Leaving Cert Irish Higher Level Paper 2 allowed students an opportunity to reflect on some of the big events of 2020, although Covid didn’t get a mention.
Black Lives Matter, Brexit, the US presidential election and the environment were among the topics to feature in the second comprehension piece, in what was a very well received paper. The alternative comprehension test was about the late John Hume, who died last year.
Eithne Coyne, an Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (AST) subject representative, of Presentation College, Athenry, Co Galway, said the feedback from students “very positive. There was ample time to complete the paper and there was wide gamut of choice.”
Declan Glynn, a Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) subject representative, described it simply as a “lovely paper”.
Dr Michael Casey, a teacher at The Institute of Education, Dublin, said it was “well crafted and engaging”.
“It gave students ample opportunity to demonstrate their literary knowledge, and also rewarded students who took the time to reflect on the questions at hand rather than summarising. Students who revised with past exam papers will be very happy.”
Dr Casey said while the A comprehension, on John Hume, “looked tough, on closer inspection the vocabulary was familiar and recognisable. He said B text had “wonderfully familiar vocabulary that brought back the essay topics from Paper 1”.
In the Prose section, Dr Casey said both questions were challenging but fair. He said the Oisín and Tír na nÓg question “required planning and thought”
Emer McTernan of stuydyclix.ie said that Oisín i dTír na nÓg was widely anticipated and she felt that students should have dealt comfortably with the questions relating to Oisín's love for Niamh and his loyalty to his father.
In Poetry, Ms McTernan felt “most students would have chosen to tackle the straightforward "Géibheann" question over a more challenging "An Spailpín Fánach" question, which asked candidates to consider the life of a wandering 18th century labourer as well as the meter of the poem”.
In the Additional Literature section, Dr Casey described the An Trial, question, on “The plight of the young girl who was denied help in her time of need”, as “nicely phrased, straightforward question, which had similarities to 2018 and 2019.
However, Ms McTernan thought the phrasing may have thrown those not familiar with the verb "diúltaigh" (to refuse) and the term "in am a gátair" (in her time of need).
She added that students will have been delighted with the "A Thig ná Tit Orm" option where they described the antics of the author Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé during his youth in the Kerry Gaeltacht.