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Ireland in Schools

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Ben Walsh asks why ...
Why is the Irish Famine rarely taught in schools?

The Irish Famine of the 1840s is such an important event that it seems extraordinary that we rarely see it taught in schools in England and Wales.

It is one of the greatest natural disasters in Europe since the Black Death and it happened to a part of what was then the richest and most powerful country in the world.
  • As a topic it provides immense opportunities to study original sources and competing interpretations.
  • It also provides us with opportunities to connect past and present issues in a meaningful and contextualised way.

So why is it so rarely taught?

It's the age old problem of having time and resources to do it.

Is there a solution?

Yes - Ireland in Schools.

Ireland in Schools cannot conjure up extra time but it can provide resources - and not only on the Famine - which will help you bring an Irish dimension into your history course.

On this site, there is a huge range of resources to help teachers to do this.


How can this unit on coffin ships link with other subjects?

This particular resource has links with other subjects, including Geography, and could even be used to liaise with the ICT programme.

ICT colleagues are often on the lookout for large databases for students to interrogate.

Moreover, the process of interrogating data against a particular view or series of views could also help with the tricky business of getting students to see the moral, ethical and political dimensions of the the use of ICT (a tricky feature of ICT National Curriculum level 7/8).