Skip to main content

Ireland in Schools

Making learning fun & challenging
Home*
About us*
New url, 28/03/2012
Why Ireland?*
Free resources
Latest resource*
Irish teachers*
Irish pathways*
'A good read': English*
Eng & Literacy: Primary*
English: Secondary*
Favourite poems*
History: Flashpoints*
History: Primary*
The Brendan tapestry*
Vikings: a quandary*
Florence or Grace?*
Further possibilities*
Res: History Primary*
History: Secondary*
New KS3 History PoS*
Supporting SHP/NI*
Irish historical fiction*
More subjects*
Art*
D&T/Food technology*
Geography*
ICT*
Irish*
Music*
Numeracy*
PE/Dance*
Religious education*
Creativity*
Citizenship?*
Controversial issues*
St Brendan at Sudley*
You are a Pirate!*
Pirate Grace O'Malley?*
Truth re Coffin ships?*
Responding to Famine*
Irish immigrants*
1916*
Simple quizzes*
Links*
O'Brien Press
Update*
2006: Mainstream?*
Testimonies*
Sharing*
Thank you*
FAQ*
Contact us*
Site Map*
Primary history: favourite themes & topics
Please click here for resources.
 
In pilot schemes undertaken by Ireland in Schools the following six topics or themes have particularly captured the imagination and enthusiasm of teachers and students alike, partly because of their intrinsic interest, and partly because of their links with other subject areas, particularly Art, Dance, Drama, Literacy and Music.
1. Brendan the Navigator - fact or fiction 4. Tudor Ireland?
2. Book of Kells - just pretty pictures?5. Famine - Famine - state aid or self-help?

3. Resisting the Vikings?

6. How useful is historical fiction?

 

1. Brendan the Navigator - fact or fiction?

St Brendan, a monk and patron saint of boatmen, mariners, sailors, travellers and whales, was born in Ireland about 488 AD in County Kerry. After sailing about northwest Europe spreading the Christian faith and founding monasteries, he embarked on his famous voyage to the west. In a coracle, with 17 other monks, he searched the Atlantic for ‘The Promised Land of the Saints’, encountering many mysteries and wonders. Is this just a tall tale?

Resources 

2. Book of Kells - just pretty pictures?

The Book of Kells is Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure, containing the four Gospels in Latin with introductory material in both Latin and Old Irish. One Norman visitor to Ireland in 1187 described the book as ‘so delicate and subtle, so exact and compact, so full of knots and links, with colours so fresh and vivid, that you might say that all this was the work of an angel and not of a man.

It offers the opportunity the imaginative exploration of early Christianity and religious art at Key Stages 1 & 2.

Resources

 

3. Resisting the Vikings?

The Vikings represented a threat both in England and in Ireland. An exercise which has fascinated children is comparing the different ways in which Alfred the Great in Wessex and Brian Boru in Ireland met the Viking challenge. How far did they resist? Or, how far did they try to come to terms with the invaders? 

Resources

Who needs Florence Nightingale?                 4. Tudor Ireland?                                             Elizabeth I’s Vietnam?
While most schools concentrate on the seventeenth century, some are becoming intrigued by the turbulent Tudor conquest of Ireland, especially the Irish response as personified by Grace O’Malley, alias Granuaile. More than the ‘pirate queen’ of Irish legend, she stood up for her rights as a Gaelic chieftain on land and sea. She so affronted Tudor officials that they tried to discredit her as having ‘impudently passed the part of womanhood’ and as ‘a great spoiler and chief commander and director of thieves and murderers at sea’. However, such was her power that in 1593 Elizabeth I agreed to meet Granuaile in London to consider requests for money and permission ‘to invade with sword and fire’ the queen’s enemies.

Resources

  

5. Famine - state aid or self-help?
The ambiguities of the United Kingdom were exposed by cataclysmic events. In 1845-49, the Irish potato crop failed in three years out of four, leaving ‘cowering wretches almost naked in the savage weather prowling in turnip fields ... little children, their bodies half-naked, their faces bloated yet wrinkled and of a pale greenish hue ... children who could never, oh it was too plain, grow up to be men and women’. Some one million died of hunger or disease and another million left Ireland. Who was responsible? How did people cope?

Resources

6. How useful is historical fiction?
The different experiences of Éire and Northern Ireland in the Second World War and the richness of Irish historical fiction together offer opportunities for a new look at children’s experiences - as evacuees from the London Blitz (Safe Harbour by Marita Conlon-McKenna) and Jewish refugees from the Nazis (Faraway Home by Marilyn Taylor). How can they cope with separation from their families? Can they make new friends in their new and unfamiliar temporary homes.

Resources