Learning Irish through adventure sports

Company name

UISCE

Location

Cuan Eillí, Co. Mayo

Grant

Feasibility Study, Capital grants, mentor scheme

Dates

On-going support since 1991

Project

UISCE teaches Irish through the exciting medium of water and adventure sports. Students take courses in windsurfing, canoeing, sailing, pony trekking, swimming, orienteering, football, raft-building and other sports, all taught through Irish. This takes Irish out of the classroom and gives students a new perspective on the language. They have an added incentive to learn since they return from UISCE, with not only improved Irish, but with Level 1 competency and qualifications in various sports.

Established in 1992, after an Údarás-funded feasibility study,UISCE was granted a subsidized lease on premises in Elly Bay and given initial grants to buy equipment. In 1998 UISCE benefited from capital grants, enabling it to greatly expand its facilities, which it now owns. The centre currently sleeps 80, is self-catering and is fully booked over the summer months.

Results

Says Ciarán Ó Murchú, director of UISCE: “Údarás gave invaluable assistance at a very vulnerable stage. I found them the least bureaucratic and the most practical of all the state organisations I dealt with. In 2002, through the mentor scheme, they put us in touch with a financial consultant, and that really helped us guide our business to commercial viability.”

Perspective

UISCE now runs the Irish National Windsurfing event over the October bank holiday – this has put the Béal an Mhuirthead area on the map for international windsurfers. Over the next few years the centre intends to increase its capacity to meet demand, expand into different locations and start teaching adult Irish and student business Irish courses. See website www.uisce.com