The Irish syllabus at Junior Cert level is aimed at developing your listening, speaking and writing skills and it is examined at higher and ordinary level. There are 5 periods of Irish each week. Students will be tested (depending on level) on a combination of aural, written, and literature skills. These range from writing a postcard to conducting a debate, reading a notice to commenting on a piece of poetry you have never seen before. The aural exam (Triail Chluastuisceana) takes place at the same time as the written papers and requires good preparation. This three year course lends itself well to activities such as Seachtain na Gaeilge where students take part in table quizzes, competitions and lots of fun events. As is the case with all of St. Andrews students, we highly recommend that all students immerse themselves fully in the language. On this basis, we strongly suggest that everyone should experience a trip to the Gaeltacht.
Transition Year offers an opportunity to place increased emphasis on speaking the language and on creating environments which support this approach. There are 4 periods a week. In general, the use of projects will greatly help to provide the basis for spoken and written communication, including participation in debates, dramas, Irish language competitions, poetry workshops etc.
Particular attention is focused on projects in Irish culture and history following trips to the Gaeltacht. Emphasis is placed on listening to radio and television programs in Irish. Transition year also offers a ‘Culture class’ for students who do not participate in the study of the language but who wish to learn about the culture and heritage of Ireland.
Irish is obligatory for all students at Leaving Certificate level with the only exception being those students who have full Department of Education exemptions. There are 5 periods each week. This course underwent a significant but welcome change for the Leaving Cert. students of 2012 and consecutive years. Reform has come about in the redistribution of marks which will result in 40% of student’s overall mark being allocated to the overall oral exam. This 40% rests heavily on the student’s ability to partake in a 20 minute conversation about matters close to their everyday lives. 10% of their grade will be allocated to the aural exam. It is important for students to learn about Irish culture and heritage through poetry and prose passages. Students are immersed in the language to develop the 4 main language skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing. These 4 skills are paramount to each class. Students are involved in activities ongoing throughout the year such as debating, drama and activities centered on Seachtain na Gaeilge.