Getting Schools Ready for Kilkenny’s 400th Birthday Celebrations in 2009
The Heritage Council’s education and outreach work supports, where possible, efforts to bring our heritage alive through active learning. For this reason, and because it is one of Ireland’s built heritage gems, it is with great delight that we have supported the work of Kilkenny Education Centre in bringing together ‘Stepping Into Kilkenny’s History’ a publication and supporting documentation on the 400th anniversary of Kilkennys City charter. It is intended that the publication will support and encourage teachers, students and others to explore the rich historic legacy that surrounds us. This beautifully illustrated publication and CD provides a depth of knowledge about this medieval city with its narrow streets, its distinctive townscape and rich historic fabric.
While this publication has been produced to meet the needs of teachers and their students it will, I believe, have a use far beyond any specific audience providing as it does a wonderful guide to the city that will be of interest to resident and visitor alike.
We hope you will take the time explore the city and see it through the eyes of those who have contributed to this publication and have shared their knowledge and enthusiasm with us.
CEO, The Heritage Council.
For the past twelve months the Kilkenny Education Centre has been working on the development of resources, about Kilkenny’s history, for teachers and schools. Director of Kilkenny Education Centre, Paul Fields highlighted the work that the Centre has been engaged in. “We have developed resources for teachers that focus on Kilkenny’s rich historical streets. We hope that teachers will bring their students out of their classrooms at some point during 2009 and explore the historical buildings in the City�?, said Mr. Fields
One of the difficulties for teachers in the past has been finding materials that can be used in classrooms to teach children about Kilkenny’s history. For the first time materials will be presented in a format that is clear, age appropriate, and that encourages teachers and students to explore various walking trails the City.
When it comes to resources for local studies in history in the primary school, there is a chronic shortage of child-friendly and indeed teacher-friendly material. Presently, teachers depend mainly on local history books, geared towards adults, a limited range of material on the internet, and their own initiative regarding class visits to a particular historical site. This programme sets out to address the shortfall of local historical information that teachers are experiencing in Kilkenny. It provides a substantial body of local resources for schools that the Department of Education and Science (DES) clearly points out is crucial to achieving the aims of the history programme. The material is designed with the teacher and pupil in mind, the various class levels within the primary school and the strands and strand units of the local studies section of the history curriculum.
Commenting on the pack, the Director of Kilkenny Education Centre noted some of the interesting facts that emerged during the gathering of the historical information. Some of the pieces of information that stood out during the research for the project are as follows:
• In the early 17th. Century, the local corporation banned, ‘howling and crying’ at any funeral that took place in St. Mary’s Church
• In 1658 the local corporation banned ‘swine running in the streets and church yard of Kilkenny’. A fine of 12 pence was imposed on the owners of any swine who were seen to break this rule.
• A soup kitchen was set up during the Famine, in Dunmore Co Kilkenny, by the owners of Kilkenny Castle
• Kilkenny hosted a visit from the King and Queen of England in 1904.
• Rothe House once housed a school and later a butchers shop
The Resource Pack, entitled, ‘Stepping into Kilkenny’s History’, provides a wide range of resources including a DVD, Book, and Walking Trails. The Pack also includes a large, specially commissioned poster size map which outlines all of the places of historical interest in the City. The Resource Pack focuses on Churches, Castles, Historical Buildings, Bridges, and Roads. Each primary teacher in the County will receive a copy of the Resource Pack. In addition, all post primary schools will also receive a set of resources for their own use. The main authors of the Pack are two local teachers with a great interest in local history: Tony Patterson, a retired teacher from Castlecomer Boys NS, and Ann Murtagh a teacher in the Kilkenny School Project.
The project has been funded by the Heritage Council and Kilkenny Borough Council, in conjunction with Kilkenny Education Centre.