Junior Cert Irish Paper 1: ‘Grand’ the buzzword of the day

Ordinary Level Irish paper ‘on the whole quite good’ despite error in question 6

Dublin singer Imelda May (centre) featured in the Ordinary Level paper. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Dublin singer Imelda May (centre) featured in the Ordinary Level paper. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times


Students at St Michael’s Community College in Kilmihil, Co Clare, were “very happy” with the Higher Level Junior Cycle Paper 1 in Irish.

Teacher Ruth Morrissey said her students thought it was a “fair paper”.

“Overall they were very happy with the choice of the aiste and the scéal. They thought it was very fair. ‘Grand’ seemed to be the buzzword of the day.”

Analysing the paper, Ms Morrissey said she also felt the paper was “very balanced”.

“When it came to the ceapadóireacht (composition), they knew the vocabulary and they would have had the range of language required to negotiate those topics.

“It offered a fair-and-balanced range of topics that would have been appropriate for them.

In the section on grammar, students were asked to show their knowledge about the future tense (aimsir fháisteanach) by filling in spaces left blank in sentences describing the woes of Cecil the Lion.

“It think that was very fair as well - it was very doable. There wouldn’t have been any issue with any of that.”

Ms Morrissey said some of the vocabulary featured in the section on comprehension “might not have been as familiar” to students but added that a “challenge” such as that “was appropriate for higher level third-year students”.

Mr Robbie Cronin, a teacher at Marian College, Ballsbridge, said the first comprehension piece - about the importance of healthy eating - “although topical and student friendly”, was “very challenging.”

“The vocabulary was tough- some words I had to look up myself - ‘shaill’ (fat) for instance.”

Mr Cronin said the question on grammar “was quite good” although he added that some might say “the change of verbs from past to future tense was a bit easy for Higher Level.”

One of the talking points from the Ordinary Level paper might be a grammatical error that appeared in one of the questions.

Mr Cronin pointed to an error in Question 6 on the Ordinary Paper which might have thrown some students.

The question “Cad a bhí sibh á dhéanamh” is grammatically incorrect and should have been written as “Cad a bhí sibh ag déanamh” or “Cad a bhí siad ag déanamh.”

“The Department has an entire year to prepare the paper and there should not be a single mistake on the paper. Perhaps you might understand it if the text in question was lengthy,” Mr Cronin said.

“It is possible that at this level, some of the students would not see the error but such a mistake should not happen,” he added.

The Ordinary Level Irish paper, he said, “on the whole was quite good.”

Mr Cronin said one of the clues in Question 1 where students were asked to match a series of pictures was “quite difficult”.

He also questioned the use of terminology in a passage of text on the work of Jesuit priest Fr Peter McVerry.

“Daoine óga gan dídean” (young homeless) was “very difficult” for this level, he said.

Mr Cronin said one of the questions where students were asked to identify the causes for youth homelessness was “a higher-level type question”.

Another question on a piece of text about singer Imelda May was problematic. Students were asked to identify how Ms May shows her respect for the Liberties. Mr Cronin said the answer to this question was “not clear”.