Tuairisc ó bhall de Mheitheal Dú

Agus Meitheal Dú ar an bhfód le breis agus dhá bhliain anuas, tá go leor daoine i ndiaidh scéalta ón mbailiúchán a thras-scríobh dúinn. Scríobh ball den Mheitheal as Scoil Mhaodhóig, Co. Loch Garman tuairisc ghearr dúinn faoin gcaoi ar baineadh úsáid as an Meitheal sa seomra ranga. Seo a raibh le rá aici…

Can’t recommend this (not so little) hidden gem highly enough

  • Looking for a project where children can work as historians and learn more about their own community?
  • Looking for a project where classes can work together?
  • Looking for a project to commemorate a significant milestone in your school?

We at Scoil Mhaodhóig, Poulfur, Fethard-on-Sea were looking for all those things, and we came across the hidden gem that is the Dú project to digitize the National Folklore Collection of Ireland, which is one of the largest folklore collections in the world.

Material from 26 counties in the Schools’ Collection is available to everybody online, and we headed there to find our predecessor school, and embarked on the journey of transcribing material that had been recorded by pupils in our school some 80 years ago.

As we prepared to move to our new school, and our old school was being demolished, we thought it would be a cool idea to play our part in transcribing the material from our school, and so, 1st and 6th class came together to work as historians and transcribe the stories from Poulfur National School. This initiative ticked so many boxes for us, and gave many rewards to the children. It gave them an opportunity to work together, to learn about places, archaeological features, events and stories from their community. It was also an opportunity to learn about how some things have changed and others have stayed the same over those years. We followed this up by collecting our own stories of life in school, and compared them with stories that had been collected.

This project challenged us to use all our skills as historians:

  • Distinguishing and developing an understanding of time and chronology;
  • Developing an understanding of change and continuity and continuity by exploring similarities and differences between the past and the present;
  • Examining historical evidence to develop skills, ask questions, compare accounts, make deductions, recognise that material may be biased or incomplete, appreciate that evidence can be interpreted in a number of ways;
  • Select and organise historical information;
  • Use imagination and evidence to reconstruct elements of the past;
  • Imagine and discuss the feelings and motives of people in the past;
  • Discuss how an event in the past may have been perceived by those who participated in it.

There were also lots of opportunities to communicate this understanding in a number of other curriculum subjects, such as oral language (and how the use of words has changed over time), writing, drama, art work, as well as the use of ICT to transcribe the stories themselves. We are sure that it would also have been possible to record audio or visual readings of the stories themselves.

The children themselves enjoyed completing this project very much. As well as the opportunity to work together, the children enjoyed learning new information about their parish, and the people who had written the stories. They discovered that only one child who had written the stories was still alive, and that happened to be the father of our school secretary. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to speak to us on it, but his family did recall him talking about the stories, and this served to make the stories even more real to us.

Below are some of the comments of the children who took part in the transcription process:

“I loved the stories about the fairies” – JH 1st class

Ms Lynch & Ms Hynes, Poulfur National School, Co. Wexford


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