Irish Paper 1 (H): A wonderfully thoughtful paper

Reaction to Leaving Cert 2021 Irish Paper 1 (Higher Level) by Dr. Michael Casey, Irish teacher at The Institute of Education.

This was a fair, current and up to date exam, which put the student of Irish front and centre at all times.

It was a wonderfully thoughtful paper that provided familiarity and a fair challenge to the Class of 2021.

There was something for everyone here and every level was catered for.

It was very student focused and students would have noticed the overriding theme of their daily life in this paper.


The listening comprehension was an exam of two halves.

On one level we had a lot of familiar vocabulary like gaisce, aisteoir, príomhphairt and foilsíodh – words that students would recognise from Paper 2. We had familiar place names, job applications and dates- all the usual trappings to be found here.

On the other hand, there was some challenging vocabulary and phrases, which allowed students to push boundaries and demonstrate their language skills.


The theme of student life continued into the essay composition, again with the student as it’s focus.

The essay (the most popular) catered for all levels. There was an excellent choice of titles that presented students with a fantastic opportunity to talk about their lives in 2021.

  • Big problems of our time
  • Human rights
  • Climate change
  • Irish and Gaeltacht culture
  • Advantages and disadvantages of technology


In this section the themes of bravery and people pulling together allowed students to talk about resilience and perseverance.


The debate and speech again focused on the Irish government and life of a young person. These were nice, open ended themes.