Presentation on theme: "Ireland 2006 / grant stay ALENA VACHUŠKOVÁ teacher."— Presentation transcript:
Ireland 2006 / grant stay ALENA VACHUŠKOVÁ teacher
I have visited this wonderful country twice, in 2004 within the Socrates Project, and then in 2006 when I was given the Grant of South Bohemia for English teachers. This time I spent two weeks in Drogheda, a small town near Dublin, and I would like to share my experiences with you.
The countryside Ireland is called The Emerald Isle for its bright green grass refreshed by frequent rain. The land is quite flat, covered by fields and pastures with sheep. Sheep-farming is still the main source of living in the country. The photos are taken on my trip to the nearby Cooley Mountains, not very high hills on the east coast where we enjoyed wandering across the vast plains of heather and fern. It must be beautiful to see the moors in summer! However, in early October the pink colour got rasty brown.
Except for walking in the hills you can also visit many castles, churches, prehistoric tombs and picturesque villages. One of the interesting places is the cemetery in Monasterboice with the well-known St. Patrick´s high crosses which are a symbol of Ireland.
People and homes On the way to the Cooley Mountains we were invited for breakfast to Henry Bacik whose grandfather started to produce Czech glass in Ireland in the early 20th century. He and his wife were friendly and hospitable and we felt like home in their nice house built of natural materials, such as wood and stone. We enjoyed the traditional Irish breakfast, consisting of fried bacon, sausages, eggs, fried potatoes and fried tomatoes. Quite fatty breakfast!
Dublin Of course, I didn´t miss Dublin, the capital of Ireland. With only a million inhabitants it doesn´t belong to very busy cities. After visiting the Gothic St. Patrick´s Cathedral, the largest church in Ireland. I headed to the Docklands where you can admire the impressive Great Famine Memorial, commemorating the Potato Famine in 1840 when about a million people died and even more emigrated. On the way back to the centre I walked along the beach – you must be careful there because the difference between a low tide and a high tide is a few metres and the water can come quickly! I saw many traditional red-brick houses, passed the famous Dublin´s doors and finally had a pint of popular Guinness in one of many Dublin´s pubs. It was high time to get in because it started raining.
Schools Secondary education in Ireland starts at the age of 12 and consists of a three-year Junior Cycle (age 12-15) finished by an exam and a Senior Cycle (age 15-18). The first year of the Senior Cycle is called a Transition Year (age 15-16). It provides an opportunity for students to choose from a wide range of voluntary courses to acquire life skills and work experience. At the age of 16 they can leave school or go on studying for another two years, up to 18, when they do the final exam.
My project included monitoring language teaching in two Irish schools, the Sacred Heart School in Drogheda, which was a church school for girls and the Scuola Uí Mhuirí in Dunleer, which was a newly reconstructed boy school. Ireland is a bilingual country, so kids have to learn both English and Irish. As an old Celtic language Irish is quite difficult, so it is not very popular among students. Look at the two common phrases: Conas atá tú? (= How are you?) and Tá mé go maith. (=I´m doing well.) Easy, isn´t it? From foreign languages they usually take up French or German. I think, the language classes are not very effective there because they are not split as in Czech schools. However, do they need another language when their mother tongue is English? Well, if you like kind-hearted people, historic places, the stunning scenery, good music and beer and you want to practise your English, catch a plane with a green shamrock and fly to Ireland!