Saothar agus Sonas

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Department members:

Andrea Nic Giolla Phádraig, Dervla Ní Fhearga, Danielle Ní Ghormáin, Ellen Ní Mhacháin, Jade Nic Mhathúna, Hannah Ní Ruanaidh, Ciara Ní Conbhaí.   

Department Co-ordinator: Andrea Nic Giolla Phádraig 

Provision of Irish in the school 

Irish is a compulsory, core subject at both Junior and Senior levels. There are five class periods allocated to the teaching of the language per week at Senior Cycle and 3rd year, and four at 1st-2nd year. All First and Second year classes are mixed ability, while students are split into levels for Third Year. Senior classes run concurrently to facilitate movement between levels. Club na Gaeilge takes place each week and offers students a chance to use their ‘cúpla focal’ outside of the classroom setting. 

Planning and Preparation  

The Irish teachers met on a regular basis as department to discuss subject development planning, the day to day running of the department, new curriculum content and methodology, as well as extra-curricular activities to promote the Irish language. They also engaged in a collaborative process to ensure all expertise, resources and knowledge are shared.  

Furthermore, the Irish department also had allocated subject department meetings provided by the school management. 

Teaching and Learning 

Junior and Leaving Certificate follow the syllabi as prescribed by the Department of Education and Skills. This is aimed at developing the four key language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Particular emphasis is placed upon the spoken aspect of the language, with the Leaving Certificate oral worth 40% overall for both Higher and Ordinary Level. Also, students must complete a communication task CBA in 3rd Year worth 10% as part of the New Junior Cycle.   

The Irish department adopt the new approach to language teaching as recommended internationally, ‘An Cur Chuige Téamach’. This involves contextualising the content taught by placing it within the daily sphere of the student. Each month, the relevant theme is displayed on the Irish noticeboard for students to assess new terms and key words. Examples of such topics include Oíche Shamhna, an Nollaig, an Cháisc.  

Staff Development 

The Irish teachers attended a number of in-service training sessions provided by the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) on a variety of new methodologies and subject resources throughout the year.  

Some staff members attended an Tionól Teagaisc – a day long conference organised by the PDST which allows teachers from all over the country to share ideas and gain invaluable experience about teaching and promoting the language. 

The Department also attended in-service training days for the New Junior Cycle Irish where they learned more about the Key Skills and Class Based assessments.  


Roinn na Gaeilge employ formative assessment throughout all year groups to allow for continuous evaluation of each student’s progress. At Senior Cycle, Fifth and Sixth year students sit monthly exams for all subjects. For Irish, this usually comprises of an exam style question or a mock oral exam, followed by constructive feedback on the student’s monthly report. All year groups have regular class assessments to monitor their progress, while exam years usually have ‘Bréagscrúduithe’ or Mock Exams in February (both oral and written). Fifth year students also have an oral exam as part of their summer assessment.  

Several interactive forms of assessment are also regularly used, including Kahoot and Foclach/Wordle.  

An Idirbhliain 

Transition year students study 3 Irish modules throughout the year – Gramadach na Gaeilge, an Scrúdú Béil agus an Scannánaíocht. Students were involved in a variety of projects including film reviews and recording podcasts, and also took part in an Irish oral workshop with the comedy group ‘Caith Amach é’.  

In April, students also completed their Gaisce trip through Coláiste Uisce i mBéal an Mhuirthead (Belmullet, Co. Mayo). This gave students the opportunity to use their spoken skills while engaging with the local native speakers.

An Triail – Turas Scoile  

Sixth year Higher Level students study the drama ‘An Triail’ le Máiréad Ní Ghráda as a compulsory text worth 40m. Each year the students travel to the Axis Theatre in Ballymun to see Fibín’s production of the drama. This offered students a further insight into both the themes and the cultural context of the drama and will certainly be beneficial to their essay writing skills.  

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) 

We were delighted to have been accepted to participate in the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Irish Pilot Project 2023-2024. This project was a dual focused educational approach in which an additional language was used for the learning and teaching of both content and language. This project involved aspects of another subject being taught through a second language (Irish in this instance). Students here in O’Carolan College were afforded the opportunity to be involved in this project. The project was rolled out in  Home Economics classes where the students were learning content in Home Economics through Irish for 8 weeks in total. The topic of meal planning was carefully selected as there was a strong cross-curricular link between meal planning in Home Economics and the topic of bia in Irish. We found that this project was very successful in Home Ec. practical classes where students got to enjoy cooking both sweet and savoury dishes while using the Irish language to do so. Well done to all the first year students involved! 

Club na Gaeilge agus an Ghaeltacht  

Club na Gaeilge is an integral part of student life at O’Carolan College and takes place every Monday at lunch time. During Club na Gaeilge, students enjoy a range of activities and games through the medium of Irish. Some of this year’s highlights included Biongó, Geandáil Ghasta (speed dating) and Damhsa Céilí. Club na Gaeilge gives students the chance to use the language in a natural, informal environment, and helped to foster a positive attitude towards Gaeilge. Several students will also be attending Irish Summer Courses in Connemara this year and scholarships were provided for both Coláiste Chamuis and Coláiste na bhFiann. Mar a deir an seanfhocal – Beatha teanga í a labhairt!  

Seachtain na Gaeilge 

Seachtain na Gaeilge took place at the start of March and both staff and students made a huge effort to show their love for the language. Daily announcements were made as Gaeilge and teachers included some common phrases during their classes. All students in 6th year attended an interactive revision workshop for with ‘Caith Amach é’ in preparation for their Oral Exams. A range of other activities took place both in and out of the classroom setting including: 

Tráth na gCeist – General knowledge Quiz  

Seanfhocal an lae- Irish proverb of the day 

Comórtas Póstaer – Poster Competition  

Comórtas bácála – Baking Competition 

Lá Glas – ‘Green’ Day for all staff and students 

Well done to everyone who took part and won prizes – maith sibh!