1930s folklore project to be mirrored in 1916 schools programme

Children will collect stories about local customs and history in a digital-age repeat of a 1930s folklore project as part of the 1916 centenary schools programme.

By Niall Murray

The initiative is one of dozens to broaden young people’s understanding not just of the history of the Easter Rising, but also of living conditions for their descendants at the time.

The Department of Education has issued details to all 4,000 primary and second-level schools as part of the Government’s programme to mark the centenary of the major event of modern Irish history. In a modern repetition of the work of the Irish Folklore Commission, whose schools collection features the fruits of 50,000 primary pupils’ endeavours, children will be invited to gather local and family history and folklore in their community.

While the work in the 1930s was compiled in copybooks, usually by the pupil with the neatest handwriting, the Schools Collection 2016 will feature essays put together in computers, but also artwork, video and audio files. Courses have already been provided, and are still available, for teachers to brush up on their knowledge of the events of 1916, and on current historical thinking around them.

The department is partnering with various organisations to run competitions – many on an all-Island basis – for young people to submit historical essays, short dramas, poems, songs and art around the theme of Ireland a century ago, but some focus on their vision of the country in 2116. More details here.

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