On course for the summer with adult classes

It’s traditional for school children to attend a camp during the holidays, but there are equivalents for adults now, teaching everything from scriptwriting to beekeeping and sailing, says Arlene Harris.

On course for the summer with adult classes

IT’S summer and children will soon be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of no school for several months.

Many of those youngsters are traditionally packed off to summer camp to keep them entertained, but many courses are now also offering places to college students and adults.

Here are some of the more interesting classes:


The week-long Willie Clancy summer music school was inaugurated in 1973 (July 5 to July 13).

Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy is Ireland’s largest traditional music summer school, held annually in Clare since 1973, in memory of the piper, Willie Clancy.

During the first week of July, 1,000 students from every part of the world will attend daily classes in Irish music, song and dance. In addition, there is a full programme of lectures, recitals, céilithe (traditional dances) and exhibitions.

The week costs €140 and musicians should bring their own instruments. All events are held in Miltown Malbay, in County Clare, from July 5 to July 13.

* For more information, visit www.willieclancyfestival.com.


For anyone who has ambitions of Oscar-winning screenplays, or for those who want to learn how to write a play or movie script, the Gaiety School of Acting, in Temple Bar, in Dublin City, may have just the course.

The intensive workshop focuses on the key areas of character, story and dialogue, and students will get to write scenes under the guidance of an award-winning screenwriter.

The seven-hour Saturday course costs €100 and teaches students the difference screenwriting and other forms of dramatic writing, how to communicate non-verbally, tips for creating authentic characters, and the fundamentals of story generation.

* For more information, visit www.gaietyschool.com.


People of all ages love to paint, particularly in picturesque surroundings. The dramatic coastal landscape of the Sliabh Liag Peninsula, in Donegal, offers marine painting classes, which cater for everyone from budding artists to more experienced crafts-people.

Students should bring their own sketch pad, a selection of brushes, some rags and treated boards, as well as a palette (a dinner plate will suffice) and paints for their chosen method.

Costing €180, the classes, in Gleann Cholm Cille, run on Saturdays throughout July and August.

* For more information, visit www.oideas.gael.com.


Budding chefs will love the week-long summer cookery courses at Ballymaloe Cookery School, in Shanagarry, Co Cork, which run throughout August.

The expert team promises that students will leave with a delicious, and reliable, repertoire of recipes and menus, from simple, homemade bread to lunches and dinners — featuring salads, soups, starters, pasta dishes, fish, meat and vegetarian main courses, and a host of sweet treats.

After a day in the kitchen, students are encouraged to relax in the grounds of Ballymaloe House, playing tennis, wandering around the herbaceous borders, or looking at the farm animals and organic crops in the glasshouses.

The first course runs from Monday, August 4, to Friday, August 8, from 9.30am to 5.30pm, and will include six demonstrations and four hands-on sessions.

The course costs €925 per person.

* For more information, visit www.cookingisfun.ie.


Beekeeping is idyllic, and Irish Seed Savers, in Scariff, Co Clare, have a full-day course to help you set up your own hive and harvest the honey.

Topics include: how to get started, equipment needed, sourcing bees, brief world history of honeybees, honeybee behaviour, native Irish honeybees, importance of honey and pollination, a look into colony collapse disorder in the USA, the beekeeping year, and a honey-tasting session.

The course takes place on Saturday, June 21, from 10am to 1pm, and costs €40.

* For more information about this, and other courses, visit www.irishseedsavers.ie.


A host of celebrities, from Paul McCartney, Sting, Victoria Beckham to Kenneth Branagh have turned to the Alexander Technique to ease their back pain.

The technique was named after the actor, Frederick Matthias Alexander, who developed it in the 1890s to promote poise and ease pain.

The method has been taught in Ireland for the past few decades and a workshop will take place in the University of Limerick this summer.

The residential course runs from July 13 to July 18 and there will be a maximum of 12 participants per teacher, to ensure full attention and support in the learning of the technique.

The programme costs €750 and includes all meals and tuition.

The Alexander Technique has become known as ‘psychotherapy for muscles’. In the main, it is taught one-on-one and can be practiced at home in the same way as yoga.

* For more information, or to book a place, visit www.alexander.ie.


Most of us wish we had paid more attention when learning Irish in primary school.

But, now, there is a chance to perfect the ‘cupla focal’ by attending a Gael Linn summer college.

Suitable for adults and teenagers, the programme includes language classes, learning support materials, and opportunities to speak in Irish.

Courses will take place in three major Gaeltacht areas — Donegal, West Cork, and North Mayo, and will run during June, July and August, while special courses may also be provided to cater for the specific needs of organisations.

* For more information, visit www.gaellinn.ie.


If you’ve ever fancied learning how to ride the waves, then perhaps an introduction to sailing is just the summer course for you.

A Sail Day takes place on July 12 and 13 and includes a full day’s experience during a trip to the Saltee Islands.

It is suitable for all ages and levels of experience, and costs between €60 and €100.

If you would like a little longer, from June 28 to July 4, the Cruise to Cornwall and the Isles of Scillies could be the ticket. This seven-day trip comes with full instruction, gear and food, and costs €750.

But places are limited, so you need to book early.

* For more information visit www.sailingireland.ie.



A week-long experimental drawing course is held in the Burren (August 18 to 22).

Everyone knows how to use their eyes, or how to see — it is innate.

But it is possible to look at something without really seeing what it is, or what is there.

‘How to Use Your Eyes’ is a week-long course in the Burren, and aimed at teaching artists how to experiment with observation and self-recognition, explored through drawing.

Running from August 18 to 22, the course costs €350, including five nights of B&B accommodation.

Each day will commence with a short introduction, followed by either a visit to a selected location for field work, or studio work at the college.

There will also be two, short, illustrated talks.

Each participant will have dedicated studio space and opportunities to work on a large scale, if desired. Some previous experience is necessary and the course is not suitable for absolute beginners.

* For more information, visit www.burrencollege.ie.


Many of us appreciate fine wine.

However, for those who would like to be able to differentiate between their Bordeaux and their Beaujolais, this might be just the course.

With a relaxed and informal tone, these evening classes are suitable for everyone, from complete beginners to those who want to further their existing knowledge.

Held at Wine Buff venues across the country, times and prices vary according to course and location.

To find out more, or to book a course, contact your local Wine Buff store.

* For store location and contact details, visit www.thewinebuff.com.

AND ONE FOR THE KIDS.... Budding Artists

All children love to be creative but how many actually get to design their own comic book? Paddy Lynch and Phil Barrett, two of Ireland’s leading illustrators and Comic Book Artists have an exciting comic book design and illustration project for Artzone tweens and teenagers this summer. From base concept development, drawing, design and illustration principles Paddy and Phil will lead the group in the design and production of a new comic book. The course costs €€140 with discounts for siblings and runs from July 14-18 and August 18-22 and is suitable for all children from 10 upwards.

For more information visit www.artzone.ie

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