26 Irish-college experiences that students will never be able to get on Zoom

The pandemic has put an Irish rite of passage on hold. Here’s what teenagers will be missing

Irish college: three weeks without your parents breathing down your neck. Photograph: E+/iStock/Getty

Irish college: three weeks without your parents breathing down your neck. Photograph: E+/iStock/Getty

 

Locked-down Irish colleges are scrambling to come up with ways to give summer pupils a Gaeltacht experience while also lifting their Irish grades for the academic year to come. But no matter how creative they get on Zoom, there are some Irish-college experiences that just cannot be replicated online. Here are 26.

1 Finding yourself in a beautiful place without your parents breathing down your neck

2 Not seeing a piece of fresh fruit for three weeks straight

3 Sharing a room with strangers and watching personalities emerge – such as Alannah, who keeps her phone in her tampon box and has no scruples about borrowing everyone’s clothes

4 Squelching all the way to class each morning when your Penneys rain gear fails

5 The joy of getting a care package from home – the best ones solidly packed with sweets, the worst with the retainer you forgot and an English-Irish dictionary

6 Having your hair straightener confiscated after last year’s incident that is never quite explained

10: Being jealous of the cinnire who is allowed to keep her phone and watches Love Island – sorry, Oileán Grá – every night

7 Watching the eye rolls from the bean an tí when she’s asked for a Caesar salad

8 The devastation of being left with the Loop the Loop when everyone else seems to have got a Cornetto

9 Playing rounders on a steeply sloping field

10 Being jealous of the cinnire who is allowed to keep her phone and watches Love Island – sorry, Oileán Grá – every night

11 Realising that Ciara from Roscommon has a GAA top for every day of the three weeks

12 Raging at the special hour allotted to the people who brought their hurls

13 The absolute hell of stepping into a damp wetsuit in the rain at 8am

14 Being told that Oisín really fancies you when the only one you can think about is Ruairí

15 Being very underwhelmed when some girls who live nearby come to do some sean-nós dancing

16 Making your parents drive five hours on the one good day of the summer to bring you chocolate and take you out to lunch

17 Clinging to another family when your parents won’t come to take you out again and feeling guilty when they buy you an Oreo sundae

18 Feeling a patriotic pride when awarded a blue badge for your T-shirt, which elevates your status and gives you toilet privileges

21: Ignoring the cosc ar grá rule and snogging under the fluorescent light of the sports hall after the céilí – or upstairs in a classroom if you’re a pro

19 Getting a red badge for your T-shirt and feeling the pressure to become a grade-A snitch

20 Getting a huge sty in your eye and vowing never to share your mascara again as Ruairí carefully avoids sitting beside you on the bus

21 Ignoring the cosc ar grá rule and snogging under the fluorescent light of the sports hall after the céilí – or upstairs in a classroom if you’re a pro

22 Booing at the neighbouring college when you see them at Mass

23 Being asked to read at Mass and then getting a fit of the giggles

24 Wishing you hadn’t brought your harp

25 Having dreams in Irish for many weeks when you get home

26 Weeping uncontrollably on the last day, exchanging Instagrams and then forgetting to stay in touch

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