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16 Jul 2019

Armagh’s young Irish speakers are still on a high following another highly successful Irish medium summer camp in early July. Parents, relatives, children and teachers have inundated social media networks with tributes to the organisers of Campa Mhacha 2019 – the only all-Irish summer camp in Armagh City. Based at Eamhain Mhacha / The Navan Centre, the camp is organised by Irish language collective, CAIRDE Teo. Attracting almost 100 children from Irish medium primary schools in the area, the Camp is celebrating its twelth year of existence and organisers have expressed delight at the overwhelming response to this year’s event. Sun cream, bottled water, insect spray, shades and sandals were the order of the day, as the Camp participants wallowed all week in temperatures more akin to Albufeira than Armagh City.

Camp Coordinator, Seán Ó Maoilsté expressed his delight at the continued growth and development of the popular summer camp:
“The response to this year’s Campa Mhacha was phenomenal. We employed additional teachers and support staff and we even had a waiting list for those who enlisted after all the places on the Camp had been snapped up. The children were fantastic and were delighted to get the chance to use their Irish in a range of different social and recreational environments. The kids who come to Campa Mhacha really are a credit to their parents and to their teachers, who have evidently instilled in them a love and passion for the Irish language and culture”.

While the main centre for the 2019 Camp was Eamhain Mhacha/The Navan Centre, Campa Mhacha also offered opportunities for the children to participate in activities as diverse as yoga, a trip to Fort Evergreen Pet and Play Farm, a day trip to Oxford Island Nature Reserve, a visit to Dublin and a fascinating Irish language guided tour of the Leprechaun Museum, and a fun day at the Narnia Trail at Kilbroney Forest Park.

As if all that wasn’t enough, the children also had the opportunity to enjoy instruction in hurling and camogie, Celtic arts and crafts workshops, nature hunts and making bird boxes and feeders, as well as welcoming the world-famous Armagh Rhymers, having recently returned from a tour of China. All workshops, activities and interaction with the children were delivered through the medium of Irish. Parents and relatives can visit CAIRDE Teo’s Facebook page where there are hundreds of photographs recording the children’s exploits during the week.

In recent years CAIRDE Teo has taken responsibility for coordination and delivery of Campa Mhacha. Team Campa Mhacha is staffed by professional teachers, youth workers and a community development team with many years of experience in delivering recreational projects for young people. All camp staff are fully qualified and trained to professional standards and all are vetted in accordance with legislation.

The Camp receives partial financial assistance from the Education Authority and from Foras na Gaeilge. CAIRDE Teo would like to offer thanks to the all the Camp teachers and assistants who gave up a week of their summer holidays, to Armagh Rhymers, Ciarán Mac Fhearghusa from Óga Yoga and the guides at the Leprechaun Museum and Fort Evergreen. CAIRDE Teo also express their gratitude to the staff at the Navan Centre and to Jerome’s Coach Hire.

Finally, CAIRDE would also like to say a huge thank you to all of the children who took part in the Camp and who contributed so much in terms of their participation, joy, enthusiasm and energy. Maith sibh a pháistí agus bainígí úsáid as an Ghaeilge ar feadh an tsamhraidh uilig.