University of Ulster first class Irish graduate inspires future generations as she overcomes the odds
Mum-of-four Angela Crimmins has overcome all the odds as she graduates with a first class honours degree in Irish Language and Literature from Ulster University today.
Juggling a young family - Gracie (eight), Aisling (six) and five year-old twins Adrian and Darragh - Angela also works as an Irish language assistant at St Colman’s College in Newry, a job she secured during her final year of part-time study.
Angela has had to battle with great personal tragedy during her time at university, losing her father suddenly two years into the course, having also previously lost her brother in a drowning accident in 2001.
She said: “Studying part-time with a young family can be difficult but the staff at Ulster University were so supportive and I enjoyed every minute. When I first began my degree the twins were only two years old and I found that the lecturers were very accommodating and understanding.
“Losing my father was an incredibly difficult time in my life and I did struggle to keep on top of things but my lecturers were amazing, often texting me and replying to emails when I needed guidance, even at weekends. If I needed extra time to complete assignments that was possible too.
“The students and staff had such a great relationship, the classes were small and there was a lot of one-to-one time with the tutors. For anyone that has a young family, Ulster University really makes it possible to balance study with the pressures of every day modern life.
“My husband Jeff has also been fantastic and his support has been invaluable, giving me the time to study for my degree.”
Angela plans to do a PGCE next year and follow her dream of becoming an Irish teacher.
“I am originally from Ranafast, County Donegal, so Irish is my first language and my passion. I want to inspire the next generation of young people to appreciate Irish literature and help keep the language alive.
“I come from a long generation of Irish speakers, my grandfather John Ghráinne, who sadly passed away last Christmas, taught Irish in St Colman’s College for a time and was a well-known Seanchaί or storyteller. My mother and I also completed a part-time diploma in Irish from Ulster University through our local college in Donegal soon after losing my brother in 2001.
“I am delighted to be graduating today with first class honours in a subject that I love and to be working in a career that allows me to share my passion for Irish with others.”