17 July 2006: Since it was first introduced in 2003, more than 500 international students have taken part in NUI Galway's online Diploma in Irish Studies. Now, for the first time, the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway, is recruiting students from Ireland for the next cycle of the online diploma, which will begin in September 2006. The unique course has been endorsed by President Mary McAleese, who recently participated in an online seminar with students at Regis University in the USA.
Expressing her enthusiastic support for the programme, the President commented, "Could anything better typify the move from donkey-and-cart picture postcard Ireland to the high-tech global leader in software technology that Ireland has become in recent decades? Here is a place for the intellectually curious to have their imaginations stretched and challenged."
This programme, the first of its kind in the world, has been developed by NUI Galway in partnership with Regis University, Denver, Colorado, and is targeted at non-traditional and mature students primarily who do not have access to traditional programmes of study in this area. The purpose of the course is to provide a basic introduction to Irish life and culture through the disciplines of Archaeology, History, English, Irish, Political Science and Sociology.
President McAleese went on to pay tribute to those involved in delivering the programme, "You are playing an important part in the shaping and reshaping of this new Ireland with its unique meld of the quaint and quantum physics, of tradition and trade, of craic and computer."
The Presidential endorsement was welcomed by Dr Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. 'We were delighted to have the opportunity to showcase Irish Studies online for President McAleese and even more so when she volunteered to participate in one of the online seminars. This online programme has been popular among students from North America, Japan, Malaysia, Afghanistan, and, more recently, from Australia and New Zealand. By opening it up to students based in Ireland, we hope to build on this success."
Full details are available on the programme website at www.irishstudiesonline.org or from Samantha Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org