Irish Paper 2 (H): A Very Fair and Accessible Paper

LC Irish H Paper 2 Analysis 2023

Reaction to Leaving Cert 2023 Irish Paper 2 (Higher Level) by Clare Grealy, Irish teachers at The Institute of Education.

  • A very fair and accessible paper.
  • A very student friendly paper.
  • Anticipated texts and questions appeared, rewarding those who had prepared.

Students will have breathed a sigh of relief rather than frustration as they opened this paper. It was what students would have anticipated and prepared for. The questions were clear, accessible, and fair; a clear contrast to yesterday’s Paper 1.

The two Léamhthuiscint (Reading Comprehension) texts were clear and concise. The pieces on explorer Tom Crean and the European Year of the Youth would have posed no great challenge to the students. The grammar questions followed the format of previous years and thus would have been very familiar to those who had revised previous papers.

Question 2’s prose would have been a huge relief to students. Dís was much anticipated and thus many students will have been glad of the chance to get the reward for their work. The Oisín i dTír na nÓg question was a rather specific and narrow in its focus, wanting two traits of the character rather than of the genre. But this was clearly indicated in a well-expressed question that didn’t try to artificially hinder or challenge the student’s comprehension of the task.

The poetry was also as expected and continued the trend in recent papers of asking students for personal responses to the material. This got them to think on their feet and express their own emotional reactions to the poetry. This type of question has been very consistent in recent years and so this request will have been foreseen, ensuring that students would always have a fair chance to shine. The main question on “An Spailpín Fánach” was nearly identical to those from 2014 and 2021, so anyone who had worked on sample answers will again find their work recompensed.

For Question 4, most schools study An Triail and this was simply a great question on the negative impact of characters. This is familiar territory to anyone studying the play and so I am sure many students will leave the exam hall smiling. Dánta Breise – A Chlann was another widely anticipated text and again its questions were brilliantly straightforward. The one moment for pause for some students would have been in part (iii) which asked about poetic technique, but after a moment to gather your thoughts, it was really quite manageable.

This was a really great paper that did what a good exam should do – reward those who had put in the time and effort to learn the material. It had no needless obscurities, focusing instead on the more student-friendly approach of letting them show just how well they had engaged with the texts. This was a deeply fair paper; I think many students will leave the halls smiling.