1916 Letters give students different slant on history, Irish Examiner, 11 April 2016

In Autumn 2015, the Letters of 1916 project collaborated with St Angela’s College in Cork as part of its community engagement event in Cork which was generously funded by a Science Foundation Discover grant.

Peter Mooney in France (middle row on the right)
Peter Mooney in France (middle row on the right)

The Letters of 1916 team had the pleasure of visiting St Angela’s College to carry out a workshop with the Transition Year history students. The students had been working with a collection of 1916 letters for a number of weeks prior to the school visit. Under the direction of their teacher, Ms Helene O’Keeffe, the students had prepared posters relating to aspects of Sergeant Peter Mooney’s life. The Peter Mooney collection of letters was added to the Letters of 1916 project by Peter’s son, Willie Mooney. The letters in the collection were exchanged between Peter and his sister Katie during World War 1.

Letters 1916, St Angela's Cork
Letters 1916, St Angela’s Cork

Following the fascinating presentations about farm life, life as a WW1 soldier, the life of women in 1916 and Irish society at the time, we moved to the computer room for the workshop in which the students learned about the Letters of 1916 workflow, before finally adding the letters they had been engaging with for weeks to the online system.

In today’s Irish Examiner, there is an article by Niall Murray which delves deeper into how the transition year students at St Angela’s College explored the Mooney letters from the collection, and carried out additional research into life in Ireland during 1916.

What did the TY students at St Angela’s think about working with the 100 year old letters? Here are some of their reactions:

“In Junior Cert history, you just learn about dates mainly, but not the details about the slums in Dublin or the fighting. I thought before that it was the whole country fighting against the British”

Alice McCarthy

“We could tell from looking online at the Census they had a big farm. There were very few machines, labour was how work was done on the farm ,”

 Ciara Dilworth

“It’s cool to look up all these people and find out more”

Emily Crowley

We think so too Emily!

Click below to read more student responses and the article on www.irishexaminer.com:

Irish Examiner, 11 April 2016
Irish Examiner, 11 April 2016

If you are a teacher and are interested in using Letters of 1916 with your students, please see the EDUCATION section of our website for lesson plans, resources and ideas.


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