Agony and joy - but mostly relief - as teenagers get results
There were scenes of agony, ecstasy and ultimately, for most, relief as teenagers across the country finally received their Leaving Certificate results.
Almost 58,000 students were handed the slip of paper yesterday with their achievements being "broadly in line" with those of previous years, according to the State Exams Commission (SEC).
There was a heavy focus on maths where higher level students were hoping for bonus points and ordinary level were happy that the grading system was adjusted to reflect what many considered was an unusually difficult exam.
Gerry Quinn, president of the Teachers Union of Ireland, said pupils should be congratulated on their achievements at a time when the education system has been damaged by years of cutbacks.
"They should keep things in perspective and remember that these exams will not define their lives," he said.
"There will be other opportunities to pursue their desired course if they did not secure the results that they hoped for today."
Some students won't be overly worried about the points race when offers come out next Monday after they achieved the maximum points.
Aoife Corcoran, a pupil at Loreto College, St Stephen's Green in Dublin, arrived at her school, accompanied by her parents and little brother - to learn she got eight A1s.
Aoife, from Rathmines in Dublin, told the Irish Independent that she was relieved and shocked but happy. "My family and I have been bracing ourselves for today," she said.
Another student who got the eight A1s is Alva Casey from Loreto Abbey Secondary School in Dalkey. Incredibly, her twin sister Niamh also managed to get three A1s and three A2s.
"It's a great surprise, I'm delighted... I'm hoping to study science in Trinity," she said.
Lucy Prendeville (18) from Sacred Heart Secondary School, Tullamore, got her eight A1s in maths, physics, chemistry, English, Irish, French, music and biology.
"I couldn't actually open my results, my family opened them and I ran away and they started screaming at me telling me what I got," she said.
Music-mad Ciarán O'Donovan said he was "delighted and surprised" after scooping eight A1 grades. But despite his massive 625 points total, the St Fachtna's High School student, in Skibereen, Co Cork, said he is looking forward to taking up a place on an Arts with Music course in University College Cork - expected to be around 400 points.
"I have a big interest in music and that is what I hope to do in college," he told the Irish Independent.
Ciarán said he found it important to get the "balance right" between study and other interests.
Four other students also got eight A1s.
These include two students from Mount Mercy School in Cork who both want to do Medicine in UCC.
Méabh Allen from Ovens was "shocked" when she heard her results as she is working in Munich, Germany for the summer and was told her results over the phone by her mother.
Her schoolmate Kate Henry from Ballincollig, who also bagged eight A1s, said: "I think it will take a few days for it to settle in."
The other students who received eight A1s were Lola Hourihane from Jesus and Mary College in Goatstown, Dublin and Conall Ó hAiniféin from Gaelcholaiste An Chláir in Ennis, Clare.