Sunday 11 December 2016

Summer schools are a chance to chase Gaeltacht memories of stolen kisses and forbidden Béarla

John Daly

Published 30/07/2016 | 02:30

Kept in check by a ferocious Bean an Tí, who unashamedly scanned necks for love bites at breakfast, summer days morphed into some of our dearest youthful memories (Stock image)
Kept in check by a ferocious Bean an Tí, who unashamedly scanned necks for love bites at breakfast, summer days morphed into some of our dearest youthful memories (Stock image)

It's probably the heat, but I've had a right yen for some cultural enlightenment these last few weeks. At this mid-point of the holiday season, the prospect of venturing to my first ever summer school seems like an intriguing horizon to investigate - certainly more attractive than tending the garden or wallowing in the mud at a music festival.

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Invariably billed as "a distinctive part of what we are" - whatever that means - the schedule of schools around the country seems akin to a Premier League table, ranging from the bold to the brightest, with hopefully the odd Cinderella-like Leicester City added to spice the pot. From Clew Bay to Beara and across to the Saltees, the choice on offer is vast, ranging across cultural legends like Goldsmith, Synge, Joyce, Bram Stoker, Patrick MacGill and Gerard Manley Hopkins.

It is a slightly intimidating roster - until I spot Willie Clancy's name and comfort myself that one could always dance a jig if the discourse is too high-brow.

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