Nelson Mandela's smile beaming out from the first comprehension text helped candidates off to a good start on what was, by general agreement, a very fair paper.
If that didn't suit, the alternative comprehension – a series of reminiscences about 2013 – was just as friendly, covering everything from the troika to astronaut Chris Hadfield's famous tweet from space.
Robbie Cronin of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and Marian College, Ballsbridge, Dublin, said while there was a varying degree of complexity in the Mandela questions, it was a very fair piece.
In the second comprehension, he said: "Thankfully, the question in 6 b) was not about the linguistic style of the article/ passage.
"We had complained about this before and gratefully the State Examinations Commission (SEC) seems to have listened."
However, Samantha Hogan of Yeats College, Galway, thought the 6 (a) grammar questions were easier than the past two years, while on the other hand, the 6 (b) questions "were obscurely worded and will have been challenging for some".
For the second year, the prose questions were split in three, with students required to answer two, and one of the more challenging pieces on the syllabus, 'Dis', came up, although the questions asked were straightforward, said Clare Grealy of the Institute of Education.
Ruth Morrissey of the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) and St Michael's Community College, Kilmihil, Co Clare, felt students would have preferred the first two questions and might have struggled to fill a page on the third.
The featured poem was 'An Spailpin Fanach', and, according to Ms Grealy, some students would have been very familiar with the questions in this section, as they featured on some of the mock papers.
Mr Cronin felt the question on description of the metre/ rhythm of the poem, although studied, was not easy.
For Question 4,on additional literature, Mr Morrissey described the An Triail question as "really nice", although Ms Grealy thought that, while straightforward, it was "very narrow as it focused only on one character".
On the other hand, Ms Grealy thought the Fill Aris question "was a nice, broad question and gave students great scope".