For a group of transition-year students at St Colman’s Community College in Midleton, their hour online for the record attempt co-ordinated by the organisers of Seachtain na Gaeilge, was spent discussing different types of dance.
“It isn’t something the boys are too interested in, but they put in the work and research, and after seeing about the world record attempt on the news, they got really enthusiastic about it,” said Kelly Ní Chonaill, their teacher at the east Cork school.
“There’s a big emphasis now on oral Irish since the marks were increased in the Leaving Certificate, so students put in more effort to speak it, and things like this help a lot,” said Ms Ní Chonaill.
The Midleton class was followed a little later by girls from Loreto College in Dublin’s Crumlin Rd. Teenagers from Club Gaeilge at St Michael’s Community College, Kilmihil, Co Clare also showcased their skills yesterday afternoon.
The record attempt began last Sunday afternoon and runs until 1pm this Sunday, when the various groups hope to have surpassed the benchmark set a year ago of 168 hours of continuous Irish conversation by one hour. That record involved more than 60 groups, but at least 80 are taking part this time around.
Groups from as far away as Los Angeles and Sydney are also on the schedule. “We’ve got a range of groups, from university classes learning Irish in, for example, Celtic Studies departments, to groups of Irish people abroad who meet regularly to chat in Irish,” said Seachtain na Gaeilge manager Brenda Ní Ghairbhí.
Around 20 school groups have already taken part or are lined up to do so.
However, groups can still volunteer to fill in some of the slots by getting in touch or finding the live-streaming YouTube video of the global conversation on the Seachtain na Gaeilge website — www.snag.ie.
Members of the public are free to drop in to see and hear what is happening, or to post their comments on Twitter using the #Comhrá14 hashtag.