Sunday 19 November 2017

Andrew McKimm: Leaving Cert: it's an Irish renaissance as hostilities cease

An Englishman gave us back our flag -- and now we are reclaiming our own language from extreme republicanism, writes Andrew McKimm

THIS year sees the launch of the revamped Leaving Certificate Irish Paper. It will be a markedly changed exam in which 40 per cent, instead of the former 25 per cent, is being awarded for the oral component of the test. This is the first major change to the Irish paper in about 15 years.

I asked Richard Barrett, who teaches Irish in Blackrock College, Dublin, what prompted such a significant shift in the examination of Irish. Does he see this trend as a kind of dumbing down of Irish by moving away from a more literature-based curriculum? Where is Peig in all of this? Is her legacy in danger of drowning somewhere off the Blasket Islands?

"Not at all -- I see it as an entirely positive step and one that is very much in keeping with the modern healthy trends in the attitude of students to learning Irish nowadays," he replies.

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