I thought I would share with you the usual daily schedule at an Áras Uí Chadhain: an Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge ag An Cheathrú Rua (the Irish Language Center of the National University of Ireland in Galway at An Cheathrú Rua). Here’s my typical day during the last week:
I get up at about 6:30 a.m. (before anyone else in the house) and brew a four-cup pot of coffee in our host’s French press. I do a chapter of work in a basic Irish grammar book (this is on my own, not something assigned by the school which is more concerned with speaking than with writing the language).
About 8 a.m. the rest of the house is up and functioning and by 8:30 a.m. we have our breakfast (“bricfeasta” as Gaeilge).The seven of us students walk to the school at about 9:10 or so and arrive in time for classes at 9:30 a.m. Two of us are in the “meánrang” (pronounced “mahn’-rahng”, the intermediate class), four are in the feabhaseoirí (pronounced “fouse’-i-ori”, the improvers, which is the elementary class for those who have had a minimum exposure to the language), and one is in the “búnrang” (basic class) for rank beginners with no Irish at all.
Classes run until 11 a.m. which is tea time (“sós” which means “break”) – we have tea or coffee or whatever until 11:30 a.m. and then it’s back to class until 1 p.m.
Lunch (“lón“) runs from 1 to 2 p.m. More class time from 2 to 4 p.m. (with no break). At 4 p.m. there is some sort of lecture (archeology, music, Irish orthography, folk lore, etc).
At 5 p.m. we walk back to the house; our bean-an-tí (pronounced “ban’-uh-tee”, landlady) feeds us dinner at 5:30 p.m. and that usually takes more than an hour.
Shortly after 7 pm. we walk back down the hill to the school for an evening lecture from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. (these are the same sorts of lectures as in the afternoon, but usually more specialized or more in depth).
At 9:00 p.m. we return home and do our homework, which usually takes me until 11 p.m. At that point, I either go to bed (this happens most often) or I walk down the hill to have a pint at the pub across the street from the school (“An Chistin” which means “the kicthen”, also known locally as “tígh sea” – “tee shay” which means “house of the O’Shays” because that is the name of the family who has owned and run the place for generations) and have a pint. In either event, I am usually in bed by midnight (“meánoíche“, prounounced “mahn’-ee-khuh”) or shortly thereafter
This is the pattern three of the six days in a week. One day each week there is a “turas” or tour of some local area – Kylemore Abbey and the National Connemara Park, the Arann Islands, into Galway, etc. On Wednesday afternoons we are given the afternoon off, but those become intensive study times with others in our class as we prepare for the oral tests that happen on Thursday afternoons: each week we are expected to converse with two instructors about a particular subject. We know in advance what the subject will be, so we can get together with classmates and practice conversation about whatever (this week it is our favorite music – type, performers, compositions, concerts, etc.)
In general the weekly pattern is
Monday – basic pattern
Tuesday – basic pattern
Wednesday – morning basic with free time in the afternoon; after-dinner lecture.
Thursday – morning basic with conversation exam in the afternoon; after-dinner lecture.
Friday – basic pattern
Saturday – tour
Sunday – free (but filled with homework)
You can see that there is not much time for other activities! I try to take a walk of a couple of miles every day and, when I can, to take some photographs, but there is almost no time for writing posts to this blog!
Today (Sunday, 24 July 2011) I attend the Sung Eucharist at St. Nicholas Collegiate Church in Galway (a 45-minute drive each way) and did take some pictures of the church. I will make every effort to write a posting about that and hang some pictures here later in the evening, but right now …. I gotta study!