Lesson plan I – Ireland at the time of the Easter Rising

Why use Letters 1916-1923 in schools?

Letters 1916-1923  is Ireland’s first crowd-sourced digital humanities project. It has created a new online archive of letters written from, to or about Ireland between 1 November 1915 and 31 December 1923.  We are collecting letters from libraries and archives across Ireland and abroad. Many people have donated copies of their private family papers to the archive.

What is the educational objective of this particular lesson plan?

Letters written by the Vicereine, Lady Wimborne, wife of the then Viceroy, and effectively Ireland’s “first lady” at the time of the 1916 Rising.

Different private and public letters from our unique collection are used in our lesson plans and bring to life what it was like to live in Ireland in 1916. They vividly recreate the excitement and turmoil as the Great War raged and a rebellion was fought on the streets of Dublin, Wexford, Galway, Meath and Louth in April 1916. They give us the words of important figures who shaped Irish history but also the thoughts and feelings of ordinary people caught in extraordinary events. By engaging with original primary documents, students will find a wide range of experiences and learn that the history of 1916 was complex and fascinating.

The lesson plan provided here was initially developed for the St Angela’s College (Cork) & Wesley College (Dublin).

Download the full Teacher’s Pack (.docx format / 121kB) to get started. All the letters needed for the classroom exercises are linked below.

Primary sources needed for the lesson plan:





Karolina Badzmierowska, Maynooth University, Kildare

Aaron Hoey, Maynooth University, Kildare

Sharon Kearney, Bridge 21, Dublin

Helene O’Keefe, St Angela’s College, Cork

Derek Shaw, Wesley College, Dublin