Fáilte go Roinn na Gaeilge –

Baill foirne –

  • Mr J Connolly
  • Mrs I Semple
  • Mrs L Galway
  • Mr O McVicker

The Irish Department caters for all levels of Irish learners from Year 8 to Year 14.

We promote the use of Irish throughout the school through academic studies and various extra-curricular provisions.

The Irish Department also caters for all ex-Irish medium pupils through the provision of language classes for fluent pupils during the school day.

GCSE Gaeilge is also offered to ex-Irish medium pupils in Years 11 and 12.



‘Ní neart go cur le chéile’

Year 8 tends to be most pupils’ first encounter with Irish in the classroom. Classes are delivered in an enjoyable and interactive manner and a positive approach to the language is instilled in the pupils from the very beginning.

All key skills areas, writing, speaking, reading and listening are covered from the beginning of Year 8. Pupils at Keystage 3 are regularly assessed to inform both the pupil and the teacher of progress and areas for improvement.

All KS3 pupils sit three common assessments before Christmas and three after the term after Christmas.

Year 8 Course Content –

  • The Irish language around us – placenames / surnames / influence of Irish on our daily speech
  • Beannachtaí – blessing and greetings
  • Mé Féin – describing yourself
  • Saol na scoile – study of school (subjects / uniform etc)
  • An domhan thart orainn - placeames / weather
  • Dialann an Lae – The Past Tense of regular verbs and describing pupils daily routine

Year 9 Course Content –

  • Laethanta Saoire agus Taisteal – countries / transport / lodgings / weather activities
  • An Ghaeltacht – study of Irish speaking areas in Ireland
  • Ag cur síos ar dhaoine eile – describing other people
  • Saol an uile lae – Revision of the clock / Past Tense of irregular verbs
  • Caitheamh Aimsire – Pastimes and benefits of them
  • Siopadóireacht – shopping / types of shops / money

Year 10 Course Content –

  • An Teach – describing your home / house
  • Mo cheantar Féin – area and facilities in town / country
  • An Scoil – school details / subjects etc
  • Slite Beatha – various careers and aspirations
  • Sláinte – health / illness / at the doctor
  • An Aimsir Láithreach – Present tense of regular verbs / describing daily routine and weekend

GCSE Irish

‘Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí’

There are two tiers of entry for this specification: Foundation Tier and Higher Tier. We award grades C–G to candidates entered for the Foundation Tier. We award grades A*–D to candidates entered for the Higher Tier. We provide an allowed grade E as a ‘safety net’ for Higher Tier students just failing to secure a grade D. The course is assessed through a combination of written papers (for reading and listening) and controlled assessments (for speaking and writing). Teachers mark the speaking assessments and we moderate them. We mark the writing assessments.

We have divided the course into three contexts for learning. These are outlined in more detail below:

Context 1: The Individual

Students’ lives, families, homes and interests, and those of others in Irish-speaking communities

  • Relationships: families and friends;
  • Local environment: advantages and disadvantages;
  • Activities: daily routine and leisure activities; and
  • Health and lifestyle: diet, exercise and illness.

Context 2: Citizenship

Lifestyles, attitudes and customs in students’ own communities, and in Irish-speaking communities

  • Social issues: problems in society and equality;
  • Travel and tourism: destinations and choices;
  • Environmental issues: attitudes to and responsibilities for litter, transport, energy, conservation and recycling;
  • Media and communications;
  • Celebrations: festivals and customs; and
  • Gaeltacht.

Context 3: Employability

Education and employment in students’ own communities and in other, Irish-speaking communities

  • School life;
  • Part-time jobs: advantages and disadvantages; and
  • Future plans: choices and expectations.

For more information, see the specification available through the following link;

GCSE Gaeilge

GCSE Gaeilge is a supplementary GCSE for pupils who attended Irish medium education primary schools.

GCSE Gaeilge is not delivered during normal timetable but after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays (the days may vary).

Classes usually run from 3.35 until 4.35 on both days.

The table below details the course content -

Speaking and listening in Irish

Controlled assessment


  • Task 1 – a presentation (3mins) followed by a question and answer session (2mins)
  • Task 2 – a one on one conversation (4-6 mins)
  • Task 3 – a group discussion (4 – 6 mins per pupil)


Reading and writing in Irish

Controlled assessment


  • Task 1 – a written response to two literary texts (1hour)
  • Task 2 – a written response to two non-fiction readings (1hour)
Reading in Irish

External examination

Pupils will sit a 1 hour 30 minutes written paper

Writing in Irish

External examination

Pupils will sit a 1 hour 30 minutes written paper



GCE Irish

Ní hualach do dhuine an léann

The revised GCE Irish specification is made up of two parts: AS and A2. However, to gain the full GCE, students need to complete both the AS and the A2 courses.
The specification presents students with five broad contexts for learning.

Contexts for Learning

 AS  A2
  • Relationships
  • Health and Lifestyle
  • Young People in Society
  • Local and Global Citizenship
  • Environmental Awareness


Areas for development within each context for learning are outlined in the full specification.

At A2 students will also study Literature and Society:

Literature Society

For Literature, students study one of the texts that appear in Appendix 1 of the specification.

For A2 2 Section C: Writing, students will answer one essay response based on one of the literary texts.

For Society, students explore one of the following themes:
  • Film: Gearrscannáin;
  • Region: a specific region in a Ireland;
  • Culture: a cultural aspect of Ireland other than literature (the arts, music, sport, folklore or festivals and tradition); or
  • An Historical Period: in 20 th century Ireland.

In Dominican College, Fortwilliam pupils study the A2 poetry.

Ex-Irish Medium Primary School Students

We in the Irish Department in Dominican College endeavour to meet the needs of all pupils who study Irish. Therefore, we accommodate ex-Irish medium pupils from Year 8 until Year 14 through various means.

Keystage 3 –

Pupil will avail of -

  • Three Irish classes per week during the normal timetabled day.

In Years 8 and 9 pupils will –

  • Receive language classes in which they will improve their structural and grammatical understanding of the language
  • Participate in various other educational activities such as the Cumann Leitheoireachta
  • Receive teaching of Tutor materials in Irish.
  • Receive help and support with the transition from Irish medium education to English medium education
  • Benefit from extra support and help with key vocabulary for all subjects
  • Partake in activities organised outside of Dominican College, Fortwilliam.

Year 10 –

All ex-Irish medium education pupils will sit GCSE Irish in Year 10.

The details and contents of GCSE Irish are laid out above. Any other information is available from the following link –

Year 11 and 12 –

GCSE Gaeilge is available to all ex-Irish medium pupils. However, classes are provided after school hours from 3.35 until 4.35.

The details of the GCSE Gaeilge course are detailed above. Any other information is available from the following link –

AS and A2 Level –

When ex-Irish medium pupils reach A-level they attend normal, timetabled classes with non-Irish medium education pupils and study the A level course.





38 Fortwilliam Park,

Belfast, County Antrim

BT15 4AQ

028 9037 0298