Monday 19 March 2018

Pupils get chance to make their own history in the digital age

Padraig Pearse
Padraig Pearse
An extract from an entry in the database featuring a teacher’s encounter with Padraig Pearse in Dublin
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Primary pupils are being invited to use the most modern technology to record their own history in one of a number of schools projects announced as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.

The Department of Education has published details of a wide range of educational initiatives for primary and post-primary level schools, to commemorate 1916, celebrate Ireland in 2016, and imagine Ireland in the future.

The presentation of a national flag to every school, an ancestry project inviting pupils to trace a family tree back to 1916, and an invitation to each school to write a new Proclamation for 2016 are among the activities planned.

Another is the Schools' Collection 2016, an initiative involving the Irish Independent, UCD Decade of Centenaries, the Department of Education, through the PDST Technology in Education service, and the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO).

This is a digital age follow-up to the Irish Folklore Commission's Schools' Collection, which collected material from 50,000 primary school children and teachers in the 1930s, including oral history, local geographical features, folktales, proverbs, games and pastimes, trades and crafts. All material was gathered from parents, grandparents, and neighbours resulting in the creation of over half a million manuscript pages.

The 2016 project will invite primary pupils to gather local and family history and folklore, and a core aim will be to gather historical material in digital format. The submissions will be uploaded on to the Department of Education's website and a selection will feature on

The 1937-39 Schools' Collection, part of the National Folklore Collection, which is housed at UCD, is being digitised on the website,

Here we reproduce an excerpt from an entry by Proinnsias Ó Dubhthaigh, who, in 1938, had been a teacher for 27 years at the then Rathfarnham boys national school, in south Dublin.

In a piece entitled: "A few sidelights on Patrick Pearse as I saw him", he wrote observations on Pearse, who was principal of another boys' school in the area, St Enda's. He describes Pearse as "aloof, even to the people in Rathfarnham" and recalls a confirmation ceremony, when Pearse refused to stand in for him temporarily.

Irish Independent

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