Junior Cycle

The English Department is committed to providing students with quality instruction that encourages them to become better thinkers and problem-solvers as well as promoting self-esteem, self-expression and confidence. We direct our efforts towards student-centered learning that promotes active participation and collaboration.

We strive to foster a love and appreciation of English language by developing every student’s ability to express him or herself in oral and written contexts. We aim to cultivate key thinking skills and to develop an understanding of digital media and the key skills required in using it efficiently and effectively for research, communication and presentation purposes.

We advocate reflective practice through the study of English literature, enabling our students to contemplate, analyse and challenge arising concepts. We promote reading from a wide variety of literature to encourage the formation of opinions on the world around them. This is bolstered through theatre visits, workshops, competitions and the use of our excellent library facilities.

As teachers of English we work to promote a positive experience and understanding of English Literature and Language and to encourage every student to achieve their full potential.

For the Students, By the Students

Recommended Reads

I Am Number Four Series By James Frey

They killed Number One in Malaysia.

Number Two in England.

And Number Three in Kenya.

John Smith is not your average teenager.

He regularly moves from small town to small town. He changes his name and identity. He does not put down roots. He cannot tell anyone who or what he really is. If he stops moving those who hunt him will find and kill him.

But you can't run forever.

So when he stops in Paradise, Ohio, John decides to try and settle down. To fit in. And for the first time he makes some real friends. People he cares about - and who care about him. Never in John's short life has there been space for friendship, or even love.

But it's just a matter of time before John's secret is revealed.

He was once one of nine. Three of them have been killed.

John is Number Four. He knows that he is next . . .

Noughts and Crosses Series By Malorie Blackman

Sephy is a Cross – a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a nought – a ‘colourless’ member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood. But that’s as far as it can go. Until the first steps are taken towards more social equality and a limited number of Noughts are allowed into Cross schools… Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity by Noughts, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum – a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger…

Hunger Games Series By Suzanne Collins

Set in a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called The Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed. When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdee steps forward to take her younger sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Wind Singer (The Wind on Fire Series) By William Nicholson

"I hate school! I hate ratings! I won't reach higher! I won't strive harder! I won't make tomorrow better than today!" In the walled city state of Aramanth, rules are everything. When Kestrel Hath dares to rebel, the Chief Examiner humiliates her father and sentences the whole family to the harshest punishment. Desperate to save them, Kestrel learns the secret of the wind singer, and she and her twin brother, Bowman, set out on a terrifying journey to the true source of evil that grips Aramanth.

Beautiful Creatures Series By Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

In Ethan Wate's hometown there lies the darkest of secrets.

There is a girl.

Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head. Green eyes, black hair. Lena Duchannes.

There is a curse.

On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it's been promised. And no one can stop it.

In the end, there is a grave.

Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided.

Ethan never even saw it coming.

The Boy Who Lost His Face By Louis Sacher

CURSED! David was only trying to be cool when he helped some other boys steal an old lady's cane. But when the plan backfires, he is the one whom she 'curses'. Now David can't seem to do anything right. The cool kids taunt him and his only friends are weirdos. He even walks into Spanish class with his fly unzipped! And when he finally gets his nerve up to ask out a cute girl, his trousers fall down midway! But is this the curse at work or is David turning into a total loser?

A Monster Calls By Patrick Ness

The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...

The monster in his back garden, though, this monster is something different. Something ancient, something wild.

And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

​It wants the truth.

Ketchup Clouds By Annabel Pitcher

Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret - a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.

Full of both heartache and humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can - in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece By Annabel Pitcher

Five years ago, Jamie's sister, Rose, was blown up by a terrorist bomb. His family is torn apart by their grief. His mum runs away. His dad turns to drink and hate. Rose's surviving twin sister Jasmine stops eating, gets piercings and dyes her hair pink - anything to look different to her twin. But Jamie hasn't cried in all that time. To him, Rose is just a distant memory.

Jamie is far more interested in his cat, Roger, his Spiderman T-shirt, and his deep longing and unshakeable belief that his Mum will come back to the family she walked out on months ago.

But moving away for a Fresh New Start introduces Jamie to something else very interesting - a girl named Sunya. Sunya is bright, exciting and fun, and the one person at school he can call a friend. But how far can this new friendship grow when Jamie is desperate that his dad doesn't find out?

The Magic of Reality By Richard Dawkins

Magic takes many forms. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting that the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods' bridge to earth. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality - science.

Packed with inspiring explanations of space, time and evolution, laced with humour and clever thought experiments, The Magic of Reality explores a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? What causes tsunamis? Who was the first man, or woman? This is a page-turning, inspirational detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist too.

Richard Dawkins elucidates the wonders of the natural world to all ages with his inimitable clarity and exuberance in a text that will enlighten and inform for generations to come.

Dorothy Must Die By Danielle Paige

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still a road of yellow brick—but even that's crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas. I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I've been trained to fight. And I have a mission: Remove the Tin Woodman's heart. Steal the Scarecrow's brain. Take the Lion's courage. And—Dorothy must die.

The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared By Jonas Jonasson

Sitting quietly in his room in an old people's home, Allan Karlsson is waiting for a party he doesn't want to begin. His one-hundredth birthday party to be precise. The Mayor will be there. The press will be there. But, as it turns out, Allan will not . . .

Escaping (in his slippers) through his bedroom window, into the flowerbed, Allan makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, Allan's earlier life is revealed. A life in which - remarkably - he played a key role behind the scenes in some of the momentous events of the twentieth century.

Personal Writing

See here for Personal Writing examples

Poems Written by Students

The Animal Kingdom

The Animal Kingdom

Look at the world, look at the war.

We are predators trying to catch our prey,

we are hunters to the core.

The world is stormy, the trees start to sway.

In the wild it is everyone for themselves,

Look at the world we’re inheriting, it’s a conundrum.

We want money in our pockets and trophies on our shelves,

Hear the hissing and growling of an animal kingdom?

By ​Abby O’Farrell

The Animal Kingdom

No light likes to shine down here.

The cries and screams the jungle makes

The whizzing shadows, no one can seer.

Each movement is watched, every breathe you take.

Angry thorns entwine around your feet,

Damp shrubbery sinks you below,

Droplets of water sink to the peet,

A whistle from the wind never blows.

A slow reveal through the leaves.

Glowing eyes. Striped fur.

Paws narrow closer, he misconseives.

My future is death, the last stare at the tiger.

By Ciaran Coyne


Lights glimmering at your face,

The sound of the music,

The curtain is opening,

Butterflies in my tummy,

Out I step on to the stage,

To sing and dance,

And to hear the applause

by Ronan Kempson


The blood of our men stains the grass,

All you can hear is the cries of men and whizzing of bullets,

Each step we take is another step towards our graves,

Each man down is another family crying back at home.

It seems like the sun never shines,

All you can see are bodies scattered,

And guns poking out of the trenches,

Of the men too afraid of dying.

We did nothing wrong, so why are we being punished?

I'd hate to be the one to tell a child his father is dead,

And to see the life drain from their eyes,

And the tears dripping down their faces.

Why are we the ones fighting this battle?

Instead of the ones who started it?

They should be out here,

Not us, Not innocent people!

by Alex McCullagh

Gaelic Football

I’m not your ordinary, typical girl,

I dont need a boy to rock my world.

Just hand me a football and a pair of gloves,

I’ll show you my life, the life that I love.

People say I’m “too in love” as if I have an obsession,

Just because in all my years I’ve never missed a training session.

See, Gaelic is my only break, my pause from reality,

Its the only place that doesn’t judge on looks and popularity.

Most girls just want to grow up, marry rich and be beautiful,

my goal is to captain for Dublin, win leagues, be successful.

Gaelic to me isn’t just any sport, pastime or hobby,

its my livelihood, my life, literally my one and only.

Since the start Gaelic’s never left me,

thick and thin its been there through.

Its never ditched me or back stabbed me,

Now can I say the same about you?

I’ve given gaelic all my devotion,

It holds my life, my love and all my emotions.

Its made me laugh, cheer, sing and cry.

I gave it my life, this poem tells you why.

by Alanna McGarry