Leaving Cert Irish 2: tougher challenge

A tougher paper with an occasional “stinker” of a question higher level Irish paper two

President of South Africa Dr Nelson Mandela with the President Mrs McAleese at Aras An Uachtarain

President of South Africa Dr Nelson Mandela with the President Mrs McAleese at Aras An Uachtarain


After a delightful paper one, it was perhaps expected that Irish paper two would present higher level students with more of a challenge. “It was much tougher than paper one,” said Oisin Mac Eoin, head of Irish in St Benildus College, Dublin. “The texts they chose to examine were the most difficult ones.”

Fortunately for students, the parts of the paper that would have caused the most upset were worth very few marks. “The comprehensions are worth 50 marks each and those were fine,” Mac Eoin said. “There was one particular question about poetic meter which students will be upset about but it’s only worth nine marks. Hopefully they can keep a bit of perspective.”

The paper opened with two comprehension exercises - one about Nelson Mandela, and the other looking back on 2013. “The questions were long in this section,” said Clare Grealy of the Institute of Education. “They would have been easily understood.”

“Mandela was a welcome choice,” said Sorcha Ní Eideáin, teacher in St Kevin’s Community College, Dunlavin Co Wicklow. “We had covered his story in class which was fortunate and I’m sure that others had too.”

The prose question asked about the text Dís - not a student favourite according to teachers. The questions asked were fine overall, apart from one that asked about stíl inste (the style of storytelling) - a term with which students may not have been familiar. “The answer would have been straightforward,” Mac Eoin said. “It was more a problem of whether they would have understood the question.”

Historical poem ‘An Spailpín Fánach’ was another unpopular choice. “Students don’t seem to relate to it at all,” said Ní Eideáin. “The last question was a real stinker,” said Mac Eoin. “It asked about meter. It was a complicated one to answer.”

The additional literature section, most students anwer questions either about An Triail, or ‘Fill Arís’. Speaking about the question for An Triail, Grealy said, “While the question asked was straightforward, it gave students limited scope to demonstrate their knowledge.” The ‘Fill Arís’ question on the other hand was broad and students would have been able to demonstrate their knowledge well according to Grealy.

Ordinary level students would have left the exam pleased, according to Ní Eideain. “The questions were predictable,” she said. “It wasn’t without its challenges though.”

Indeed, although the comprehension questions - one about Sibeal Davitt and one about Brian O’Driscoll - were “readable and understandable” according to Mac Eoin, the prose questions presented a challenge.

Two stories featured, Hurlamaboc and Oisín i dTír na nÓg and according to Grealy, the questions were very detailed. “The amount of vocabulary required would have been tedious and challenging for ordinary level students,” she said.

Poetry questions were very straighforward. “All the information was in the poem if the students understood the questions,” Mac Eoin said.


Maidir le gearrscéal roghnach a ndearna tú staidéar air le linn do chúrsa, déan plé gairid ar do rogha dhá cheann de na ceannteidil seo a leanas:

(i) An fhorbairt a dhéantar ar an bpríomhthéama ó thús deireadh an ghearrscéil.

(ii) An t-atmaisféar atá le brath sa ghearrscéal seo.

(iii) An ghné is mó de stíl inste an ghearrscéil a chuaigh i bhfeidhm ort.