Keeping a couple of non-CAO options open is not only useful, but can ease the pressure of CAO course choices.
Further Education courses (often referred to as PLC or Post Leaving Certificate courses) are valuable qualifications in their own right but can also be used as a bridge or stepping stone between second and third level education.
Private colleges are also worth considering. Some private colleges offer accredited Degree programmes equivalent to those in Universities and Institutes of Technology. These are fee paying courses, but private colleges do not use the competitive 'Points System' to select students, and therefore may offer an alternative route to a career of their choice. Check course details with each college.
You can also get a list of full-time undergraduate courses on offer in the Private colleges using the CAO Wizard on this site. Search using the same criteria used for CAO courses, but look out for courses marked Non-CAO in the results page.
Other non CAO options that include education and training are Distance or Part-time learning and Apprecticeship. Some students also go the route of taking a gap year, volunteering or going directly into Employment.