Why a gaelscoil?

One parent whose child is going to a gaelscoil in Dublin city sent his daughter "to a gaelscoil, and to this particular gaelscoil…

One parent whose child is going to a gaelscoil in Dublin city sent his daughter "to a gaelscoil, and to this particular gaelscoil, for a combination of reasons."

His views are borne out by the results of a survey of parents whose children were attending all-rish schools in Dublin, carried out in the late Seventies by Padraig O Riagain and Michael O Glios ain, of the Institiuid Teangeolaioc ta Eireann. Just 37 per cent of parents gave "language reasons only" for their decision to send a child to an all-Irish school, while 27 per cent gave "both language and non-language reasons." A further 36 per cent gave "non-language reasons only." The nonlanguage reasons included the pupil-teacher ratio, accessibility and a good educational record.

Our parent continues: "It would have been difficult to get her in but we registered her in the school very, very early - the first few months after she was born. It's in a lovely spot and it's a nice building. It's newly constructed. There's a social mix in the school.

"It has the middleclass gaelscoil attraction but it also has local kids. The alternative would have been to send her to another gaelscoil or a multi-d school, which is middle-class or the local Catholic school, which is solidly working class.


"There's a sense that this school fitted in a lot of ways with what we hoped she'd learn about the community in which she lives. I like the school because of the fact that parents and staff are there because of a certain commitment. There's always a buzz around the place and a sense that you won't have the problems that face other urban schools. "Like every school there are some parents who seem to be doing everything. There are plenty of activities around - fashion nights, picnics, Christmas parties. There's not sense of pressure on parents to participate.

He loves to hear his daughter speak Irish, although he has no Irish himself. But, he admits, "there's a resistance among the kids to speak in Irish." All the same his daughter does speak Irish sometimes, for example when playing with her dolls.

"This is the crucial age for them to be picking up the language but you do get the feeling that it's not a commitment to the language with every parent," he says.