Paper One - Comprehension Sample Answer - 2001

Section 1- Comprehending 100 Marks

(All of the candidates’ own spelling, punctuation etc. have been retained.)

Text 1 Being Irish… Question A

(i) What aspects of Irishness emerge most strongly for you from the above extracts? (20 marks)

For me, to be Irish is to have great pride in oneself; one’s family, one’s country and one’s heritage. To be Irish isn’t just about being born in the country and living and dying there. One has to feel like they belong, to take pride ineverything that is Irish. Above all to be proud of who you are. Jennifer Johnston: “I feel great pride when we do things right and a great anger when we get things horribly wrong.”

There is a great sense of privelege. If one is born and Irishman/woman then he/she has been blessed. The country is considered unique and to be Irish one also has to hold within them this uniqueness. I believe that being Irish is to be very special. That’s not to say Irish people are arrogant, but they are confident. Polly Devlin: “My nationality seemed more of a personal matter.” Within the Irish people there’s a huge sense of achievement. At the moment the economy is experiencing the most rapid growth in all of Europe; this is expressed by Martin Mansergh: “An economy driven by technological innovation.” There’s huge sporting and academic achievement in Irish history, from our sporting greats like Roy Keane to our literary giants like Eavan Boland and Seamus Heaney.

above all else, Irish people seem happy and fulfilled, and aren’t afraid or in the least insecure about expressing themselves and their nationality. The Irish culture has spread throughout the world and being Irish is recognised, I feel, almost as a sign of greatness. Patricia Harty: “There are more Irish seisiúns in New York than anywhere else.” Seán McCague:

“Our rich cultural heritage has been protected while at the same time we welcome the world onto our shores.” Above all, to be Irish, is what you feel inside of you, your emotions and how you show t...

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