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24/09/2021

Historical Donegal college to feature in Bank Holiday weekend documentary

The college has been welcoming students since 1912

Coláiste Bhríde Irish college in Rann na Feirste (Rannafast)

Coláiste Bhríde Irish college in Rann na Feirste (Rannafast)

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta is broadcasting a special programme about the famed Coláiste Bhríde Irish college in Rann na Feirste, or Rannafast, in west Donegal.

The programme will air on Bank Holiday Monday, May 3 on Raidió na Gaeltachta at 11am.

The college has been welcoming students to the northwest to learn Irish since 1926.  It was  established initially in Omeath, Co Louth, in 1912, and was then moved to the Gaeltacht location of Rann na Feirste in 1926 when Fr Lorcán Ó Muireadhaigh found a new home for his college.  The strong connection with Louth and Monaghan and the surrounds endured, with the majority of students coming from this area initially, a tradition which continues to this day.

94 years later the college remains open, until this summer which will break the long standing summer tradition due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since 1926 over 80,000 students have attended the college during the summer months.  Some famous names who have attended or visited include TK Whitaker, Éamon de Valera, Bernadette McAliskey, Pádraig McNamee, Phil Coulter, Pádraig Ó Uallacháin and Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiach.

According to the programme makers, Rann na Feirste was a poor region prior to Ó Muireadhaigh coming in 1925. However, the arrival of the college transformed the small townland in the years that were to come.  Indeed, Rann na Feirste was one of the first areas in the locality to get electricity, running water and roads upgraded due to the large numbers of scholars and teachers that attended the college.

In the programme Coláiste Bhríde, Rann na Feirste, Damien Ó Dónaill delves into the RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta archives to bring us material about the historic college.

Anyone wishing to listen to the programme can tune in at 11am on Bank Holiday Monday, listen live online, or listen back.  

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