Spanish is one of the modern languages offered in Cluny. As the first language of over 400 million people in more than 21 countries, it is a major global language. It is, of course, the first language of Spain and its islands. It is also spoken throughout Central and South America (with the exception of Brazil). Significantly, it is the second language of the United States and as a result a very strong Hispanic influence is found in many major American cities. For students who choose to study Spanish, short and long-term employment opportunities are enhanced in all of these locations by having a working knowledge of the language. The ability to communicate in Spanish also allows a greater enjoyment and appreciation of Spanish/Hispanic culture and people whether on holidays or working abroad.


At Cluny, Spanish is offered from First Year through to Sixth Year. At Junior Cert level, in line with the syllabus as set down by the Department of Education and Science, the course aims to develop aural, oral written and comprehension skills. Knowledge of Spanish/Hispanic culture is considered to be very important and this is developed progressively during the course of study of the language. DVDs, Internet sites such as BBC Spanish, magazines etc are all used to aid learning, and food-tasting ‘ a la espanola’ is very popular as a term event.


For Transition Year Spanish, the emphasis is very much on developing awareness and knowledge of the cultural aspects of Spanish/Hispanic life as well as consolidating and building on the language skills already acquired. A wide range of resources are used to develop this knowledge both inside and outside the classroom. An outing to a Tapas restaurant in order to experience genuine Spanish cooking takes place during the course of the year. Students from TY may also participate in the Inter Schools Spanish Quiz. For students who have not studied Spanish at Junior Cycle, a Beginners’ Module may be offered which allows the student the opportunity to gain basic language proficiency as well as an overview of Spanish culture.


Leaving Certificate Spanish (again in line with the DES Syllabus) aims to consolidate and develop oral, aural, comprehension and written skills in preparation for the Leaving Cert itself. Students from 4th to 6th Year in particular are encouraged to avail of one of the many exchange programmes available in Spain. Over the last few years, students have travelled to Salamanca and Valencia for a two/three week period during the course of the summer and have benefitted greatly from exposure to the living language. In Ireland also, there are a number of residential summer courses available in Spanish.

Cluny is represented every year by Senior students in the Inter-Schools Spanish Quiz. Since the introduction of the Inter-Schools Debating Competition, Cluny has regularly entered a team to represent the school. All students are actively encouraged to participate in events/competitions relating to Spanish.

At Cluny, while the majority of students go on to take Spanish at Higher level in the State exams, enjoyment of the subject is considered to be very important by the Department. Each student in consultation with the class teacher and in line with their potential eventually finds the level most suitable to them.

Many Cluny students go on to incorporate Spanish into their Third level studies either through a Humanities course or Business and language. Regardless of chosen area of study, most universities offer opportunities to students to maintain contact with language study. Knowledge of Spanish like all languages is an invaluable life-skill. With this in mind, the Spanish Department at Cluny aims to facilitate each student in achieving their potential within the language.