Donna Gilligan - Heritage Experts | Heritage in Schools

Donna Gilligan

Donna Gilligan
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Science, History, Geography
Curriculum Strands:
Story (History), Local Studies (History), Early people and ancient societies (History), Continuity and change over time (History), Human environments (Geography), Materials (Science)
Counties catered for:
Cavan, Clare, Galway, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath
Classes catered for:
All Classes

Book in-person visit

Donna is an archaeologist and museum curator, who has worked in the heritage and museums sector for over fifteen years. She runs Scéal Heritage Consultancy (, working with museums, heritage groups, and cultural organisations on a wide range of projects and activities.

She has worked in heritage education for children for over a decade, developing effective and enjoyable methods of child-friendly heritage interpretation through curriculum-based education programmes, workshops, and activities. She specialises in object-based learning (how objects tell us stories about the people who make and use them), and has specific expertise in Irish archaeology and history, Irish women’s history and the suffrage movement, and the history of books and print.

Her visits include engaging visual presentations, class discussions, and interactive hands-on activities which explain the science and work of archaeology, the many chronological periods of time throughout our past, and the changes and continuity between the past and the present. Donna’s visits are very much rooted in the SESE curriculum strands, and are tailored to best suit the needs of each class. Visits can incorporate local heritage projects or field trips to museums or local archaeological monuments, introducing the children to the archaeology and history of their locality and immersing them in the heritage that is all around them.

Learn about what an archaeologist is, what they do, and what we can learn from their work! Children learn about the science behind archaeology, take part in interactive activities to help them think like an archaeologist, handle replica archaeological objects, and end the day working in teams to actually become archaeologists by digging small sandbox excavations to uncover artefacts! Please note there is a maximum of one classroom/30 children for this full day visit.

Learn all about what life was like in Ireland five thousand years ago – the homes people lived in, the food they ate, and the megalithic tombs that they built! Children can handle replica Stone Age artefacts, create a village of prehistoric houses, and end the day by getting hands-on with history by making a Stone Age clay pot with their hands in the same way that prehistoric people did thousands of years ago! Please note there is a maximum of one classroom/30 children for this full day visit.

Learn all about the archaeology of the Vikings - what Vikings looked like, believed in, and the many artefacts that they have left behind for us to learn from today. Children can learn about what archaeologists can tell us about the lives of the Vikings, handle replica Viking artefacts, write a message in runes (the letters used by the Vikings), and end the day by making a model of a Viking longship! Please note there is a maximum of one classroom/30 children for this full day visit.

Learn all about the history of printing, and how its revolutionary invention was used to create the earliest books! Children will learn about the development of printing techniques and book production and learn to make an original printer’s hat with origami. Finish the day by working in groups to create special hardback storybooks for the class from scratch, while learning all about the historic process of bookmaking. Please note there is a maximum of one classroom/30 children for this full day visit.

Learn all about the history of museums, what they do, what things they hold, and the role they play in today’s society. Children are introduced to artefact display and conservation, as well as interpretation and storytelling techniques used by museums, where archaeological and historical objects are used to tell stories and give information to the public. The class is invited to create a classroom or school museum, where they bring in an object from home which they find interesting, which they will record, label and interpret for display in the school. Please note there is a maximum of one classroom/30 children for this full day visit.

Learn about women’s lives in Ireland throughout the past, and the changes for women’s rights over time. Children will learn about the Irish suffrage movement, and women’s fight to achieve the vote in Ireland, and make their own suffrage protest badge in the style of those used in the early twentieth century to persuade people to let women have a vote. Please note there is a maximum of one classroom/30 children for this full day visit.


  • "Donna was excellent with the children. She is very knowledgeable on her area and imported this well to the children. She had a good mix of ICT, discussion, worksheets and interactive hands on activities to keep the children engaged and interested. She adapted her workshop well to suit the younger children and discussed more challenging areas with the older children. Our school was delighted with her visit. Donna was very professional and accommodating when arranging the school visit and she was very organised for her day in our school."
  • "Donna packed a great deal into the day - excellent day."
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  • "Great use of artefacts and exploratory work. Loved the link to grids for maths."
  • "Donna was excellent. She shared her expertise and enthusiasm with the students and it was a very enjoyable experience for us all. Thank you."
  • "Really worthwhile visit Children really enjoyed it Very engaging presentation Great resources provided Very hands on approach used Met objectives of curriculum All needs and classes catered for Expert was very well prepared for session Would certainly recommend to others" - Threen NS, Roscommon
  • "Donna had an excellent rapport with the students. She explained everything clearly and they were intrigued with her workshop."

Additional Information

  • Provides in-person visits
  • Provides practical/hands-on activities
  • Provides field trips

Contact Details

086 889 1477