Niamh cooks up a storm in Leaving Cert

Niamh Carlin, who got the highest score in the country in Home Economics in the Leaving Certificate.
Niamh Carlin, who got the highest score in the country in Home Economics in the Leaving Certificate.

Donal Nolan

THEY'RE dining on the finest of foods in Kerry Head where local girl Niamh Carlin was judged to have attained the highest score in the entire country in Home Economics in this year's Leaving Cert.

Niamh was judged the best in Ireland when it comes to cooking skills in a massive distinction for the 17-year-old, her family and her alma mater of Causeway Comprehensive.

Now, her skills are even more in demand locally and up in Limerick, where she has just embarked on a degree in physiotherapy at UL.

"I couldn't believe it when I heard this week, that kind of thing doesn't happen enough to us around Kerry Head!" Niamh joked.

She knew from the get-go that the Home Economics was going to be one of her favourite subjects.

"I just knew straight away in first year that I was going to love it and keep it up for the Leaving Cert.

"For the Leaving we had to do five cooking exams over the year and keep a journal of it. But as Home Economics is about much more than just cooking we had to keep a close eye on the news and current affairs," said Niamh.

"It paid off for me in a question about changes to the food pyramid. It was only by watching the news that I knew all about it. We were also tested on everything from poverty to childcare and more in the exam."

The cookery part of the exams came naturally to Niamh as the talented student has been cooking at home for her family, parents Margaret and Tony and siblings Niall and Aoife, for some time.

And now that she's away she's cooking more than ever: "I'm the only one in the house in Limerick doing all the cooking!"

Causeway Principal Lucille O'Sullivan praised the Tiershanahan native for her achievement: "We're absolutely delighted for Niamh. She is just a great worker and anything she ever does, she does it right. We're also delighted for her teacher Sinead County who did great work," she said.

Niamh said that Ms County was a massive help to her, regularly staying behind after school to give students one-to-one tuition.

Surprisingly, she decided not to opt for all things culinary at third level. "I figured I might lose my passion for it if I was doing it full time. But I'm still cooking at home and will always provide cakes for friends' birthdays and that kind of thing. Baking is my favourite, from cookies to cupcakes!"