Mystery Shopper

Report: Free Teaches Weekend

When I saw an ad on Facebook for a “free weekend” away I decided I should give this thing a try! Nothing is free these days and sure  how bad could it be, I could put up with cold showers and multiple ham sandwiches for  a weekend ( though making sure to pack a 6 pack of  Tayto’s, just in case I was starving). It was advertising a great opportunity to practice my Irish and also to check out the place where potentially some of my students would be hanging out for the summer.

What a pleasant surprise was in store for me though ! From the moment we arrived in Colaiste Uisce we were spoilt rotten. On Friday night we received  a very warm welcome from the staff of Colaiste Uisce and a trip to Teach John Joes and a few beverages was  great way to get to know a few people. From the off everyone got right into speaking as Gaeilge.  Im not an Irish teacher so not speaking Irish as regularly as some of the people on the course but when everyone is speaking Irish all the time its surprising how easy it comes back to you.

I was very impressed with the accommodation.  The room was spacious and bright and the beds were comfortable. The bathroom was clean and most importantly there was lovely hot water. The food all weekend was very impressive, plenty of it and always perfectly timed. Tea and biscuits after a morning sailing was exactly what we needed !

I really enjoyed all the activities we got involved in. I was part of the group sailing on the Sat morning and surfing on the Sunday morning. The instruction was really good and we were tested on some of our new Irish words, being boat parts and equipment, making sure we were taking it all in.  While we spoke Irish all weekend I was impressed when we were treated to a few English words in relation to safety on the water and with the boats, making sure everyone was clear on everything. We had great fun on the water, even when the boats collapsed and the instructors kept a close eye on us with the safety boat/ instructors always being nearby. Dodge ball was our land activity and what an excellent group activity ! It’s an easy sport for all to get involved with and the rules were explained clearly. It was a very competitive game and  great fun was had by all. I think this may have been my favourite part of the weekend !The trip to Erris Head was  another treat for us. We had a long walk around the headland and the instructors gave us a great informal history of the area. A  few seals even popped up their heads to say hello. A beautiful part of the country to see and it is clear that the instructors really appreciate the beauty of the area around them.

The Ceili on the Saturday night was another highlight. We really had a great group on the trip and everyone was straight up to get involved in each of the 3 dances we were taught. There were a few jagger bombs needed by a few people as we were wrecked from the morning’s activities but that gave us a bigger spring to our step ! I was very impressed with the Colaiste Uisce staff at this event.  All the instructors from the day were there and though I’m sure they’ll  be teaching these steps all summer, they were very enthusiastic  in showing us how to do the  Colaiste Uisce moves !

The organisation involved in this event was very impressive. The weekend flowed so well , not having to think for ourselves all weekend (except when trying to remember some Irish words !) I overheard one person say it was like a Retreat with water sports thrown in for good measure. The transportation to and from Erris Head, to the pubs and also providing a pick up option for any of us who wanted to show off our new dance moves in the big lights of Belmullet nightclub was very generous.

And all of this was free ! I’m meant to identify areas of weakness in this report but big thumbs up to Coláiste UISCE from me and my friends. Go raibh maith agat to all involved. I’ll definitely be recommending Colaiste Uisce to all students and maybe I’ll even try and sneak back in as one for 2 weeks in the summer!

Academically my son’s Irish improved tremendously and he found the sporting experiences both challenging and rewarding

Clare Fallon, Gaillimh