Banshees of Inisherin and Barbie to feature on Leaving Cert curriculum in 2026

Banshees of Inisherin and Barbie to feature on Leaving Cert curriculum in 2026
Margot Robbie stars in the forthcoming Barbie movie

Two of the most popular films from recent years, The Banshees of Inisherin and Barbie, are being added to the Leaving Certificate English course.

The Banshees of Inisherin and Barbie will be on the curriculum from 2026.

Other films students will be able to study include The Shawshank Redemption and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Speaking to Newstalk, DCU School of English Assistant Professor Dr Ellen Howley denied claims Barbie would 'dumb down' the curriculum.


Dr Howley said: "A whole range of films are on there - things like The Shawshank Redemption, On the Waterfront, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

"So, I don't think Barbie dumbs down the curriculum by the fact that it's there. You're asking students to think in a particular way about film and then think about it in relation to another text.

"You could be studying John B Keane alongside that; you could be studying Daphne Du Maurier... there's a whole range of authors there.

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling starred in Barbie.

"Arts operates on a continuum and if we're only really challenging stuff then we're not thinking about other forms of art and we need to interrogate those forms as well."


Greta Gerwig's hit film made over €9 million at the Irish box office and was the biggest film of 2023 alongside Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer.

The movies sparked a host of 'Barbenheimer' memes.

Irish actor Cillian Murphy starred in Oppenheimer and is odds on to add the best actor Oscar to the Bafta he won over the weekend.

Ryan Gosling and America Ferrera secured Oscar nominations for their roles in Barbie but there was controversy over the exclusion of Margot Robbie in the best actress category.


For the exam's comparison section, Dr Howley said students could write about how feminism is treated in Barbie and Pride and Prejudice.

"You might take that speech from America Ferrera that talks about women and the harshness that's placed on women's lives - and that might be compared with, in Pride and Prejudice, the fact that the woman have to get married in order to be able to survive.

"Their mother is worried about them having somewhere to live, having money. So, the concerns are different but maybe there's a point of connection between those two scenes."

By James Cox

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