Irish Paper 2 (H): A paper that required critical thinking

Reaction to Leaving Cert 2021 Irish Paper 2 (Higher Level) by Dr. Michael Casey, Irish teacher at The Institute of Education.

Overall, a well crafted and engaging paper that sought the opinions and ideas of students and rewarded critical thinking.

This was a warm, welcome Higher Level paper that rewarded planning and reflection. It gave students ample opportunity to demonstrate their literary knowledge, and also rewarded students who took the time to reflect on the questions at hand rather than summarising.

This was a familiar higher level Irish paper. Students who revised with past exam papers will be very happy.


Due to covid changes this year, for the first time ever students had a choice of answering A or B in this section.

Question A looked tough. However, on closer inspection the vocabulary was familiar and recognisable, with echoes of the 2017 and 2019 papers.

Question B had wonderfully familiar vocabulary that brought back the essay topics from yesterday’s paper 1. This gave students a solid foundation, and again, there were echoes of questions from 2017 and 2018.


Again, for the first time ever students had the choice of answering a question on prose or poetry in this section.

Within prose, there was further choice. Both questions required critical thinking and were challenging but fair.

A: Oisín and Tír na nÓg – This was a two part question that required planning and thought. It was similar to questions in 2013 and 2016. There was no folklore element this year.


B: Dís – Again, this was a two part question- ‘The life of Sean’s wife’ AND the ‘influence of the survey women’s visit’.


This would have been a very popular choice for students this year. Again, there were two internal choices.

A: Géibheann – this was a lovely, welcome question that valued students’ opinion. There were echoes here of the 2017 paper.


B: Spailpín Fánach – again a very welcome question that rewarded students who had worked with past papers. There were similarities to questions from 2014 and 2018.


There was no change to this section this year.

The vast majority of students would do An Trial, which asked for ‘The plight of the young girl who was denied help in her time of need.’

This was a nicely phrased, straightforward question, which had similarities to 2018 and 2019.