Ireland Children and School

Ireland Children and School

School in Ireland

Most children in Ireland start school at the age of five. School attendance is compulsory from the age of six and then up to the age of 16. Every student must attend secondary school for at least three years. Primary school includes two pre-school years (Junior Infants and Senior Infants) and six primary school classes.

After three years in secondary schools, an exam is taken, the Junior Cert. After that, some students go into the senior cycle for a transition year, but at least for two more years, in order to complete the Abitur. This is called Leaving Certificate or Leaving Cert for short.

English and Irish

Most of the country is taught in English. However, Irish is a compulsory subject and most children learn it as a second language. In the Gaeltachtaí (regions where the majority speak Irish), Irish is even the language of instruction. Outside of the Gaeltachtaí there are also schools with Irish as the language of instruction. One such school is called Gaelscoil.

Notes and more

Irish students also get grades. However, they are letters instead of numbers. A is the best grade, F the worst. There are also gradations: A1 and A2 or C1, C2 and C3 for example.

By the way, there are many schools in Ireland that are all girls or boys. Everyone must wear school uniforms. Each school determines the colors of the uniform for itself. Classes always end in the afternoon. The school year starts in September and ends in elementary schools at the end of June. Secondary schools have their last day of school at the end of May.

Schools and the Church

Most primary schools in Ireland are Catholic schools, which means they are run by the Catholic Church. Religious instruction plays a bigger role in them than in private schools or the Galscoil. The schools under Catholic leadership are also criticized, because Catholic students are preferred here. 91 percent of the primary schools are Catholic, five percent Protestant. In recent years there has been an increasing number of schools that see themselves as non-denominational. Check lawschoolsinusa to see schooling information in other European countries.

Children in Ireland

Most Irish families today have two children. And what is Your name? And what are their names? Girls are particularly often called Emily, Sophie, Emma, ​​Grace or Ella. With the boys, Jack, James, Daniel, Conor and Adam come first in popularity. While these names are also popular in the UK, there is still a tradition in Ireland of giving old Irish names. So many girls are still called Aoife or Saoirse. Boys are also often baptized Oisín.

Names like Ryan, Sean, Liam or Eoin are no longer given to babies as often, but are still found very often in men and Sinéad, Siobhán or Caitlin in women.

By the way, the most common surname in Ireland is Murphy. People are also often called Kelly, Sullivan, Walsh, Smith or O’Brien. The O is a traditional part of the surname, just like Mac. O meant “descendant of” and Mac meant “son of”.

Because there are more red-haired people in Ireland than in most other European countries, there are also many children with red hair and freckles. Around every tenth child has red hair.

Ireland Children and School

Typical Ireland

The shamrock and saint Patrick

The shamrock is considered the national symbol for Ireland. It is a young, three-leaf clover, also known as a shamrock. That means “little clover” in Irish. It is itself one of the typical gifts of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s national saint. He is said to have used it as a symbol for the Holy Trinity. It’s practical that clover is also green – because green is the color of Ireland.

Hurling and Gaelic Football

The most popular sports in Ireland are hurling and Gaelic football. Gaelic football is a mixture of soccer and rugby. Two teams of 15 players each compete against each other. Hurling is also a team sport and is played with a team of 15 players. He has Celtic roots. Hurling is played with a ball (similar to a baseball) and wooden sticks called a hurley.

Stone walls

Its stone walls are also typical of Ireland. They are traditionally built to delimit fields. This was done several thousand years ago. Stones were just there and you had to clear the fields from them before building. These walls are built as dry stone walls, i.e. without mortar. The resulting gaps in the masonry are ideal hiding places for many animals such as insects and lizards.


Around eight million sheep graze in the pastures of Ireland in spring. So there are far more sheep than people in Ireland! Nowadays, meat is more popular than wool. The sheep belong to a sheep farm, but many graze semi-wild. It can also happen that a sheep stands around in the middle of the street. Most sheep in Ireland have black heads, by the way.

Irish music

Worldwide popular is the Irish folk music, Irish folk. The typical instruments are the fiddle (violin) and the tin whistle (a small flute). The harp is rarely used, but is also considered a typical Irish instrument. Irish folk music is popular in the Irish pubs, the bars of Ireland. One of the most famous Irish bands were the Dubliners.

The Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross or High Cross can still be found on numerous grave sites in Ireland. In the Middle Ages it also marked special or sacred areas. The cross is extended downwards and there is a ring at the intersection of the beams.