Renaissance for the French Institute 

“We have always been attracted to Ireland, both the country and the culture. When the opportunity came up to acquire the French Institute, we didn't hesitate for a moment. Meeting Brigitte was crucial in our decision, seeing what she had achieved through the Institute over the past two decades inspired us to believe in this life-changing project. Our ambition, through the French Institute, is to strengthen the position of the French language and culture in this multicultural and vibrant city”.

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French Institute Galway 2021
Photographed(l-r): Jessy Ferry, Brigitte Demay O`Carroll & Élodie Ferry

Galway’s centre of French language and culture welcomes new leadership team

Founded in 2005 by Brigitte Demay O`Carroll, the French Institute is well established as the place to learn French and experience the French culture in Galway.  The Institute operates from the Bridge Mills, an 18th century mill situated in the heart of Galway City. Traditionally offering in-person group and individual classes, the Institute transitioned to online classes throughout the duration of the pandemic. This online offering proved to be successful and will be maintained, alongside in-person classes, as the Institute ramps up for the autumn season. 

New owners Élodie and Jessy Ferry have relocated from France to Galway, together with their young daughter, to embark on this new venture. The couple are excited to take over the thriving French language centre and have commercial ambitions to extend the scope of services offered.

Speaking about the move for their family, Applied Modern Languages graduate and experienced teacher Élodie shares: “We have always been attracted to Ireland, both the country and the culture. When the opportunity came up to acquire the French Institute, we didn’t hesitate for a moment. Meeting Brigitte was crucial in our decision, seeing what she had achieved through the Institute over the past two decades inspired us to believe in this life-changing project. Our ambition, through the French Institute, is to strengthen the position of the French language and culture in this multicultural and vibrant city”.

French-born entrepreneur Brigitte has been teaching French to the people of Galway for nearly four decades. Together with her team, she has led the Institute through the digital transformation to online delivery over the past 18 months and has been working with the new ownership team to ensure a smooth transition for client students. These students range from pre-school children and examination candidates, through to passionate retirees and lifelong learners. Reflecting on her time at the helm of the Institute, Brigitte remarked:

I have been very privileged to share my love of the French language and culture with the people of Galway. They have been very supportive over the years. That support was essential and I have no doubt that they will carry on climbing the two flights of stairs at the Bridge Mills for classes when they resume on 13th September – unless they prefer the online options which are now part of the school regular offerings.” 

In addition to growing the range of classes offered for all ages and levels, both on and offline, the new ownership team plans to extend the language exchange services between Ireland and France. This will facilitate a more immersive cultural experience for lovers of the language. They also recognise the emergence of Galway and the broader west coast as a centre of global tech innovation and will be working closely with local bodies to offer certified translation services and bespoke classes for companies looking to export to French-speaking countries.  

The institute is currently enrolling for the autumn term, which starts on 13th September 2021 and the full schedule for in-person and online classes is available at www.frenchinstitute.ie.