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Ireland in Schools

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Foundation to Key Stage 1                                                                                        resources & NLS planning sheets


Myths & legends

Favourite Irish Fairy Tales by Lally, Soinbhe

Poolbeg Press, 1-85371-777-0
There are seven stories in this lavishly illustrated volume which creates magical worlds where magnificent heroes, beautiful maidens and evil villains abound. Many of the stories Soinbhe Lally ‘heard from story tellers when I was a child. Others I found in books. To a child they are windows which open upon glowing landscapes of the imagination.’

The Story of Bran; The Sea Woman - the favourite among IiS schools; The Children of Lir (front cover); How Cúchulainn Got His Name; Oisín in the Land of Youth; The Brown Bull of Cooley; The Salmon of Wisdom.

Mrs McCool and the Giant Cúchulainn. An Irish Tale by Souhami, Jessica

Frances Lincoln, 0-71121-823-4
To prove he is the strongest giant in the world, Cúchulainn has to fight the huge Finn McCool. But Finn is SCARED. When he sucks his magic thumb, he can see Cúchulainn coming to get him. So he runs to his wife Oona. She just laughs and starts to bake some bread. Will Cúchulainn find Finn and SQUASH HIM FLAT AS A PANCAKE? Or can Oona save him ...?


All the Way from China by Boran, Pat

Poolbeg Press, 0-86278-422-0
‘My name is Tomi Wong.
I’m from Ningbo in China.
I’m your new pen-pal.’

How can Shelley Watters answer such an exciting letter? Her new life in Dublin seems so dull! If only she still lived an exciting life on the farm with her Dad! Maybe a few white lies would help ... But life is full of surprises and there’s a big one in store for Shelley, when she meets Tomi only to discover that he, too, lives in Dublin. Among other things, this is an excellent introduction to writing a letter.

Valentine O’Byrne. Irish Dancer by Carville, Declan

Discovery Publications, 0-95382-221-4
Valentine dreamt of being an Irish dancer, but when the lady came to school to pick dancers, she hardly even noticed Valentine. Very disappointed, she walked back home with no twirls or spins. Then she had an idea - she would put on her own variety show and dance. This is an uplifting tale of determination and triumph over disappointment with more telling illustrations than text

Granny MacGinty by Conlon-McKenna, Marita

Orchard Picture Books, 1-84121-573-2
Granny MacGinty’s family worry about her, an old lady living on her own. So they decide to buy her a pet for company, but finding the right one is not as easy at it seems. Granny says the dog, the parrot, the rabbit and the snail ‘will have to go’.
She loves the cat, however: ‘Oh, my, oh, my little kitty cat!’, said Granny, as they sat and sat, watching the evening sun go down together. This really is ‘a humorous tale of family life, written in rollicking read-aloud prose with plenty to laugh about in the illustrations’.

Granny’s Teeth by Dawson, Brianóg Brady

O’Brien Press, 0-86278-570-7
Granny is not happy. Where are her teeth? Granny’s teeth are amazing, Danny thinks. So he put them in his school bag and had great fun with them at school. He sneaks them, broken, back into Granny’s glass when he gets home. But, because Granny cannot chew, everybody has to eat mashed potatoes instead of the GIANT hamburger and chips in his favourite restaurant which Danny had been dreaming about. 

Fireman Sinead! by Donovan, Anna

O’Brien Press, 0-86278-529-4
Sinead wants to be a fireman, but can she ever become one? Her dad is puzzled. He has never heard of a girl fireman but makes her a special ladder for practising. Her mother thinks she should become a nurse but makes a heavy doll for Sinead to rescue. Her friend Tom knows that girls can’t be firemen. Sinead ignores them and practises and practises, getting people up in the middle of the night by shouting ‘Fire!’. When a real fire happens Sinead gets a big - and pleasant - surprise. 

An Chanáil by Fitzpatrick, Marie-Louise

An Gum, no ISBN
Written in Irish by a well-known author who illustrates her own books, this is a delightful tale about a young boy who lives by the side of a canal and looks at Dublin and the surrounding countryside along the canal’s banks. A translation is available from IiS

The Pig in the Pond by Waddell, Martin

Walker, 0-74454-391-6
This story of Farmer Nelligan’s pig - a pig who dared to be different. One scorchingly hot day, after watching the ducks and geese cooling themselves in the pond, she leaps in the water, causing panic and commotion. On his return Farmer Nelligan surveys the scene and, with great ceremony, removes all his clothes and jumps into the pond himself! Convention having been broken, all the animals join the farmer and his daring pig cavorting in the water. With its simple text and repetition, it is ideal for reading.