Dubai’s Uptown School is the venue for an unlikely type of education rarely found in the desert; Irish!

Gaelscoil UAE was founded a little over a year ago in October 2015 by three Irish couples; Esmé and Martin Halpenny, Therese and Mick heffernan, and Deirdre and Jez Youell.

The first teacher was Éilis Ní Raghallaigh from Rann na Feirste.

Éilis had worked in Manchester before moving to Wesgreen International School in Sharjah.


Speaking to the Irish Times, Éilis says; “The children I have taught in class in the last year have been fantastic to work with. There is a real interest and engagement from them in their language and culture.”

“I have seen children of all ages walk into class on the first day without ever having, prior to Gaelscoil, any grasp of the language, and walk out to greet their parents with a ‘Dia dhuit’ or ‘Conas atá tú?’”

“It is important to remember that some of these ‘emigrant’ children have been born abroad into different cultures, or indeed travelled with their parents at a very young age and lost their Irish identities.”

Several Irish morning schools can be found in Dubai, with Little Treasures Montessori in Ras al Khaimah teaches over 40 children between 4 and 11 Irish for an hour on Saturday mornings, followed by an hour of songs and music.

Iontach ar fad!