St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt, flying the flag for the Irish language!

Posted on 03rd July 2017 | NewsAwards

Gaelbhratach committee members pictured with the Purple Flag Award.

The Gaelbhratach has finally arrived in St. Mary's!

St. Mary's Grammar students received the prestigious Purple Flag award at a ceremony held in Leopardstown recently. The Gaelbhratach is awarded to schools who not only incorporate the Irish Language into the school community in a planned, structured and fun way but also those who carry this through outside of the classroom. 

​Over 600 pupils, from both primary and secondary schools, gathered in the Pavilion at Leopardstown racecourse in Dublin to attend the presentation of An Ghaelbhratach on Monday 29 May. The Gaelbhratach scheme, funded by Foras na Gaeilge, and organised by Gael Linn, with the support of Conradh na Gaeilge and Glór na nGael, recognises the promotion of the Irish language in both secondary and primary schools around the country.  

‘It’s a pity Gaelbhratach did not exist in my time at school’ said special guest Clíona Ní Chíosáin, who plays the part of Aifric in the TG4 series of the same name, ‘we did our best to promote the language in our school and would have been very proud if we had a flag to fly beside the others such as the Green Flag. It’s very important that students get the recognition for their hard work!’  

​Locally, St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt, have become the first English medium school in the north to receive this prestigious accolade. The Gaelbhratach award follows on from the success of the Irish department who were awarded a BASLA (British Academy Schools Language Award) in December 2015.

The Gaelbhratach scheme, initiated in 2014 has gone from strength to strength. Over one hundred schools will be taking part in the scheme next year and this year’s event recognised the Irish language achievements of over 60 schools. Seán Ó Coinn, CEO of Foras na Gaeilge and Antoine Ó Coileáin, CEO of Gael Linn also spoke to those in attendance and thanked the teachers for their support for the scheme within their schools. They also commended the co-operation of the three organisations involved in running the scheme, who are all funded by Foras na Gaeilge and have the same goals as regards the promotion of our language.

St. Mary's students put in the hard work throughout the year.
St. Mary's students put in the hard work throughout the year.

Proudly accepting the prestigious Purple Flag
Proudly accepting the prestigious Purple Flag

St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt, have become the first English medium school in the north to receive this prestigious accolade.

Some teachers present agreed that there was a great deal of work involved in getting to the stage where they were awarded the Gaelbhratach as many of the targets they had to reach were quite challenging. However, the Gaelbhratach committees within the schools came up trumps and were really proud to be on stage receiving the flag on behalf of their schools. 

Eoghan Mac Dermott from 2FM presented the event for the third  year running and the group Seo Linn had no problem getting the huge crowd to sing along to their many hits in Irish. 

2FM Persenter Eoghan McDermott pictured with SMG pupils at the event.
2FM’s Eoghan McDermott pictured with SMG pupils at the event.