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Ireland in Schools (IiS) is a national network of volunteers which provides free teaching and learning resources for primary and secondary schools in Britain. The aim is to make Ireland a part of the normal curriculum in Britain, from primary schools to sixth-forms, by making it easy for teachers to draw upon Ireland in their teaching. Originally intended to underpin the peace process, the programme has taken on an educational life of its own by • addressing key curriculum issues • enriching the teaching and learning experience for teachers and pupils alike and • making learning fun as well as challenging. The free IiS resources are developed by teachers to • reflect the realities of the curriculum and the classroom and • provide models of best practice. Download free resources for secondary history at: sh.aspx Normans Tudors & Stuarts Anglo-Irish relations in 19th c.
O’Connell Gladstone Parnell Famine 1916 Partition

The memory of the coffin ships
Task 1 of 4 in an investigation, ‘The truth about coffin ships?’, by Ben Walsh

These two pictures below are photographs of the Irish National Famine Memorial in County Mayo in Ireland. Of all of the images which could have been used, this memorial chose to focus on the coffin ships.

This shows us what a powerful impact the coffin ships have had on the memory of Irish people. But why have they had such an impact?

Study the images closely and work out: 1. What messages the artist is trying to send with this memorial. 2. How the artist uses images rather than words to get the messages across.

Northern Ireland Secondary Strategy Website: Contact:

Some suggestions Full photograph Beautiful setting - contrast with harshness of memorial. Gaunt masts - almost like skeletons. Ship looks frail - coffin ships were often not seaworthy. Timbers of ship remind us of the ribs of the hungry people who travelled in them.

Close-up Figures are shown as skeletons - death and hunger. Here we can see the ‘ribs’ close up. The figures represent the dead - they are ‘haunting’ the memorial.

A Norman conquest of Ireland?
A quick lesson by the Nottingham Pilot Scheme Study units & other resources available via

Source A. The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife by Daniel MacLise, 1854

1. a. Which words spring to mind when you look at this painting? b. Which parts of the painting could support these words? 2. What do you think that the artist is saying about Aoife’s marriage to Strongbow? Give reasons for your answer, referring to parts of the painting.

All living within the English colony were to use the English language and English personal names to ride horses in the English manner to use English methods of dispute settlement forbidden to create social relationships with the native Irish through marriage standing as godparents fostering concubinage
Source B. Statute of Kilkenny, 1366 Source C. Land holdings in Ireland, 1450

3. How far do Sources B and C support the artist’s view of the Norman intervention in Ireland in Source A?

Interpretations: Oliver Cromwell at Drogheda
Part of an investigation by Richard Bailey & Chris Culpin Study units & other resources available via

Source A ‘Young Ned of the Hill’, The Pogues A curse upon you, Oliver Cromwell, You who raped our motherland, I hope you’re rotting down in Hell, For the horrors that you sent. To our misfortunate forefathers Whom you robbed of their birthright, ‘To Hell or Connaught’* - may you burn in Hell tonight.

Cromwellian land settlement, 1652
* Connaught is an area of Western Ireland with poor rocky soil. Thousands were forced to live there after Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland.

Source B From Antonia Fraser’s biography of Cromwell, 1973 1. Drogheda taught the lesson of what a siege and a storm meant. It undoubtedly frightened many lesser garrisons into peaceful surrender. Militarily then the sack of Drogheda could fairly be said to have done what Cromwell wanted. The conclusion cannot be escaped that Cromwell lost his self-control at Drogheda, literally saw red - the red of his comrades’ blood - after the failure of the first assaults, and was seized with one of his sudden brief and cataclysmic rages. There were good military reasons for behaving as he did, but they were not the motives that drove him at the time, during the day and night of uncalculated butchery. The slaughter itself stood quite outside his normal record of careful mercy as a soldier.


Tasks 1. Read Antonia Fraser’s piece on the events at Drogheda. Explain who she is, and discuss how she would have obtained information, evidence etc. a. What does she say about Cromwell? b. Does she attempt to justify his actions? How? What does she say? Sentiments and accuracy in interpretation: a. Which of the two views of Cromwell would you trust more? Explain in detail. b. Whose sentiments would you go along with, the Pogues’ or Antonia Fraser’s? (Some explanation of justification and sentiments may be required.)


In what warfare were Irish people involved in 1916?
Lesson 1 of a cross-curricular investigation, ‘1916: Fighting for whom?’, by the Birmingham Pilot Scheme, Study units & other resources available via
1a. ‘The Birth of the Republic’ by Walter Paget, 1916 - an artist’s impression of the scene inside the General Post Office, Dublin, at the height of the Easter Rising, just before the surrender. Patrick Pearse stands (hatless and holding a revolver) on the left of the stretcher, where James Connolly lies wounded. The picture was commissioned in 1916 by supporters of the Rising and the artist has caught the ‘romance’ of the occasion in heroic style.
National Museum of Ireland

2a Some 206,000 men from Ireland served during the World War. 30, 000 d i e d , m o s t dramatically during the Battle of the Somme, which began in July 1916. One of the three Irish divisions, the Ulster Division suffered over 5,500 casualties in the first two days out of a total of 15,000 men.


1b. At most some 2,000 Irish men and women took part in the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 to set up an Irish Republic, completely independent from Britain. Among the dead were 64 insurgents, including the executed leaders, 132 members of the Crown forces and 230 civilians.

2b. The Battle of the Somme: a very famous painting, by James Prinsep Beadle, ‘The Attack by the 36th (Ulster) Division, Somme, 1st July 1916', 1917. Beadle, a military artist, painted scenes from the Great War, often from imagination and sometimes with the help from veterans - in this instance the young officer with his arm raised.
Belfast City Council

1. Freeze-frame one of the pictures. 2. Answer the following questions.

a. What are the main things you see in these pictures? b. What are the main questions you want to ask? c. What similarities and differences can you see between the scenes?