Leaving Cert Irish Predictions 2018

It is impossible to correctly predict what questions and topics will come up on the Irish paper. We can, however, study past papers and identity a pattern in the style and type of questions that come up.

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Paper structure: in Irish we have two papers, each on a different day. 

Paper One

Paper one is divided into two sections – aural comprehension and the essay.

The aural comprehension is itself divided into three sections, ‘Cuid A’, ‘Cuid B’ and ‘Cuid C’.

Cuid A

In the first section of the aural comprehension, ‘Cuid A’, we hear two separate pieces about a certain announcement. These two pieces will be called ‘fógra a haon’ and ‘fógra a dó’, which means ‘announcement one’ and ‘announcement two’. You will be asked questions in Irish about each announcement. You hear each of these announcements twice.

Cuid B

The section part of the aural comprehension is called ‘Cuid B’. The speaker on the tape will say the words ‘Cuid B’ before this section starts.

In Cuid B you will hear two separate conversations, the first called ‘Comhrá a haon’ and the second called ‘Cómhrá a dó’.

Each comhrá is divided into two pieces or segments, the first segment is called ‘an chéad mhír’ and the second is called ‘an dara mír’.

You will hear each conversation twice. You will hear the conversation from start to finish the first time. The conversation will have a clear split between the first segment, ‘an chéad mhír’ and the second segment, ‘an dara mír’ the second time you hear it.

Cuid C

The third section of the aural comprehnsion is called ‘Cuid C’. In this section you will hear two news pieces. The first piece will be called ‘píosa a haon’ and the second will be called ‘píosa a dó.’ You will hear each piece twice.

Vocabulary for the aural comprehension

Cén t-ám? : What time

Cén locht?: What fault

Cé a ghlac páirt? : Who took part

Cén cháilíocht? : What qualification

Cén spriocdáta? : what’ the final date

An méid? : How many

Cén uimhir theileafóin? : What phone number

Luaigh rud amháin. : Mention on thing

Cén tuarastal? : What salary

Cár rugadh Áine? : Where was Áine born?

Cén duais? : What prize

Cén bhaint? : What connection

Ainmnigh : name

An Ceapadóireacht

The next part of paper one is the written composition, called the ‘ceapadóireacht’.

You will have the option to choose between three types of composition.

These three types of compositions you can pick from will each have separate headings and will be called A, B and C.

‘Aiste nó nuachtáin irise’

The first type of composition you can choose is the essay or article. This will be under the heading ‘Aiste nó nuachtáin irise’.

For this section, you will be given a choice of five topics to write an essay on. The essay is the most popular type of composition done by students. Although we cannot predict what topics will come up for the essay, there is definitely particular topics that come up frequently and are worth preparing for. The topics can also be influenced by current affairs, so current topics in the news in the months leading up to the exams could appear as an essay topic.

2017 essays

2016 essays



Personally, I had a list of topics that I was prepared for and out of this list I always had at least one essay that I could have done each year.

I would recommend starting with the following topics:

The education system

The environment

The health system


The Irish language

Alcohol and drugs

Life of a young person



The economy

This year, because of all the media coverage on the referendum, I would say that there will be some part of the paper influenced by the referendum on the eighth amendment. It is not guaranteed to come up as an essay, it could appear in the written comprehension section and we may be asked questions on it. The question will probably not be directly on abortion but could be about the voting system, role of the media in elections etc. [Some people commented on the timing of the referendum vs when the papers were written. The amendment has been a prominent issue over the last number of years, so the exact dates of when the referendum was called aren't crucial.]

International relations and the role of Donald Trump make come up as a topic as this is an important current topic.

I would try to incorporate a variety of seanfhocail into your essay, such as:

Níl tuile dá mhéad nach dtránn. (Every bad thing comes to an end)

Ní neart go cur le chéile (there’s strength in unity)

Tús maith, leath na hoibre (A good start is half the work).

Is maith an scéalaí an aimsir (time will tell)

Imíonn an tuirse ach fanann an tairbhe (the tiredness goes but the benefits stay)


Section B is the story or ‘Scéal’. Usually the examiner asks students to base a story on a certain emotion or seanfhocail.

Although writing a story based on an emotion may seem easier than an essay on current affiars, I would not advise students to attempt this question unless they have prepared well for it. In this question, the quality of your Irish is extremely important, marks are awarded for ‘saibhreas na Gaeilge’, which is the richness of your Irish.

Your story must have a beginning, middle and end.

Díospóireacht/ óráid

Section C is the debate, ‘díospóireacht/ óráid’.

The topics for the debate are usually similar to the topics that come up for the essay, However it is essential that the we begin a debate with an introduction specific to a debate and finish with a conclusion specific to a debate. I recommend learning off a general introduction and conclusion of a debate.

The following is a good general introduction that can be tailored to a specific question.

‘A chathaoirligh, a mholtóirí, a chomhdhaltaí agus a lucht an fhreasúra. Is mise ____ agus tá áthas orm a rá go bhfuilim anseo chun labhairt libh in aghaidh/ ar son an rúin go mba chóir go _____. Beidh an fhoireann thall ag iarraidh a gcuid tuairimí a chur ina luí oraibh agus molaim daoibh an chluas bhodhar a thabhairt orthu. Ar aon nós tá mise in aghaidh/ ar son an rúin, ar chúiseanna áirithe agus cuirfidh mé roinnt de na cúiseanna sin ós bhur gcomhair láithreach’.

Paper Two

Paper two is divided into four sections.


The first part of paper two is the reading comprehension, ‘an léamhthuiscint’.

There will be two reading comprehensions, one called ‘A’ and the other ‘B’.

For the majority of the questions on this comprehension, you will be asked questions on the text and will be simply stating what the piece has said.

However, for question 6, you will be asked to reflect on an ceratin element of the comprehension and will have to give your opinion on it. For example, you might be asked on the style of writing or asked about the personality of the person portrayed in the text.

Common vocabulary that they use to ask questions on the text:

Luaigh: mention

Aimsigh: find

Cad a rinne sé: What did he do

Sprioc: aim

Aidhm : aim

Luiagh slí amháin: mention one way

Cén fáth ar chosúil go … : Why does it appear that ….

Cad a tharla : What happened

Alt: paragraph

Tabhair dhá phíosa eolais faoi..: give two pieces of information about

Cúis imní: cause for concern

Difríocht : difference

Cad ba chúis le …: what was the cause of…


Section 2 of paper two is the prós section. You will either have studied ‘prós ainmnithe’ or ‘prós roghnach’. The majority of students do the ‘prós roghnach’ question and so we will focus on that.

2017 – Hurlamaboc

2016 – Oisín i dTír na nÓg

2015- Cáca Milis

2014- Dís

2013- Oisín i dTír na nÓg

2012 – Hurlamaboc

As ‘An Gnáthrud’ hasn’t been examined to date, it is likely to come up. However, ‘An Gnáthrud’ was equally likely to come up in 2016 and it didn’t. Hence we cannot depend on predictions. [Some people have commented on the controversy surrounding the author as the reason why this hasn't come up. Poems by authors in such situations have come up in the past. They are still on the syllabus, so I wouldn't be complacent about this.]


Section 3 of paper two is the poetry section. Students answer either 3A or 3B. The majority of students answer 3A. If you are answering 3A, the poem is given to you on the paper.


2016 – An tEarrach Thiar

2015- Colscaradh

2014- An Spailpín Fánach

2013- Mo ghrá-sa

2012- An tEarrach Thiar

I would advise you not to rely solely on predictions, but looking at the poems that have come up in recent years, I would say the most likely is ‘Mo ghrá-sa’, second is ‘An Spailpín Fánach’ and third is ‘Colscaradh’.

Litríocht Bhreise

The fourth section of paper two is additional literature, ‘litríocht bhreise’. Each student will have studied one of the prescribed pieces of literature depending on what their teacher has chosen for the class. Whatever literature you are doing, I would know key events, style of writing, character traits, relationships etc.

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