'I'm so happy I could cry': cheers, tears and relief at exam results
Sixty-thousand students across the country breathed a deep sigh of relief as they picked up their Junior Cert results.
While for some the outcome was not all they had hoped for, the overall reaction was jubilation for a job well done.
There were smiles and shrieks of laughter yesterday morning as the fourth year girls of Loreto College on St Stephen's Green poured out of school clutching their white envelopes.
"It's been a tough summer waiting to get my hands on this piece of paper," said Rachel Kealy (15), from Dundrum.
"Honestly, the build-up to the Junior Cert was worse than the exam itself. I'm happy now that it's finally behind us."
Celebrating their results by skipping out the door, fellow Loreto students Louise Kelly (15), from Rathmines, and Emily Doyle (15), from Castleknock, said they were looking forward to the year ahead.
"We're going skiing soon and then we've a trip to Italy after that in February," said Louise.
"This year is all about discovering new things and figuring out what we're going to do."
Emily added: "The exams were great preparation, though, for what lies ahead of us.
"It was a tough three years and I don't think we should forget about all the work we put in.
"Everyone is so happy with their results, and they deserve to be. We've earned this."
Across Dublin, inner city school CBS Westland Row was celebrating its students' best Junior Cert results in 20 years.
"It's a great day for the school," said guidance counsellor John Davis.
"These marks are a great testament to these kids and the effort they put in. As a school, we couldn't be an y prouder of them."
Kallum Doherty (15), from Pearse Street, was shaking as he looked over his results.
"I'm really happy with maths. I gave in to nerves and dropped down on the last day and I think it was a mistake.
"I did really well in ordinary level, so I should have done honours. At least now I know I'm capable of it."
Robyn Delaney (15), also from Pearse Street, was so nervous sitting the exams that she was convinced she would fail.
However, the big beaming smile on her face told a different story.
"I just can't believe what's on this paper," she said. "My mum is just going to be so proud.
"I thought I'd failed English but instead I got a C in honours. I'm so happy I could cry.
Elsewhere, students at Coláiste Éinde in Galway said they had never been happier to put something behind them.
"This year's students are lucky they won't have to do this," said Bethany Williams (15), from Knocknacarra, referring to the fact that this Junior Cert cycle will be the last in its current form.
"It's was all right, not exactly the best, but at least it's over and done with now," she said.
"I was really very nervous about it, but I can just relax now."
Erin Foley-Armour (15), from Newcastle, agreed.
"It's not fair that they don't have to sit through this. Everybody else should have to suffer," she joked.
Struan Bell (16), from Knocknacarra, was delighted with his results after securing three As, a B and three Cs.
"I was worried about science but I got a C, so that was a relief. I'm just relieved it's all over," he said.
Matthew Slemon (15), from Moycullen, was looking forward to a break from the exams cycle.
"I hadn't really been worried, but it's good to be done," he said.
"I'm doing transition year and I've just got myself some work experience on Ros na Rún, so I think that should be good."