Saturday 24 March 2018

Irish -- the big boost for oral

From 2012, the marks that will be awarded for oral Irish will be 40pc of the total available marks. This does not mean that the oral Irish exam will be more difficult or that students need to have a broader range of vocabulary, it simply means that greater credit will be given to the oral exam over that of the written component of the papersThe oral exam will be divided into 4 sections;


Allocated Time (minutes)





Aithris Filìochta



Straith Pictiùr




6 -- 8




Preparation for the oral exam should begin at the start of fifth year. Students will benefit enormously from watching TG4 and listening to Radio na Gaeltachta.

Paper I (written) will be based solely on language which will tie in closely with oral work. The layout of Paper 1 will be essay (layout as per previous years) and the aural component, which has been shortened from 40 minutes to 20 minutes.


Allocated Time (minutes)


Triail Chluaisuisceana








Paper 2 will be divided into two sections.

Section 1: Lèamhthuiscint, will emphasise grammar.

Section 2: Literature, in this section students will have a choice between the main novel/play or poetry. This is a new approach; in previous years students were required to answer questions on both novel/play and poetry.


Allocated Time (minutes)








Litrìocht Bhreise (An Triail) nò Filìocht Bhreise




Do all students have to do Irish?

Irish is a compulsory subject in all state schools generally for students born and educated in Ireland.

Where is Irish a requirement?

The National University of Ireland (NUI) is made up of University College, Dublin (UCD), University College Cork (UCC), National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM). To gain entry to any NUI college you must pass Irish in the Leaving Cert.

Irish can be taken as a modern language in Trinity College Dublin (TCD). It can be used as the language other than English required for entry into the University of Limerick (UL) and Dublin City University (DCU).

Does the NUI allow you to drop Irish?

There are few exceptions to the NUI's regulations regarding Irish. You are eligible for an exemption from Irish in the following circumstances:

(i) If you were born outside Ireland.

(ii) If your last three years of second-level education were outside Ireland.

(iii) If your primary education up to the age of 11 years was outside Ireland

Students covered by (ii) and (iii) above will normally have been granted an exemption from Irish at school. They need to inform NUI of this so that they can also be granted an exemption by NUI.

If this applies to you, you will need to forward a copy of the Department of Education exemption granted by your school. The application must be accompanied by a declaration from the head of your school.

There is a special form for this which you can get from the NUI website, Wait until you have received your CAO application number and include this when contacting NUI.

What is the position of students with dyslexia or other disabilities with regard to exemption from Irish?

Some students may have been granted an exemption from Irish at school on the grounds of dyslexia. They would have been assessed by a professional psychologist. The NUI will grant an exemption from Irish and also from the third language requirement if the student sends a copy of the certificate of exemption, signed by the school principal, together with the psychologist's report.

Sometimes students are diagnosed late as having dyslexia and have not come to the attention of the National Educational Psychological Service Agency. In these cases, NUI will accept a recent (no more than two or three years old) report from a professional psychologist. There is a form of certification available on the NUI website,

The position of students with dyslexia is complex. Exemptions are not automatic. They are granted only on the basis of professional evidence. However, NUI is sympathetic to students who can provide professional evidence of the effect of dyslexia on their language abilities.

Why do I need honours Irish?

You must gain a minimum of a C3 in honours Irish to study to become a primary school teacher in any Irish training college. There are also some courses where Irish is a component of the course (eg law and Irish in UCC or computer science, linguistics and Irish in TCD) and in these cases, higher level Irish is required upon entry.

Should I drop down to ordinary level Irish even though I am an average student at Irish?

Look at how many honours subjects you are doing. Do you have too many already? What is your oral Irish like? If you feel, with a lot of work, you are only capable of getting a D grade or low C grade, you might be better dropping to ordinary level Irish. Every subject at higher level takes a lot of time. Just ask yourself -- have you got the time?

How much time should I devote to ordinary-level Irish?

This depends on how good you are at the subject. If you have dropped from higher-level Irish, you are more confident and will not need to devote your time to the subject as you would have at higher level.

The changes to the Irish syllabus have put a far greater importance on oral Irish. The oral component increased from being worth 25pc to a massive 40pc. Therefore you should concentrate on oral Irish.

Students who attend Irish college will greatly benefit from this new syllabus. Please remember it is important to keep a balance between all your subjects. If you only want a D grade in ordinary Irish, don't let Irish take too much time away from other subjects.

Irish statistics 2011. Percentage (%) of candidates who received particular grades take Irish statistics table here

Irish Independent Supplement

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