Gaeltacht summer school is a musical hit online
2019-02-01 00:00:00 -

By Jessica Ní Mháirtín


Musicians from one of the most renowned Irish summer schools in Ireland launched their own YouTube channel back in September 2010.


And in the eight years since, Coláiste Lurgan in Indreabhán, Co na Gaillimhe has become known worldwide for its unique Irish-language takes on popular music.


Students travel from all over the island of Ireland to enrol in Lurgan’s Gaeltacht summer school as well as contribute to the YouTube channel TG Lurgan with their musical talents, including many original songs.


And the school has been encouraging of the project, as they believe having the students focus on their creativity and personal skills is a much better approach than sitting in a classroom trying to learn Irish grammar rules off by heart.


The first video to hit over one million views was a cover of Fun’s ‘Some Nights’, but the video that has the most views, now at just under seven million, is an Irish-language cover of the late Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’.


Donagh Corby, a past student of Lurgan, said the school had a huge part to play in helping him grow his confidence in speaking the language. If his parents had not sent him, he says, he probably would not have the same interest as he does now, just a few months shy of completing a degree in Irish.


“I went to Lurgan first back in 2011 before there was a really strong focus on music,” Donagh says. “It’s really a great way to help people to learn the language and make new friends if they aren’t really strong speakers at first.


“I just went because my parents wanted me to learn Irish, and after the first summer I was hooked. The balance is pretty good between really strict Irish language learning and having fun. I remember they were beginning to experiment with the videos in 2011 and 2012, making music videos and doing live streams that the parents could see.


“Then in 2013, you could tell there had been a huge mark-up in the quality of video, and it showed when the Avicii video started to go viral. There was a real buzz around the place after that and numbers skyrocketed in terms of sign-ups.”


More recently, Jack Ó Conghaile’s take on George Ezra’s ‘Shotgun’ has proven to be popular with almost 350 thousand views so far. And a cover of Dua Lipa ‘IDGAF’ could be up there soon with more than 14 thousand views just a week after it was posted.


Apart from the wide range of music on offer, the songs posted include the lyrics translated into Irish which gives everyone the chance to learn them as they sing along.


For more information about the Irish summer college at Coláiste Lurgan, visit or phone 091 593 182.

TAGS : Gaeilge New Irish Music
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