These resources are divided into ten units, each headed by an Irish word which acts as a springboard into glimpses of life in Ireland in previous centuries which are often absent from history books.

The topics of the ten units are:

  • ceol ‘music’
  • ráth ‘a ringfort’
  • leabhar ‘a book’
  • dalta ‘a pupil’
  • réalta ‘a star’
  • bróg ‘a shoe’
  • mac tíre ‘a wolf’
  • forc ‘a fork’
  • gruaig ‘hair’
  • ‘a cow’

Offered in English- and Irish-medium, these resources are aimed at a broad range of working levels from upper primary to Junior Certificate/Key Stage 3. While the main focus is on history, language and literature, the material covers also other areas of the curriculum such as geography, science, religious studies, creative writing, art and drama. As a whole, this History of Ireland in 10 Words is designed to facilitate an interdisciplinary, active learning environment in which critical thinking, social and environmental awareness, teamwork and individual research skills are to the fore. Explore and enjoy!

Spreading the Words

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These resources were produced under the auspices of ‘Spreading the Word(s)’, a project associated with the Dictionary of the Irish Language ( which was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and based at the University of Cambridge. Their development was assisted greatly by a cohort of practising and former teachers from schools in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland, who generously gave time, expertise and encouragement. Those in question are: Emma Duggan, Ellen Hallinan, Grainne Henry, John Kelly, Catherine Mairs, Christine Melby, Edel Ní Loingsigh, Eoin Ó Donnchadha, Trudy Rossiter, Jim Ryan, Miriam Uí Dhonnabháin. Liam Dempsey of the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA) advised on active learning and teaching methods and was a much-appreciated source of information and reassurance.

We are indebted to the Royal Irish Academy for making this material available via the ‘Education Resources’ pages of their website. Sincere thanks are due also to Ruth Hegarty of the Academy, who facilitated that arrangement and offered invaluable support, and to Fidelma Slattery, who contributed to the artwork and design. Pól Mac Fheilimidh produced accessible translations into Irish. Joe McLaren created superb illustrations specifically for this resource, several based on ideas from Eoin Ó Donnchadha. Alice Taylor-Griffiths obtained permissions for the use of various images. Lastly, pupils from various schools provided important feedback which helped shape the final versions of these materials; we are grateful to all, but special thanks are due to Henry Delap-Smith, Benedict Meissner and Naoise Scott.