A 90-YEAR-OLD former Blasket islander, who has spent most of his life in the US, has announced a €1,000 bursary for Kerry Gaeltacht students.
Mícheál O Cearna said the bursary, Sparántacht an Bhlascaoid, aimed to highlight the importance of education and interest in the heritage of the Blasket islands.
The bursary will be awarded to one Leaving Cert student every year, based on their examination results and an interview.
The successful student must achieve a minimum B1 grade in Irish, must sit the Leaving Cert in Irish and must also be in receipt of an Irish language grant.
The student should also have an interest in and understanding of the Blasket Islands, and their chosen university course should have some connection to the Blaskets, including areas such as the arts, Irish language, history and related subjects.
Mícheál O Cearna left the Great Blasket Island in 1937 and emigrated to the US in 1948.
He lives in Springfield, Massachusetts, where many fellow Blasket natives also settled.
He received an honorary doctorate from NUI Maynooth, last year, for his work in preserving and promoting the Irish language and his Blasket Island heritage.
On a recent visit to Kerry, Dr O Cearna spoke on the Raidió na Gaeltachta Saol O Dheas programme of his lifelong love of the Blaskets and the pleasure he derives from his visits home.
O Cearna is the first donor to the bursary fund.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved