Strangford Integrated College and Trinity College, Dublin, are bringing the bloody Irish Rebellion of 1641 back to life, but without the historical biases of the past.
In September 2010, Trinity College, Dublin, along with the University of Aberdeen and Cambridge University published a collection of 8,000 witness statements, or depositions, taken during the turbulent decades of the 1640s and 1650s.
They describe the outbreak of the 1641 rebellion in Ireland.
The depositions are decried as “one of the most sectarian sources in early-modern Irish history”.
The history department at Trinity College secured funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Reconciliation Fund and in collaboration with Strangford College plans were drawn up to devise teaching and learning packs for year nine students in Northern Ireland.
History teacher Dale Maginnes from Strangford College has been working alongside Dr Eamon Darcy from Trinity College, devising a teaching pack to provide teachers with enough information and resources to teach students about the value of assessing evidence correctly, free from political, social and cultural prejudice and to understand the 1641 rebellion in its immediate context.
“The depositions bring the study of the 1641 rebellion alive for students and provide a wealth of information about the time,” said Miss Maginnes.
“They don’t just tell us about the violence that took place in areas like Portadown, but they tell us a lot about social, cultural and daily life in 17th-century Ireland,” she added.
Miss Maginnes will be trialling the new resources this week with some year nine classes at Strangford College.
Seven other schools in the South Eastern Education Board area have agreed to try out the resources and evaluate the packs.
NICIE (NI Council for Integrated Education) has been involved in the project from its inception.
NICIE is conducting anti-bias training for history teachers in April which will help teachers develop the skills to teach contentious issues like the 1641 Irish Rebellion in “an appropriate and honest” way.
The resources will be issued to schools in readiness for the new academic year.
View the depositions online at www.1641.tcd.ie