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Ireland in Schools

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The youngest children tend to copy and colour and to concentrate on

  • patterns and using the senses,
  • drawing on Irish emblems and images (shamrocks, harps and leprechauns) and the Irish and United Kingdom flags.

Older children tend to be more inventive and are inspired by

  • Celtic art, accessible through a wide range of reference works and CD-ROMs, patterns and lettering, particularly Irish monastic writing from the Book of Kells and
  • the historical novels they read or the history they studied, ranging from line drawings of the victims of famine to colourful front pages of newspapers urging parents to send their children to Ireland to escape the bombing of Liverpool during the Second World War.


While the emphasis is on Celtic art, a start has been made in looking at more modern art in the early years of learning.


Book of Kells - pdf & PowerPoint

Creative Development - Early Years

Children in Irish Art - sample pages

Looking at & Responding to Paintings IR

Looking & responding

'The Singing Horseman’ by Jack B. Yeats infant classes

Step 1

Looking at & responding to the work

Questions such as the following would help children to focus on the work.

• What is this picture about? What is the man doing?
• What is the horse doing? Is it big and strong?
• Are they having fun?
• Do you think the horse seems very near us? Does it feel like he might jump right out of the picture?
• What colour is the horse? Is that a strange colour for a horse? What other colours do you see? Show me.

For step 2 and complete exercise, please

click here.



• What kind of place is this?
• What kind of day is it?
• Where are the darkest parts? Where are the lightest parts?
• Do you think the sun might be shining on any part?
• What is the paint like? Is it thin, thick, smooth, blobby, creamy? What would it feel like?
• Did it ever happen that you were running in the grass and the sun was shining and the wind was blowing in your face and you felt so happy and excited that you just had to shout or burst into song?

Let’s put the painting on the wall where we can look at it all week.