Our Aim in the Irish department we hope to make the students more aware of their background and culture through a thorough knowledge of the Irish language. The department offers Irish at GCSE, AS and A2 level using the CCEA exam board.
Members of the Department
- Mrs P McConnell (Head of Subject)
In Years 8 and 9 our students use fully interactive iBooks created by our staff to cater for our own schemes of work. Year 10 students currently use a text book developed by our own staff again aimed at our own schemes. Year 11 pupils use the CCEA GCSE Irish text book whilst year 12 pupils use workbooks created in-house. A range of other resources is also in use; CDs, various Apps on the iPad, websites, PowerPoint presentations and resources created by our own staff. Students learn to describe themselves, their environment at home and school and their interests in basic Irish. They study a range of basic texts in Irish from a range of sources and learn to write about everyday events in the language. As they progress there is more emphasis on the structure of the language.
At A level extensive use is made of the internet and of Irish newspapers, such as Lá. Our students also use the Progress in Irish textbook to improve their grammar. Our teachers have added greatly to our bank of resources at this stage. At AS, and A2 students consolidate their knowledge of grammar; they study a wide range of more advanced texts; they learn advanced translation techniques as well as improving speaking and listening skills. They are also introduced to modern Irish literature. The successful student will have a qualification which opens doors in education, journalism, community work, public administration and business. He will also be more aware of his own people, background and culture and will thus have achieved one of the most important aims of education.
ICT is an important tool at all stages within the department. All of our students learn to Podcast themselves and to use the Crazy Talk software along with the Microsoft office packages, such as PowerPoint, Word and Movie Maker. Increasingly we are introducing more resources using the iPad and students are enjoying using new Apps.
We encourage pupils to interest themselves in all aspects of their culture, including songs and poetry and are fortunate to have the services of Gearalt Ó Mianáin as an Irish assistant. He is a first rate musician and a Gaelic sports enthusiast. All students studying for an exam will have classes timetabled with Gearalt while the Key Stage 3 students have as much contact with him as timetabling permits.
The extra curricular life of the department is varied with our after school social club aimed at KS3 students, A-level students stay in weekly to play a game of pool whilst practising their oral questions and support is available to all students one day per week from either Mrs McConnell or G Ó Mianáin. All students studying Irish are encouraged to attend a course in the Gaeltacht. These are during the summer and the numbers of boys availing of this opportunity are increasing every year. We would urge parents to send their boys on these courses. Besides helping their social development, they improve their fluency in Irish in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and form new friendships with students from all over Ireland. Our pupils are provided with opportunities to enter for Scholarships for these courses and have been very successful in the past winning grants from Gael Linn. Last year we introduced our own mini-Gaeltacht at the start of the summer which was a great success and will be developed over the next few years. This was aimed initially at year 8 students but will be offered to year 9 classes in July 2016. Pupils from St Mary’s College also attended and it is hoped that more of them will avail of this in the future.