Information & Advice

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

Students at Leaving Cert are introduced to Irish Literature and culture. The Leaving Cert exam takes the form of four parts:

  • Oral skills through speaking
  • Aural skills through listening to others, CDs etc.
  • Written skills through writing in Irish
  • Reading skills through reading passages, poems and stories written in Irish

The syllabus has been revised and there is a greater emphasis on the spoken word and trying to be more fluent in our native tongue. The oral exam is now worth 40% of the overall mark and it takes place after the Easter mid-term. Students engage in conversation with an examiner and discuss different topics in Irish.

The aural exam takes place on the same day as the written paper and has been shortened in length as part of the new syllabus. The aural exam now will last about 20-25 minutes. Students will listen to series of dialogues/conversations and answer questions about the content.
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To gain entry into the National University of Ireland colleges (UCD,UCC,NUIG and NUI) you must pass Irish in the Leaving Cert.

What Should I expect from the Irish Leaving Cert Syllabus?

After the Junior Cert Cycle students are introduced to the Irish Leaving Cert Syllabus, which includes Irish literature & culture.

The Leaving Certificate Irish Exam is divided into three different sections:

  1. Oral Exam – This consists of a conversation between you and your examiner. This will place a special emphasis on topics linked to the student’s own life, surroundings and current affairs.
  2. Aural Exam – A CD will be played and you answer questions based on what you hear. This will focus on your listening skills through Irish.
  3. Written Exam – Your reading & written skills will be tested in this section through articles, questions, letters, postcards, essays, and stories in Irish.

The syllabus has been recently revised and there is a greater emphasis on the spoken word and trying to be more fluent in our native tongue. The Oral Exam is now worth 40% of the overall mark and it takes place after the Easter Mid-Term.

The Aural Exam takes place on the same day as the written paper and has been shortened in length as part of the new syllabus. The Aural Exam now will last about 20-25 minutes.

What are the changes to the new Oral Irish exam?

Recently, the Department of Education has increased considerably the marks being awarded to the Irish Oral Examination to a massive 40% from 25%. This now plays a significant part in how well you will do.

Will NUI Colleges allow me to drop Irish?

There are a few exceptions where the NUI colleges allow you to be exempt from Irish. These exemptions are for the following:

A. If you are born outside of Ireland

B. If your last three years of Secondary level education were outside Ireland

C. If you were educated up to the age of 11 years was outside Ireland

Students who are exempt in accordance with points B and C above must have been granted an exemption from learning Irish at school.

Remember you should inform NUI if you are exempt from learning Irish at school as you will also be exempt from the requirements of completing Irish to enter NUI colleges.

You will need to forward a copy of the Department of Education granted exemption by your school, this needs to be accompanied by a declaration signed by the head of your school.

There is a special form for this which is available from the NUI website www.nui.ie. You should wait until you have received your CAO application number and include this form when you are contacting NUI.

What is the breakdown of the Irish Leaving Certificate Exam?

Oral

SectionTimeMarks
Failtiú15
Aithris filíochta235
Straith Pictúir480
Comhrá6-8120
Iomlán240 (40%)

Paper 1

SectionTimeMarks
Tríail Chlúaistuisceana2060
Ceapadóireacht120100
Iomlán160

Paper 2

SectionTimeMarks
Leamhtúiscint100
Prós30
Filíocht40
Litríocht/Filíocht Bhréise40
Iomlán200

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