A photo of a man in a black suit, white shirt and gold tie, standing beside a women in a blue dress. They are shaking hands and holding an award certificate between them, in front of the flags of Ireland, the European Union, and the United States. Paul is wearing a black suit and gold tie, hol
Fulbright Ireland Board Chair Professor Paul Donnelly and Elaine Ní Mhuirí Photo: Robbie Reynolds
Thursday, 20 June 2024

University of Limerick student Elaine Ní Mhuirí joined the ranks of an ‘exceptional’ cohort of scholars this month as she was announced as a Fulbright Irish Awardee for 2024-25.

Elaine – who graduated from UL with a first-class honours degree in Applied Languages (Irish, French and Spanish) in 2023 – received the award alongside 20 fellow scholars from third-level institutions across the country, in a special ceremony hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, and the Embassy of the United States of America in Dublin.

The Fulbright bilateral exchange programme has facilitated academic and cultural exchanges and strengthened Ireland-U.S. relations since 1957. The programme has a reputation for selecting exceptional candidates from across Ireland to study and work in disciplines ranging from health, science, technology and business to culture, the arts and the Irish language. Academics, professionals, students and scholars will research, study, teach and collaborate with experts at leading U.S. institutions, and their innovative research will have lasting impacts for society.

Elaine – who is currently studying an MA in Irish at UL and is also an Irish language tutor to undergraduate students – has been selected as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) and will teach Irish at Indiana University Bloomington.

Elaine’s exceptional language skills are just one string to her bow. While she was elected as Secretary of the Irish Society in 2022, and currently serves as a mentor on Conradh na Gaeilge’s ‘Gníomhaí Gaeilge’ peer mentoring scheme; she also received a gold President’s Volunteer Award at UL in acknowledgment of her voluntary work and has flexed her talents as a pianist at many Royal Irish Academy of Music recitals.

Minister of State for Sport, Physical Education and the Gaeltacht at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and at the Department of Education, Thomas Byrne T.D., congratulated the winners and acknowledged the importance of their contribution to the Irish language and culture.

“The Fulbright Programme plays a crucial role in sustaining the close relationship that the United States and Ireland enjoy. As Fulbright awardees across all disciplines embark on academic and cultural exchanges across the U.S., they serve as ambassadors for Ireland, forging academic links through innovative research, building global understanding, and representing the best of the island of Ireland. Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants teach the Irish language, embody Irish culture and share their learnings upon return. The Department of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and the Department of Foreign Affairs proudly support this programme. I extend my sincere congratulations to the 2024-2025 Fulbright Irish Awardees.”

Chair of the Fulbright Commission Ireland Board, Professor Paul Donnelly, added: “In a year that saw the Commission award Fulbright Public Service Awards to Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi and Dr Anthony Fauci, so too do Fulbright awardees represent the core Fulbright values of meticulous, innovative and high-quality research and teaching in service to the public good. As they begin their cultural and educational exchanges in the U.S., awardees join a distinguished global network of Fulbright alumni, experts, peers and colleagues who have achieved success and accolades in all disciplines. I wish the new awardees an enjoyable and fruitful experience in the United States.”

Irish Fulbright Awardees will serve as cultural ambassadors in the U.S. and share their knowledge, ideas and experience when they return home. Inspired by the mission and ethos of the Fulbright Commission, they will strengthen connections between the U.S. and Ireland, and contribute to creating a global culture of understanding that is vital in today’s ever more polarised world.

The Fulbright Irish Awards will open on August 29, 2024. Interested candidates should visit www.fulbright.ie for more information.