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Ireland in Schools

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Anthologies - general

Key Stage 2
A Giant Never Dies by Phil Wright
 By Gabriel Fitzmaurice
1. The Hidden Art
2. The Forty Shades of Green            

3. A Giant Never Dies

4. Handwriting

5. The Smugglers of Mourne by Martin Waddell
6. Tortoise by Basil Payne
7. Winter in Dublin by D. J. O'Sullivan
8. Train Journey by R. Barker



'A Giant Never Dies' is about a hero who played both Gaelic football and hurling. The children, knowing much about the Irish soccer team, found it hard to believe that people in Ireland played such different and distinctive sports.

'The poem was, perhaps, the best introduction we could have had to exploring the similarities and differences between the peoples of these islands.' 
Resources - anthology & planning: pdf; PowerPoint


Key Stage 3
Echoes in the Wilderness. Contemporary Irish poets by Gillian Goetzee
This unit consists of eleven poems and a range of activities emphasising the importance of environment:
environment - home and family; environment - local area and community
Ireland as an environment; different environments; history and the environment;
religion and the environment; language and the environment; and the
uncertainties of Irish poetry

Key Stage 4
Crossing the Irish Sea. Literary Traditions in Poetry by Tim Kershaw
The unit consists of a brief introduction, an anthology of thirty-one poems of different levels of accessibility by a range of Irish - and English - poets, an activity booklet for students, and examples of students’ work.

The themes addressed include home & family, local area & community, Ireland’s culture, different cultures in Ireland, history & Irish culture, religion & Irish culture, language & Irish culture, emigration & exile, the uncertainties of Irish poetry, and literary traditions in English & Irish poetry (the elegy and father & son).

Again, the examples of students’ work underline the success of the unit in promoting both an appreciation and enjoyment of poetry and knowledge and understanding of the rich diversity of the island of Ireland and its peoples.

A Year 10 response to 'Going Home to Mayo, Winter, 1949' by Paul Durcan
This poem is narrated by the poet himself, and it incorporated family life, as he mentions his father and his grandmother. It is also set in the past like many other poems in the anthology.
The poet makes good use of alliteration in the poem, e.g., ‘cattle cries and cock crows’, and ‘seeminginly seamless garment gorgeously’.

There are also contrasting words grouped together in the poem, such as ‘daylight nightmare’ which, although meaning totally different things, blend together well. These are called oxymorons.

The poem is based around travel, and so many places are named. The poet also comments on how ‘home as not home’, mentioning the dullness of the railings, parkings, asphalt and housing blocks of Dublin, compared to the peacefulness of Mayo, and also commenting on how he talked with his father, which was unheard of in the City. He also mentions the grass in Mayo, to give an idea of the differences between the two places.
He ends the poem, ‘In the narrowing grave of the life of the father; In the wide, wide cemetery of the boy’s childhood.’ This gives the reader an impression that life is compared to death, highlighting the dullness of the city.
The title, ‘Going Home to Mayo’, sums up the poem, as it refers to Mayo as home, although Dublin is his true home, therefore he thinks of Mayo as a better place than Dublin.
The final two lines (above) differ, describing ‘narrowing grave’ and ‘wide cemetery’, meaning that the father has less time than the son, yet both refer to a life like death.