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Léargas Forum 2016, the ‘road less travelled’?

Wed, Dec 14th, 2016

“TY was the more useful waste of time I have ever encountered”; “Never underestimate the power of gravy”‘; “It’s a no-brainer!”… there were some memorable quotes from participants at yesterday’s Léargas Forum!

Over 130 people from all over Ireland came to our third annual forum, held in Dublin Castle Conference Centre on Tuesday 13 December. The theme this year was the ‘road less travelled’, inspired by the words of poet Robert Frost: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–, I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference”. The Forum was a chance to explore the different roads that participants have taken because of our programmes, and the difference that has made to their work.

2016 European Language Label winners UCD Bórd na Gaeilge players opened the day with some beautiful traditional music, followed by an excellent and wide-ranging keynote address from Prof. Maurice Devlin of Maynooth University.

UCD Bórd na Gaeilge musicians get the Forum off to a great start
UCD Bórd na Gaeilge musicians get the Forum off to a great start
Maurice Devlin delivers keynote address
Prof. Maurice Devlin, Maynooth University, delivers the keynote address

Maurice charted just some of Léargas’s 30-year history, reflecting on the changes that have happened–especially in the youth arena–in that time. He provided clear and cogent insights into the research that has been done (most recently by the RAY network on the Youth in Action programme), drawing well-informed conclusions about the impact that European programmes have on those who take part. Maurice’s full talk will shortly be available on our soundcloud channel.The eTwinning National Quality Labels were awarded at the Forum, recognising the efforts of students and teachers in working innovatively together online with peers in other European countries on topics as wide-ranging as ‘New Ideas for a New Europe’ to ‘The art and magic of an ancient festival’.From First Steps to Bringing it all back home, four workshops closed out the morning, where attendees listened, shared, discussed and inspired each other in equal measure while learning about the benefits of the full range of programmes that Léargas manages.

After lunch, musicians and singers from the Williams Syndrome Association of Ireland delighted the audience with two great performances to open the afternoon.

WSAI singers
Singers from WSAI delighted the audience at the Forum

And it was during the five really different but equally thought-provoking and inspiring TED-type talks that the attendees heard about the power of gravy that provided comfort to young people away from home for the first time; and the ‘waste of time’ that led to a young woman’s love for languages.

The day ended on as good a note as it began with the project showcase and toolfair encouraging lots of interaction and interest.

Check back soon for the full report and the details of next year’s Forum!