Irish visitors help connect Celtic cultures with Lewis trip

Pictured at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are, from left, Donal Ó hAiniféin, Principal of Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg, Inis; Councillor John A MacIver, Loch a Tuath Ward, Lewis, and chairman of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Comataidh Buileachaidh Plana Cànan; Mark Nestor, Councillor, County Clare; Malcolm Burr, Chief Executive, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar; Bernard Chisholm, Director of Education, Skills and Children’s Services; Angus Murray, Corporate Policy Manager, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. NO F33 EU schools exchange

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Following a past partnership between the two schools forged by the EU transnational educational programme Erasmus +, a group of 60 pupils and teachers recently travelled to Sgoil an Taobh Siar on Lewis from Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg, in Ennis, County Clare.

Also travelling with the group were principal of the Gaelscoil, Dónal Ó hAiniféin and Councillor Mark Nestor.

The group spent three special days on the island learning about the history and the culture of Lewis.

They visited the lighthouse in Ness, the Callanish Stones, Lews Castle and Museum and many other landmarks on the island.

One of the most important aspects of the trip was that the pupils had the chance to experience the music, dancing and traditional language of the Western Isles, which was a key aim of the visit.

The importance of mixing and experiencing different Celtic cultures is something that Councillor Nestor discussed when he met with councillors from the comhairle.

They agreed that there are strong comparisons between the Lewis and the town of Ennis when it comes to promoting their shared Celtic cultures.

The group discussed how these comparisons could be preserved and promoted and it was suggested that a twinning of both Ennis and Lewis would be effective in continuing the positive work done to date.

Chairman of the comhairle’s Gaelic Committee, Councillor John A MacIver, commented: ‘It was an excellent follow-up to the Erasmus + programme with which all parties had been involved, in that pupils from Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg got the opportunity to visit Lewis, something that had not been possible during that programme.’