressed their heartfelt hope that they would have the opportunity to teach Irish teachers and students about the rich and varied cultural traditions of China, become youth ambassadors between China and Ireland, and contribute to friendship, learning from each other and deepening understanding.