Training Activity 2: 27 Years of Biology Today 'as Gaeilge'

Submitted by admin on Sun, 04/17/2011 - 20:33
Innis Meain
Start Date
End Date
Inis Meáin Island, Aran Islands, Co. Clare

Inis Meáin ón aeir

The IBIOLI is celebrating 27 Years of Biology Today ‘as Gaeilge’. To celebrate we are running two training sessions that will include lectures and field forays, ‘as Gaeilge’, for about 300 trainee primary teachers will be held in Inis Meáin, Aran Islands. The second of these activities will take place on, June 17th-18th 2011. 

Con O’Rourke (ex Teagasc), Éanna Ní Lamhna (Former President, An Taisce), Prof. John Breen (Universy of Limerick), Aisling Nic An tSithigh (Dublin Naturalists’ Field Club) and Diarmuid McAree (former Chief Inspector, Forestry) will expound on the geology, flora, fauna and farming practices of the local (Burren) environment. The presentations are relevant to the primary schools Science curriculum and should serve as a useful model for the trainee teachers.

About the Aran Islands:

The Aran Islands are an extension of the Burren, with a similar unique flora, but also Astragalus danicus, a Protected Species found in Ireland only on the islands. The bedrock geology is fossil-rich carboniferous limestone, strewn with granite and sandstone ‘glacial erratics’ dragged over from Connemara during the Ice Age. Winter grazing forms part of the farming system; this limits sward height and allows delicate Burren species such as gentians to flower during late Spring-early Summer. 

About the Biology Today Programmes:

Éanna Ní Lamhna (i lár) ag teaspáint flóra Inis Meáin do ábhair-múinteoirí.

The IBIOLI has been running ‘Biology Today’ programmes for second-level students during the school year since the 1950s. In the late 1970s the then Chair of the Institute, Dr Derek Goodhue, suggested that some of these programmes, rather than being held indoors in winter, should involve lectures and outdoor field forays in summer. 

The thousands of schoolchildren in Gaeltacht summer colleges suggested a possible target audience (provided all ‘gnó’ could be ‘déanta i nGaeilge’). Since 1984, programmes were organised annually, initially in all three Aran Islands for second-level students, but more recently for trainee primary teachers on their required Gaeltacht stints in Inis Meáin. Arising from the Aran programmes, and supported by the Institute of Biology of Ireland, “Nature Guide to the Aran Islands” (The Lilliput Press) was published in 2006, followed by an expanded Irish-language version (Dúlra Oileáin Árann) for publication by Cois Life in 2011.

Apply Now!

Those with a reasonable level of spoken Irish and who are interested in participating in future Aran programmes should contact Dr Con O’Rourke, 16C Park Lane, Sandymount, Dublin 4, Tel. 01-269 7537, Fón póca 086 886 55464, e-mail: