Frequently Asked Questions
Why Choose Coláiste UISCE
See our “10 Reasons to Choose Coláiste UISCE” page
Where is Coláiste UISCE located?
UISCE is located in the Gaeltacht of North West Mayo, near Belmullet.
See our “contact us” page for more details
Is it a mixed course?
Yes, there is roughly a fifty/fifty split on each Gaeltacht course but it can vary depending on applications
How many children are on each Gaeltacht course?
There are currently 244 students on each 2 week Irish College Summer Gaeltacht course, 104 students on the Easter Irish College Gaeltacht course and 104 students on Cúrsa F Summer Gaeltacht course
What is the postal address for UISCE?
Coláiste UISCE, Cuan Eilí, OP Clochar, Béal an Átha, Co. Mhaigh Eo F26 HF10
What is the payment policy?
Price inclusive of: Accommodation, food, ranganna Gaeilge and all activities during your Gaeltacht Irish College course. Please note water activities (Sailing, Windsurfing, Surfing and Canoeing) are weather permitting. Price not inclusive of: travel to/from Coláiste UISCE, private laundry requirements and tours during the course. Deposit- A deposit of 25% must accompany application forms. There is an Easy Pay option on request. Discount Vouchers will be credited off the balance due. Confirmation – A course place is only confirmed on receipt of a course reference number (uimhir thagartha) Balance- The balance due must be paid 2 months before the course start date. Discounts – Only discount vouchers valid for the current year and course will be accepted. Only one voucher is accepted per application form. All vouchers must be submitted with the application form and deposit. The value of the voucher will then be credited off the balance due.
I have 2 children going to Coláiste Uisce, is there a family discount?
Yes there is a €30 family discount for immediate members of a family attending an Irish College course in the same year. Where a family discount is availed of no other discount vouchers will be accepted.
Making a booking / accommodation arrangements / special requirements
How do I book a place?
You can book your place online via our ‘Book Now’ page on the website. Alternatively you can download and complete an application form and post it to us along with your deposit.
If my preferred course is full, how do I put a name on the waiting list?
If you are booking online, you have the option of placing your name on the waiting list, no deposit is taken when you do this. When a place becomes available the next person on the waiting list will be contacted and will have 24 hours to accept the place and provide a deposit. Your place isn’t guaranteed until we receive a booking deposit.
What kind of accommodation do we have?
How is the accommodation organised?
Accommodation is granted on a first come first served basis. Personal requests are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. A maximum of one friend can be listed and both forms must correspond. Every effort will be made to ensure that students are placed in accommodation with a similar age group, although due to friend requests, this cannot be guaranteed.
How will the students with a Bean an Tí / in local houses get to and from the Colaiste?
Coláiste UISCE uses a private bus service to bring students to and from our Bean an Tí houses to the centre.
How many students are in the houses together?
The numbers vary from house to house ranging from 8 to 12 per house.
My child has an illness; will he / she be able to attend?
We would hope that all children attending Second Level Education could attend our Irish College courses, however for children with serious illnesses; we can only accept bookings provisionally until clearance is received by their doctor to allow attendance. Coláiste UISCE will contact parents directly on receipt of application form stating an illness. Documents will then be sent to the parents to detail the illness, symptoms, normal and emergency procedure and medicines. An indemnity will also be sent to allow Coláiste UISCE staff to administer specified medicines if necessary. The final decision will be made by Coláiste UISCE in consultation with the child’s medical professional and there is a possibility that a certain degree of tailoring is needed to cater to the child’s needs.
My child has special needs; will he / she be able to attend?
We would hope that all children attending Second Level education could attend our courses, however for children with special needs; we can only accept bookings provisionally until clearance is received by their doctor to allow attendance. It would also be dependant on the resources available to meet the child’s needs.
My child has a learning disability; will he / she be able to attend?
Yes, however we would request that details be specified on the application form or by phone, following application.
My child has special dietary requirements; will he / she be able to attend?
We would hope that all children attending Second Level education could attend our courses, however for children with serious dietary requirements or allergies; we can only accept bookings provisionally until clearance is received by their doctor to allow attendance. Coláiste UISCE will contact parents directly on receipt of application form stating the illness. Document will then be sent to the parents to detail the illness, symptoms, normal and emergency procedure and medicines. An indemnity will also be sent to allow UISCE staff to administer specified medicines if necessary during their Irish course.
Do children come on their own without friends?
Yes. Many students come to Coláiste UISCE by themselves and in fact this is encouraged, to enable students to develop and to interactive socially with new peers. It also helps to maintain an Irish atmosphere. Students, who come by themselves, often return home with more new friends than those attending in groups.
Coming to UISCE / Travel Arrangments / Insurance
What items do we need to bring to Uisce?
Swimming togs (2 if possible)
3 x Towels (old towels advisable)
Booties or old runner and socks (neoprene if possible) for water sports
Thermal top or polyester jersey / top for under wetsuit
High factor sun cream
Tracksuit and runners
Rain jacket or rain gear
Spare inhaler for students with asthma
Old shorts for wearing over wetsuit
Jeans, T-Shirts, Sweatshirts / Fleeces
Toilet bag and toiletries
Writing materials, A4 pad and A4 binder for notes
Pens, colouring pencils
Camera, Football boots, Musical Instrument
All forms & information is available here
Can my child bring their own wetsuit?
UISCE provide all students with their own wetsuit for the course duration. We would advise students that would like to bring their own to take care of their wetsuit during the course and to ensure that they bring it home upon course completion. UISCE cannot take responsibility for loss or theft of any personal belongings during the course or of any personal belongings left behind after a course.
What size suitcase can I bring?
To maximise living space and as an evacuation precaution, students are advised to bring soft shell bags or Holdall bags that can fit under beds (approx. 900 x 400x 600 – 15kg per bag – Max 2 bags per student).
How can we travel to/from Uisce?
Private transport is available to students travelling from Dublin, Longford and Ballina. Arrangements are made for those travelling from Cork, Limerick to use public transport as far as Galway where they will meet Coláiste UISCE’s bus. Students will be sent detailed travel information approximately 2 months prior to course start and will also be available on the website at that time. Please notify Coláiste UISCE of your child’s travel arrangements in writing prior 3 weeks prior to the Gaeltacht course start date.
Who do I make the cheque payable to for insurance and bus service?
Please make all cheques and bank drafts payable to ‘Eachtraí Uisce Teo’. The course balance, insurance and bus payment can be all included in the one cheque.
Will my child be covered with insurance while he / she is there?
Students are advised to take out personal insurance before coming on their Gaeltacht course, however the decision is optional. Coláiste UISCE have arranged a discounted Pupil Personal Accident Insurance 24 hour basis policy with Allianz, covering all hospital, medical and doctors bills should your child be involved in an accident while in Coláiste UISCE. Details of how to avail of this policy will be sent to student approximately 2 months prior to course start and will also be available on the website at that time. In the unlikely event of having to make a claim contact the office for the claim forms.
How much pocket money do we need to bring?
Pocket money is a personal matter. There is a small shop in the Coláiste where students may purchase drinks and crisps. Occasionally students will have an opportunity to visit the local Supermarket where an extensive range of products is available. The Coláiste runs a bank for the safe keeping of students’ pocket money. All students are strongly advised to put all their pocket money in the bank on arrival and this money can be withdrawn as necessary on a daily basis.
Will valuables, such as pocket money / phones / ipods be kept safe?
The Coláiste runs a bank for the safe keeping of students’ pocket money. All students are strongly advised to put all their pocket money in the bank on arrival and this money can be withdrawn as necessary on a daily basis. Prohibited items, such as ipods will be collected on the night of arrival and given back on the morning of departure. Coláiste UISCE now allows students to use the texting facility only on their phones during set periods in the evening. Phones will be collected on the night of arrival and will available for use on a daily basis. UISCE would strongly advise students to leave such item at home for safekeeping.
During the course
How are the classes divided?
Students are primarily divided into classes based on age / current year in school. Students attend a short informal interview on the night of arrival and from that we try to strike a balance between streamed classes and mixed learning ability.
How are the groups divided?
Groups are sub-division of the Irish classes, a mixture of boys and girls in each. Depending on numbers etc. students may be divided into groups of similar water sport experience at the discretion of the Activities Manager.
How will I contact a student attending Colaiste Uisce?
Telephone calls to students in English are discouraged as they distract the students’ concentration on Gaeilge and prevent them from gaining maximum benefit from the course. Calls should therefore be kept to a minimum especially during the first three days of the course. Mobile phones are permitted, however they are collected on arrival and students will have access to their phones for approximately half an hour after dinner for texting as phone calls are discouraged. Important messages can be sent through the Principals office, 097-82475 which is staffed from 9am to 6pm. Alternatively you can contact the office on 097-82111.
Out of hours contact procedure
To contact the course principal dial the direct line 097 82475 or the main number 097 82111 and select option 2.
The phone in the course principal’s office is manned from 9:00am to 6.00pm each day.
Messages on this phone are also checked at 8pm and 10pm.
If the need arises to make urgent contact with a student outside of these times parents can call 097 82475 and this phone will divert directly to the course principals phone.
Will the students receive certification in the water sports?
Students who have achieved the required level of knowledge and skill in the activities, and logged the required water time will receive certification in sailing and windsurfing. Please note that these sports are weather dependant however and UISCE cannot guarantee certification for any student on any course. We would advise however that all students with previous qualifications and experience bring their log book (ISA, RYA) with them on the course. For individual requests regarding qualifications and certificates please contact the Activities Manager directly.
What happens when the weather isn’t suitable?
UISCE operates in adherence to national guidelines regarding wind strength, sea state and visibility for each activity. We also offer a range of land activities both indoor and outdoor where perhaps the weather isn’t suitable for water activities.
Can we visit our son/daughter during the course?
During the course in Coláiste UISCE an atmosphere Gaelach is created. As the duration of this course is 2 weeks, we discourage unnecessary visits as they cause disruption to the students’ Irish language learning environment and prevents them from gaining maximum benefit from the course. However if parents deem a visit necessary we would recommend Saturday as this will cause the least disruption to the course. The Coláiste must have formal permission from a child’s parents at least 2 days in advance if their child is to be allowed out with other parents/guardians/people. Parents must sign a permission slip in the office to let us know that their child is being taken out.
What happens on a Sunday, do students go to religious service?
Parents can specify on the application form if they wish their child to attend Catholic religious services, when is usually held on a Friday evening. At present, no religious services are available to cater for other religions.
How will I contact a student attending Coláiste Uisce?
Telephone calls to students in English are discouraged as they distract the students’ concentration on Gaeilge and prevent them from gaining maximum benefit from the course. Calls should therefore be kept to a minimum especially during the first three days of the course. Mobile phones are permitted, however they are collected on arrival and students will have access to their phones for approximately half an hour after dinner for texting as phone calls are discouraged. Important messages to students may be sent through the office phone.
Can students buy hoodies, t-shirts and memorabilia of UISCE?
UISCE memorabilia can be bought during a course or by calling into UISCE .
Can students buy stamps and envelopes to send letters to family and friends during the course?
Stamps and envelopes are available to buy in the Siopa during courses.
What happens if my child leaves clothing etc. behind? Will it be sent back?
Coláiste UISCE will not accept responsibility for clothes lost or left behind during the course. Please ensure all clothes and luggage is clearly marked and labelled. Any items sent back to students will be posted at cost to the student / parents.
Rules and Policies
What supervision is available at night?
Students staying in Bean an Tí houses will be fully supervised by the Bean / Fear an Tí. Students staying in the Coláiste will be fully supervised by the on-site Course Principal, Accommodation Manager and male and female night supervisors (1 per corridor, 4 in total). Ardchinnirí or Prefects are also employed to assist with night supervision.
My son / daughter is staying in the Coláiste, are the boys and girls on separate corridors?
Boys usually stay in the Downstairs Corridor and girls usually stay in the Upstairs Corridor – this is subject to change depending on demand. Should this corridor house both boys and girls there are double doors between the two areas, and students will be under the strictest of supervision.
My child sleepwalks from time to time. What is your policy for their safety?
UISCE will contact parents directly with further information, where specified on the application form.
How safe will my child be on the water?
UISCE is the only Gaeltacht Irish College accredited by the governing bodies of the various watersports. In UISCE we run all water activities in compliance with the relative governing bodies’ recommendations and procedures to that activity. We operate an instructor to student ratio of 1:6 which in some cases is higher than the recommended amount. All of our instructors are highly capable, well qualified and experienced in their fields. Extensive briefs are held at the beginning of each session on the water ensuring that all possible risks from weather to particular student requirements are discussed and met. Along with this our equipment from surfboards to rescue boats are very up to date and in excellent condition. Any questions in relation to any aspect of activities can be put to the Activities Manager.
Why can’t my child use his / her mobile phone during the day?
Mobile phone usage is restricted during Coláiste UISCE courses as they distract the students’ concentration on Gaeilge and prevent them from gaining maximum benefit from the course. They are also restricted for security and child protection reasons. Students will have access to mobile phones in the evening after dinner. UISCE does not accept responsibility for any such prohibited items remaining in the students’ possession, which are misplaced or lost during a course.