We are joined this year by Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin. Caoimhghín, currently a Ph.D. candidate in local place names and dialect studies at NUI Maynooth, where he received his B.A. in civil law and Irish, is from N. County Louth. His education before that mirrored Irish Language and Literature professor and Keough-Naughton Fellow Peter McQuillan’s as they attended the same Christian Brothers primary school and Christian Brothers secondary school, in north County Louth.
The FLTA program enables the Irish Language and Literature department to teach all those interested in learning the Irish language at Notre Dame. He teaches three Irish 101 classes and next semester will move along with his students to beginners Irish 2. He runs a language table every week and is available for tutoring. In addition to teaching this semester, Caoimhghín is taking two classes at Notre Dame: American Political Parties and Foreign Language Teaching and Acquisition.
A huge sports fan, he was delighted when the Gaelic Athletic Association came to Notre Dame to play Super 11’s before the ND-USC game. He notes the crowd “was awestruck and impressed” by the game. Promoting hurling at Notre Dame is another goal, and he is working with the GAA to acquire hurling equipment and training assistance for the Notre Dame club burling team. He is eager to help spread the word and knowledge about the “greatest game on earth.”
Caoimhghín is also enjoying Notre Dame sports – especially the soccer and football teams. He plays on an intermural soccer team in addition to the club hurling team. Musically talented, he has performed the pipes at the local Irish pub and instructs the dance at ceilis.
He finds Notre Dame students motivated and hardworking, with a strong community and traditions. He finds similarities with the GAA – the sense of pride and place in the institution mirrors that of the association. As for the Keough-Naughton Institute, he is impressed with the “caliber of the faculty, the high standards of the program and the interest and involvement of the community” in its offerings.