2011-08-19 / Community

Shevlin’s Ireland Sojourn Continues

By Daniel Solomon

Ed Shevlin on a bike ride through the Irish countryside. Ed Shevlin on a bike ride through the Irish countryside. On the peninsula, Ed Shevlin is a larger-than-life figure: a sometime Wave columnist, an 18-year veteran of the sanitation department, a person who has gone cross-country on his motorcycle and back, a vice-president of the Rockaway Republicans, and, most recently, a Fulbright Scholar.

In June, Shevlin, 50, was given the prestigious award to study the Irish language on the Emerald Isle over the summer in a four-week immersion program at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

He started his study of Gaelic in 2009, enrolling at the University in the summer of 2009, later coming back in the fall to continue classes at CUNYLehman College. When he was awarded the scholarship, Shevlin was showered in media attention, garnering coverage in newspapers like the Daily News, and, of course, The Wave.

In July, he headed to the other side of the pond again, this time on the federal government’s dime, and when we caught up with him, he was eager to share his experiences so far.

Standing on the coast. Standing on the coast. Currently, Shevlin lives with a host family in Galway and conducts many daily activities in Irish. By the end of the program, he’ll have sat for three exams, each one testing different aspects of fluency, such as conversational skills and writing abilities. He has performed well so far and hopes to transfer credit from the Galway school back home to SUNY-Empire State College, where he is currently earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Gaelic on top of the Associate’s Degree he already has in Historical Studies.

His hard work has paid off not just in high marks, but also in recognition. Shevlin and his fellow Fulbright scholars have been profiled in countless publications and news broadcasts, becoming a big hit in Ireland.

Beyond academics, though, Shevlin has had a lot of fun over there, venturing out into the countryside on 25-mile bike rides and heading to the west coast of the island. It’s a sure bet that many in Rockaway can’t wait to see him when he comes home.

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