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Departmental Aims

The Irish Department caters for all levels of Irish learners from Year 8 to Year 14.

We promote the use of Irish throughout the school through academic studies and various extra-curricular provisions.

The Irish Department also caters for Key Stage 3 ex-Irish medium pupils through the provision of language classes during the school day.

GCSE Gaeilge is also offered to ex-Irish medium pupils in Years 11 and 12. 


Mr J Connolly (HoD)

Ms E Dillon

Key Stage 3

‘Ní neart go cur le chéile’

Year 8 tends to be most pupils’ first encounter with the Irish language in the classroom. Classes are delivered in an enjoyable and interactive manner and a positive approach to the language is instilled in the pupils from beginning.

All key skill areas, writing, speaking, reading and listening are covered from the beginning of Year 8 and are developed upon in Years 9 and 10.

Pupils at Key Stage 3 are regularly assessed to inform both the pupil and the teacher of progress and areas for improvement.

Below are details of the topics covered in Key Stage 3:

Key Stage 4

The aims of the CCEA GCSE Irish specification are to encourage students to:

  • derive enjoyment and benefit from language learning and be inspired by following a broad, coherent and worthwhile course of study.

  • recognise that their linguistic knowledge, understanding and skills provide them with a suitable basis for further learning opportunities and opportunities for career progression.

  • develop knowledge of and an enthusiasm for language learning skills by providing opportunities for the practical use of Irish.

  • develop the confidence to communicate effectively in Irish.

  • develop the ability to work independently and with others.

  • develop an understanding of Irish in a variety of contexts.

  • develop awareness and understanding of Irish-speaking countries and communities.

  • take their place as citizens in a multilingual, global society.

The GCSE is assessed as described below:

GCSE Gaeilge

This course is offered to pupils who attended Irish medium primary schools.  It is delivered in after school classes, from 3:10 – 5.00pm once a week.  It is a two year, linear course and is studied in Year 11 and 12.



This specification aims to encourage students to:


  • develop a positive attitude towards the Irish language and its culture and literature.

  • make informed decisions about their career choices.

  • become effective and accurate users of Irish.

  • enhance the wide range of Irish language skills they have acquired in Irish-medium education.

  • enjoy and benefit from language learning and be inspired, moved and changed by following a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study.

  • be effective members of their community, including the Irish language community.

Key Stage 5

The A level specification sets out the content and assessment details for the Advanced Subsidiary (AS) and the Advanced GCE courses in Irish.  Students can take:

  • the AS course units as a final qualification; or

  • the AS course units plus the A2 units for a full GCE A level qualification.

  • The full Advanced GCE award is based on students’ marks from the AS (40 percent) and the A2 (60 percent).

The aims of the specification are to encourage students to:

  • develop an enthusiasm for and an understanding of the Irish language and culture in a variety of contexts and genres;

  • communicate confidently, clearly and effectively in the Irish language for a range of purposes;

  • develop knowledge and understanding of societal, political and cultural issues in Irish-speaking countries or communities;

  • draw together different areas of linguistic competence, skills and understanding;

  • develop higher order thinking skills, for example independent learning and analytical and evaluative thinking;

  • carry out research and present their findings through multimedia presentations;

  • develop advanced study skills that help them prepare for third level education;

  • provide extended responses and evidence of quality of written communication;

  • engage critically with intellectually stimulating films, texts and other materials; and

  • demonstrate that they understand and can use Irish at a high level to discuss and reflect on aspects of society, politics and culture.



Students of Irish can develop their enthusiasm for the language and confidence in using it to listen, speak, read and write.  They learn more about Irish-speaking communities, as well as covering topics like social and global issues taking their place as citizens in a multilingual, global society.

Learning Irish promotes good communication skills and valuable transferable skills, including working effectively with others and understanding local and global perspectives.

As a linguist, the academic, professional and technical skills that you develop are useful across a wide range of professions.  In an increasingly interconnected world, these skills can prepare you to succeed in a variety of careers such as business, education and other professional fields.


An Cumann Gaelach


During the school year the A level pupils and the Irish teachers organise activities for Year 8 pupils at lunch.


It is a great opportunity for pupils to engage with the language outside of the classroom.


Trips to the Gaeltacht


Pupils are able to attend Gaeltacht courses throughout the summer months.


There are specific courses for the various year groups.


June – 2 week course primarily for Year 8 pupils.  It usually runs during the last two weeks of June.


July – 3 week course that accommodates Year 9 and 10 pupils


August – 3 week course that is usually attended by Year 11 – 14 pupils.


If you have questions about the Gaeltacht courses you can contact the school or the college directly.


It should be noted that the Gaeltacht Colleges are ran by outside agencies and that Dominican College has no affiliation with any college. 


Provision for Pupils who attended Irish medium primary schools

The Irish Department in Dominican College, endeavour to meet the needs of all pupils who study Irish.  Therefore, we accommodate ex-Irish medium pupils from Year 8 until Year 14 through various means.

Keystage 3

Pupils will avail of:

  • One Irish class (50 minutes) per week during the normal timetabled day.

In Years 8 and 9 pupils will

  • Receive language classes in which they will improve their structural and grammatical understanding of the language.

  • Participate in various other educational activities such as the Cumann Leitheoireachta.

  • Receive help and support with the transition from Irish medium education to English medium education.

  • Benefit from extra support and help with key vocabulary for all subjects.

  • Partake in activities organised outside of Dominican College, Fortwilliam.

Year 10

All ex-Irish medium education pupils will sit GCSE Irish in Year 10.

The details and contents of GCSE Irish are laid out above. Any other information is available from the CCEA Irish website.

Year 11 and 12

GCSE Gaeilge is available to all ex-Irish medium pupils. However, classes are provided after school hours from 3:10 until 5:00pm.

The details of the GCSE Gaeilge course are detailed above.

AS and A2 Level

When ex-Irish medium pupils reach A-level they attend normal, timetabled classes with non-Irish medium education pupils and study the A level course.

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