St. MacDara’s C.C. is a multi-denominational school. Therefore, all students of different religious traditions are treated equally and no particular religion is focused on any more than another. It is not catechesis that the RE teacher is providing – it is education about what other people who are religious do.


Junior Certificate Programme

The aim of the Junior Certificate religious education is to provide students with a framework for encountering and engaging with the variety of religious traditions in Ireland and elsewhere. The syllabus seeks to promote an understanding and appreciation of why people believe, as well as tolerance and respect for the values and beliefs of all.

In teaching the syllabus particular attention should be given to the following overall aims:

  1. Fostering awareness that the human search for meaning is common to all peoples, of all ages, of all times.
  2. Exploring how this search for meaning has found, and continues to find, expression in religion.
  3. Identifying how understandings of God, religious traditions, and in particular the Christian religion, have contributed to the culture in which we live and continue to have an impact on personal lifestyle, inter-personal relationships and relationships between individuals and their communities and contexts.
  4. Appreciating the richness of religious traditions and acknowledging the non-religious interpretation of life.
  5. Contributing to the spiritual and moral development of the student.


The syllabus should be taught with conscious reference to the overall aims of education. Numerous opportunities exist for cross-circular linkages; these can be exploited through the collective teacher planning, through individual teacher initiative and through student exploration.

Junior Certificate Programme

First Year

Section A

Communities of Faith

Section B

Foundations of religion: Christianity

Section C

Major World Religions

Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism.


Second Year

Section D

The Question of Faith

Section E

The Celebration of Faith


Third Year

Section F

The Moral Challenge


Assessment of Religious Education in the Junior Cert

In common with other syllabuses examined for the purposes of national certification, Religious Education will be assessed at Higher and Ordinary Level in the Junior Certificate.

The assessment will consist of two components. These components-a final written paper (one at Ordinary Level and one at Higher) and journal work offer the highest range of opportunities for student’s achievement within practicalities of a national examination, These components reflect the breadth of the aims of the syllabus, which include a range of knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes.

Component Mark Allocation(O.L.) Mark Allocation(H.L.)
Final written Examination. 80% 80%
Journal work. 20% 20%


Leaving Certificate Programme

The following are a list of possible topics covered in fifth and sixth year. These may be covered by the teacher in either year, depending on the nature of the class and the relevance of the topic to the students at that time


5th Year

How you see yourself

The search for meaning

Social justice – racism

Development education – world events and crisis

Responsibilities towards foreign nationals

Vocations to the priesthood

Moral Issues

World Religions – Islam/Buddhism/Hinduism


Church teachings at times of religious celebrations


Alcoholism/Drug Abuse

Role of women in the church


6th Year

Development Education – topical themes such as global warming, racism etc

Cults – Rastafarianism/Scientology

Genetic Modification

The Death Penalty

Stem cell research

Gay marriage/adoption/homosexuality

World Religions – Sikhism/Baha’I faith

Mental health issues

Grief and loss

Graduation preparation