Use of Irish Script in Examination Papers

The type face used for Irish in the leaving cert was originally printed in what I would call Irish Script. There are some interesting examples of exam papers using three different scripts for three different languages.

In 1968, it appears that all the Irish was written in script, including cover of the volume of exam papers. Many of the papers seem to use a typewrite-style Irish script (e.g. the geography paper).

In 1969 the cover switched to a standard Latin script, though the exams still seem to use the Irish script.

In 1970, the cover is still in Latin, but now the Inter Cert exams switch to Latin. (e.g. the history exam). The leaving cert exams still use the Irish script (e.g. the Irish exam).

Unfortunately, many of the exam papers from 1970 and 1971 are missing. I suspect that for some reason, a full book of examination papers was not issued by the department in these years, so I can't see all the details of what happened. However, I have been sent the higher level maths paper 1 and paper 2 for 1971, and they are both in the old script. However, by 1972, it seems all exams are written in the Latin script, for example the ordinary level maths paper 2. My guess is that this was an ordered phase-out of the Irish script and that 1972 was probably the first year with no Irish script for the leaving cert, as (most) students who took the inter in 1970 would have taken the leaving in 1972 and might never have learned to read the older script.

One correspondent remembers the transition as follows:

My first couple of years at school in the 1950s (pre first class infants classes) had one other strange reform that I still remember. We initially used an Irish text book that used the old Irish fonts (different from that used in English textbooks) and that used a dot above letters instead of a h after letters to soften the letter. For example a dot above an m to get a v sound instead of what was later used, namely mh. We also had to learn a different cursive handwriting for Irish than for English. And they had 4 different versions/dialects of the Irish language, one for each province. So there were four versions of each textbook. At Belgrove we used the Leinster version which was marked on the cover of the Irish book we used. By the time I started first class around 1960 they had simplified/standardized the Irish language, fonts and spelling so that there was only one version of Irish to be taught, and one set of textbooks, and students had to only learn one kind of cursive handwriting for Irish and English. This sounds crazy but I am not making it up. This change was when they introduced h after m to get a v sound (instead of a dot over the m).