What course is most suited to my child – an A or a B course? We strongly recommend that all children attending Coláiste na bhFiann for the first time attend a B course regardless of their age (Please see the ruling for Course A and Course B)
My daughter’s friend has been on a Rule B course and is now attending a Rule A course? Would it be suitable for my daughter to attend with her? Coláiste na bhFiann strongly recommends that all children attending for the first time attend a B course regardless of where their friends are going.
We live close to the college in Ráth Chairn so we want to send our child there? Is this suitable? It is important to choose a course suitable to your child’s ability as opposed to the location of the college. Please see the ruling on the A and B courses.
What time of the summer is most beneficial to attend a course? Our August courses are most beneficial, particularly to those sitting exams the following June.
What does the course fee cover? The course fee includes accommodation, supervision, meals, tuition and daily activities. It also covers a ticket to Tóstal na bhFiann which takes place at the end of the summer. All children attending Coláiste na bhFiann may attend Cumann na bhFiann for a nominal charge.
When should I apply for courses for next summer? Coláiste na bhFiann's booking system works on a first come-first served basis. We strongly recommend from past experience that each parent should book their son/daughter in as early as possible regardless of what friends may wish to do.
Are Coláiste na bhFiann courses run in residential colleges or in houses with Bean an Tí in a Gaeltacht area? Coláiste na bhFiann offer courses in both a residential college setting and in houses in Gaeltacht areas with Bean an Tí. The breakdown is as follows: Residential College: Ionad Óige na hÉireann, Droim Rí, Co Meath Houses: Ráth Chairn, Co Meath, Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Donegal, and Ros Muc, Co. Galway.
What is involved in an interview/information session? Before attending a Coláiste na bhFiann course each child accompanied by at least one parent, must attend an informal group interview. It is necessary to attend the interview for the full duration (2 hours). This enables us to assess the child’s standard of Irish and also give parents and children the opportunity to meet members of staff beforehand. A short video is shown to the group giving insight into Coláiste na bhFiann and covering all aspects of our courses. Any queries will be discussed along with each child’s personal dietary/medical etc. requirements. A prerequisite of attending a Coláiste na bhFiann A course is learning both Amhrán na bhFiann and Amhrán an Choláiste while Amhrán na bhFiann only is required for a B Course.
What if he/she does not succeed at the interview? Every child is given the opportunity to repeat an interview. The office will contact to make arrangements for this.
My son/daughter has been to interview before does he/she need to go again? If your son or daughter has attended the same level course the previous year then there is no need for another interview. If a child is attending an A level course for the first time following a B level course then he/she will have to sit an interview.
When must I pay the balance of fee? The balance of fee is to be paid on a date in March that is specified on the current application form. If a child is on a waiting list the balance does not have to be paid until/if a place is confirmed on the course. If an interview must be done, and has not been completed by the date in March, the fees are due two weeks after the successful completion of the interview.
My child is on a waiting list for a course. Do I need to pay the balance of fees? Balance of fee is not due for those on waiting lists as you are not guaranteed a place.
Does Coláiste na bhFiann organise transport to the courses? Coláiste na bhFiann does not organise transport to or from the colleges.
My child could have a number of football matches/sports events during the course that they will have to attend. Is this possible? No. Coláiste na bhFiann run total immersion courses so it is important that your child is committed to attend the course in full.
My daughter and her friends would like to be housed together? Can this be organised? It is policy not to house friends or family members together due to the total immersion nature of the course. Habits of a lifetime cannot be changed overnight in terms of language. By separating young people who are used to speaking English to each other there is less chance that they will speak English to each other. It can also be off-putting for children attending on their own to see groups of friends attending together. We strive to create an environment whereby all children get to know each other within the first 2-3 days thereby eliminating the risk of cliques.
What is the insurance cover in relation to personal items? We have made every effort to ensure that all aspects of our course and activities are properly covered by insurance. Coláiste na bhFiann cannot be responsible for the childs' personal property and it it not possible to obtain insurance cover for such items e.g. clothing, make-up/toiletries, jewellery, musical instruments, sports equipment, etc. On the advice of our Insurers we are recommending that all valuables which the child may bring with them on the course be covered under the 'All Risks' section of the home insurance. Musical instruments and sports equipment are the most likely items in question. All children will be responsible for their own personal belongings and we suggest that they do not lend them to other children. Unfortunately we cannot assume responsibility for lost property.
Would it be possible for my son to use his mobile phone in the evenings? There is zero tolerance policy with regards to mobile phones. Contact with your child can be facilitated through the college mobile phone should it be necessary. We strongly advise that your child do not bring a phone with them on the course as this could entail dismissal from the course.
When can my child write home? All children send a letter home on the first Tuesday of the course and at regular intervals throughout. These are all posted on the Tuesday. Should you not have received it by Thursday please phone the course. Receiving letters is very important to your child. We ask that all parents make an effort to send letters or notes to their child while they are with us.
When can I visit my child? Visiting is for 2 hours on a Sunday. This runs from 2.30 – 4.30. College activities continue during this time. To be fair to all children we ask that parents adhere to these times.
Who is the main point of contact while my child is on the course? The course manager or an Bainisteoir is the main point of contact while your child is on the course. You will receive their number on the first day. Alternatively contact the Head Office by phone or by email during office hours (9.30 - 5.00 Monday to Friday)
Is there a closing ceremony on the course? Yes. All courses have a closing ceremony which showcases the work the children have achieved during the course. It is important that parents and family are in attendance.
Does Coláiste na bhFiann provide opportunities to use Irish during the year? Yes. Coláiste na bhFiann strongly recommends that each child attend Cumann na bhFiann, a nationwide network of weekly youth clubs, that run between September to Easter during the year. This is the only way that your child will maintain the fluency they have attained on the courses.
What is my child not allowed to bring on the course? English books, dictionaries, walkman, iPod, mp3 player, smart watches, mobile phone, hair straightener, aerosols, digital camera (Disposable recommended)
What should my child bring with them?
One set of good clothes and sufficient clothes for the full course (Labelled in Irish)
Whatever musical instrument the child plays
Reusable water bottle
Sportswear, swimwear, swim cap, runners and flip-flops
Some stamped addressed envelopes (home address in Irish)
Duvet or sleeping bag with pillow and sheets
Sufficient towels and toiletries
A bag for laundry
Coláiste na bhFiann
Ionad Óige na hÉireann
Droim Rí, Co na Mí A85 K221