Generation gap bridged as Dr Mike bestows Blasket bursary

A GENERATIONAL gap was bridged in Ionad an Bhlascaoid in Dún Chaoin as one of the last remaining Blasket Islanders Dr Mícheál Ó Céarna (93) bestowed Sparántacht an Bhlascaoid (the Blasket Island Bursary) on three Corca Dhuibhne college freshmen.

Dr. Mike, as he is known, travelled all the way from his home in Springfield, Massachusetts to attend the event where he was joined by his daughter Mairín Cearney-Hayes and Etna Uí Chinnéide in bestowing the bursary on Niamh de hÓra of Baile an Fheirteáraigh, Cathal Ó Lúing of Ceann Trá and Clíodhna Ní Dhúgáin from Dún Chaoin. Niamh received €1,000 while Cathal and Clíodhna €500 received apiece to assist them in their third level studies.

Sparántacht an Bhlascaoid was initiated by Dr. Mike in memory of his late wife Maureen (nee Ward), who passed away in 2010. The aim of the bursary is to assist and encourage students from the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht, who are entering first year classes in Irish third level institutions, in conducting further studies in Irish culture and language.

"The standard was so high it was decided that three awards should be made - only a few points separated many of the applicants," Mícheál de Mórdha of Ionad an Bhlascaoid told The Kerryman.

The award of the bursaries also marked the launch of Ceiliúradh an Bhlascaoid 2013 which was officially opened by Aire Stáit an Roinn Ealaíon Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Donnacha Mac Fhionnlaioch in the Ionad.

After celebrating the award of the Sparántacht there was no rest to be had for Dr. Mike as he, along with members of his family, faced the road for Dublin to meet President Michael D Higgins and to launch his memoirs in the capital.