Junior Cert Irish: Paper 1 ‘very much in line’ with previous years

Most happy with paper while reaction to listening comprehension section was mixed

The two-hour paper is broken into three sections. Photograph: iStockphoto

The two-hour paper is broken into three sections. Photograph: iStockphoto


There were no surprises in this morning’s Junior Cert Paper 1 in Irish which was described by teachers as being “very much in line” with previous years.

The two-hour paper is broken into three sections and the composite parts of the paper are the cluastuiscint (listening comprehensionl), an léamhthuiscint (comprehension), trialacha teanga comhthéacsúla (contextual language test) and ceapadóireacht (composition).

Teacher Ruth Morrissey of St Michael’s Community College in Kilmihil, Co Clare said the exam contained: “nothing that they wouldn’t have prepared for and there was nothing unexpected on the paper.”

“I think it was very encouraging. A lot of students can be nervous going in in the morning. But no, everyone came out and was saying ‘I’m glad I stuck with the honours’”.

The reaction to the listening comprehension was mixed.

Teacher Robbie Cronin of Marian College, Ballsbridge, in Dublin, said some students found they did not have enough time for this section of the exam.

“The old chestnut of the listening comprehension comes back again. Students of Irish hear the pieces only twice, as distinct from the other modern languages which are heard three times.

“My students said that they felt they hadn’t enough time to write down the answers. The píosa nuachta , which dealt with a student winning young scientist award, proved particularly difficult in this regard.”

Students at St Michael’s Community College were happy with the dialects heard in the aural.

“Sometimes there is an issue with different dialects but they found it very straight-forward and very clear this year in comparison with previous years,” Ms Morrissey said. The questions asked about the cluastuiscint were “very much in line with previous years,” she added.

Commenting on the rest of the paper, Ms Morrissey said students would have been familiar with Dialann Dúradán (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), which came up, while the questions on an Chathair Ghlas (the world’s first forest city being built in southern China) might have been more difficult “as some of the vocabulary might be more challenging”. She added that the questions in this section were seen as “very fair” by her students.

In the section on grammar, candidates were asked to show their knowledge about the aimsir chaite (past tense). They were asked rewrite a piece of text in the past tense describing the launch of a CD last year by TV personality Eoin McDermott in association with Conradh na Gaeilge and Raidió Rí-Rá.

“It was great to see something modern and up-top-date,” said Ms Morrissey. “He is someone the students would be very much familiar with. They were happy enough with the grammar.”

Analysing the final writing section in which students were asked to write an essay, compose a story or outline an argument one would make during a debate, Ms Morrissey said: “It allowed a well-prepared student the scope to really show off their grammar and vocabulary”

Overall, students were happy with Paper 1.

“It was very fair. A lot of them were very happy coming out of the paper, so fingers crossed for the afternoon paper,” she said.

“I thought it was well put together. I think seeing more modern stuff come up in an Irish paper is always going to be welcomed by teachers. There is this old perception that it is old-fashioned but seeing these come in during the current climate is welcome.”

The reading comprehension on the Ordinary Level paper “were good if a bit dated,” said Mr Cronin. One piece of text referred in the future tense to concerts to be played by Ed Sheeran despite that they took place in early May.

A piece of text on GAA star Ríona Ní Bhuachalla, “although a good article, missed that she has just retired from intercounty,” said Mr Cronin.

Mr Cronin said the graphics in the written section (6a) where students were asked to write a letter about their dog “seemed childish”. He pointed out a grammatical error in question 5 where the words i dteach “mo chara” should instead be i dteach “mo charad”.

He said it was “disappointing to have a grammatical mistake so prominently shown”