Dr. John Kelly, Executive Director of the Ireland Canada University Foundation, visited the Celtic Studies Program on November 2, 2019. The Foundation has established a program of exchange scholarships in the Irish Language between Ireland and Canada. Starting in 2009-2010, with funding from the National Lottery and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the Foundation is providing a number of Irish Language teaching assistantships and visiting professorships which will be tenable at Canadian universities which offer substantive courses in the Irish Language.
This initiative was announced by Irish government minister Eamon O Cuiv when he gave a Famine Commemoration lecture at St. Michael’s College on May 8, 2009. Six scholars from Ireland are now working at universities in Canada.
Celtic Studies was delighted to welcome Joanne Fahy as our first language teaching assistant for the academic year 2009-2010. Joanne returned for a second year in 2010-2011.
Joanne worked with students in the introductory and intermediate Irish classes, and also taught two evening classes to interested members of the general public.
In 2010-2011 we also welcomed as ICUF Senior Scholar, Dr. Peter Smith (Peadar Mac Gabhann) from the University of Ulster. Dr. Smith taught courses on Early Celtic History, Intermediate Irish language and Seventeenth-century Prose Texts. He also gave a public lecture on "National Identity and the Pagan Past: An Irish Poet's Perspective c. AD 1000".
Celtic Studies was delighted to welcome Dr. Kelly on two visits to the universities involved in the project and to be able to tell him in person how much we appreciate having Joanne and Peter on campus.
In subsequent years we have welcomed Daithi O Ceallachain (2011-2012), Noel O Murchadha (2012-2013), and Colm Duffin (2013-2014) to whom we owe grateful thanks for their hard work and enthusiasm for our students.
In 2014-2015 we were delighted to have Aisling Ni Shirin with us. In addition to teaching Introductory and Intermediate Irish Language, Aisling has led various initiatives with the students, including taking part in the successful global Conradh na Gaeilge effort to break the world record for carrying on a conversation in Irish. She also organized numerous events for Seachtain na Gaeilge around St Patrick's Day, including an amazing flashmob of Irish songs and dance in the student dining-room at lunchtime on March 17, which can be found on YouTube.