Gleann Cholm Cille
I arrived in Gleann Cholm Cille in Donegal yesterday evening after a long but trouble-free journey by train, ferry and bus. The Irish Sea was very calm and the crossing was so smooth that if I hadn’t been looking out of the window, I wouldn’t have know that I was on a boat. It was more like a floating shopping centre in fact with numerous shops, cafés, bars and a small amusement arcade.
After arriving in Dun Laoghaire, I took the train into central Dublin, had some lunch at the bus station, then got the bus to Gleann Cholm Cille. The bus routes have changed a bit since last year and now go via Dublin airport, which adds half an hour or so to the journey. I slept or dozed much of the time, except for the last part of the journey between Donegal Town and Gleann Cholm Cille, the part with the best scenery.
I’m staying in the B&B I stayed in the first time I came here four years ago and sharing a room with Murt from Dublin, a native Irish speaker who hasn’t spoken the language much for many years. There are a couple of other Irish people staying here, both of whom speak Irish well, though are somewhat out of practice, and a couple from Holland or one of the Scandinavian countries – I’m fairly sure their speaking a Germanic language, but haven’t worked out which one yet. My hosts here, Margaret, is an excellent cook and her husband, Martin, is a professional chef in a local hotel. When I turned on my laptop yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they have wifi here I can use.
Many of the people who were here for the summer school last year are here again this year, including the President of Ireland, so there are plenty of familiar faces. The programme is similar to last year as well. Last night we had the usual welcome talk from Liam, the director of Oideas Gael, and today we will be sorted into classes. There are eight levels of classes – last year I chose level 7, which was very interesting but more like a series of lectures than a typical language class, so this year I’m going to try level 6, which I hope will give me more chances to speak Irish.
Apart from a brief shower on the way here, the weather has been warm and sunny so far.