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For your first lesson, what's 8 times 2?

THERE will be plenty of double takes at one secondary school where eight sets of twins have joined the new intake of first year students.

The 16 students at Coláiste Íde agus Iosef in Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick were among the 125 new students who completed their first day of secondary school yesterday.

The special collection is made up of three sets of all-male twins, three all-female and two sets of brother and sisters - although not all are identical.

"It is certainly a most unique situation. We have twins in other classes at the school but to have eight sets in the one year is a first," said school principal Jim Tierney.

"We don't have a policy to separate twins. If they want to be in the same class it is entirely their own choice.


"The teachers don't mind at all and some twins can look quite different and dress slightly different so once you get to know the students it's easy to tell them apart."

Identical twins Caoimhe and Shona Hickey (12) are among the unique group who stared in first year this week.

"Everybody mixes us up. We are identical but we like different things. I like Maths but Shona doesn't. We are close and I think the best thing about being a twin is that you are never by yourself," explained Caoimhe.

Twin brothers Jack and David O'Connor don't have to worry about any mix up.

Not only are the brothers non identical but they support two very different football teams explained Jack (12).

"We have always been in the same class at school and it's great being a twin as you always have someone to play with but we don't look one bit alike. We also support different teams. I'm a Man United fan and David supports Arsenal," he joked.

Some 650 students attend Coláiste Íde agus Iosef in Abbeyfeale which opened in 2011 following the ammalgamation of three schools in the area.