Irish (Junior Cert)

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Irish (Gaeilge) is a subject of the Junior Cycle examination in Secondary schools in Ireland. There are three levels: Higher (commonly known as Honours), Ordinary (commonly known as Pass) and Foundation (rarely taken, usually for very weak students).

Syllabus[edit]

The Irish syllabus at the Junior Cycle level is aimed at developing the student's aural, speech and written skills in Irish. The examination tests the students on aural, written, and literature skills. There is an optional oral at Junior Cert Level. Choosing this option aids with pronunciation and speaking Irish for the Leaving Certificate examination.

Higher level[edit]

The Higher level examination has three parts, two written papers, which last 3 hours (180 minutes) in total and are worth 210 marks, and an aural comprehension (Irish: Cluastuiscint) examination, which lasts 30 minutes, with a maximum of 40 marks available.

Questions[edit]

Written/Aural Paper 1 (2 hours) has two sections: Written Language, and Comprehension:

Question Type Mark Recommended time to spend
Part 1 Aural Comprehension 40 marks 15 minutes (average tape length)
Part 2 Comprehensions (2) 40 marks 40 minutes
Part 3 Contextual Language Tests (2) 20 marks 15 minutes
Part 4 Composition 50 marks 50 minutes

Written Paper 2 ( 1 hour 30 mins ) has four sections: Prose, Poetry and Letter writing:

Question Type Mark Recommended time to spend
Part 1, Question 1 Unseen Prose 15 marks 15 minutes
Part 1, Question 2 Studied Prose 15 marks 15 minutes
Part 2, Question 3 Unseen Poetry 15 marks 15 minutes
Part 2, Question 4 Studied Poetry 15 marks 15 minutes
Part 3 Letter Writing 30 marks 25 minutes

Ordinary level[edit]

The Ordinary level examination has two parts, a written examination, which lasts 1 hour 30 minutes (90 minutes) and is worth 220 marks, and an aural comprehension (Irish: Cluastuiscint) examination, which lasts 30 minutes, with a maximum of 100 marks available.

Questions[edit]

This paper has two sections, Section 1 (Roinn 1), which is the comprehension (Léamhthuiscint) section, and Section 2, the written language (Scríobh na Teanga) section. Each carries 110 marks.

Section One: Comprehension

Question Type (example) Mark Recommended time to spend
Question 1 Pictures and Signs 20 marks 5 minutes
Question 2 Notices/Poem(Answer 2 of 3) 30 marks 10 minutes
Question 3 Extracts (two parts) 60 marks 20 minutes

Section Two: Written Language

Question Type (example) Mark Recommended time to spend
Question 1 Write Postcard or Note 25 marks 10 minutes
Question 2 Write a letter 30 marks 15 minutes
Question 3 Short article,Diary entry (c. 15 lines) 45 marks 20 minutes

Criticism[edit]

This course is frequently criticised. The most common argument is the entire way in which it is taught, with a large number of people (including teachers) believing the course should be much closer to that of the French and German course. Irish is also only used in a small fraction of Ireland as a vernacular language. Its utter uselessness in the real world receives many complaints from students, teachers and parents. Many think it should be an optional subject rather than something forced upon students.

External links[edit]