This summer, three Fordham students will trade in the Manhattan skyline for a panorama of Irish moors during two and a half weeks at Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim, one of the National University of Ireland Galway’s Irish language outreach centers.
Sarah Elizabeth Lahoud, FCRH ’12, Patrick Kelly, an FCLC rising senior, and Michael Dahlgren, an FCRH rising junior, are the recipients of 2012 Irish Language Scholarships from Fordham’s Institute of Irish Studies. The three will travel to Carna, a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking region) in Connemara, in the west of Ireland.
“Carna, where the school is situated, is renowned for traditional arts, and is also an area of stunning natural beauty,” said Helen Maginn, administrative director of the Institute for Irish Studies.
Lahoud, who studied at University College Cork in Ireland during her junior year, said her participation in the Carna language program will be an opportunity for genuine cultural immersion, which isn’t always the case with study abroad experiences.
“I want to study the language in the Gaeltacht and expand my perspective,” said Lahoud, who graduated on May 19 with a degree in English. “Living in New York City, and my time at Fordham, have taught me that the university is only a fraction of a cultural experience, and that real cultural exchange happens when one is willing to immerse oneself in a culture.”
In addition to studying Irish at Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim, the students will take an Irish culture course to learn about traditional signing and dancing, folklore, and local traditions of the Gaeltacht.
For Lahoud, that will include honing skills she picked up in Cork City.
“The class I took on ancient Irish vision texts [at University College Cork]inspired me to write my senior thesis, and I even started playing the tin whistle and still play traditional Irish music here in New York,” she said. “I am also extending my Irish trek this summer to attend two summer schools to play Irish music.”
Established in 2008, the scholarship is funded by a grant that the Institute receives annually from the Irish Government’s Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht. To date, nine Fordham students have been awarded the scholarship.
“They will no doubt be outstanding ambassadors for Fordham and for the Institute of Irish Studies,” Christopher Maginn, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Irish Studies, said about this year’s cohort.
Go dté sibh slán!
— Joanna Klimaski