Mary Barry - Heritage Experts | Heritage in Schools

Mary Barry

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Science, Geography
Curriculum Strands:
Human environments (Geography), Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science), Materials (Science), Energy and forces (Science)
Counties catered for:
Cork, Waterford
Classes catered for:
All Classes

Book in-person visit

Mary will interact with the pupils using a number of methodologies including hands-on discovery learning, games, group work, art and craft, poetry, story- telling, creative story writing and music . Mary has an extensive range of resources to inspire children including a taxidermy collection of native animals and birds, a set of “singing” toy birds, beehives and beekeeping equipment , games and musical instruments. Mary’s workshops take place in the classroom, school grounds, school garden, in the locality and if required, further afield.

Mary has a range of topics for your school to choose from:

In-person visits

Mary will use the local environment/ school grounds to talk about native trees and their importance. Pupils will get an opportunity to gather specimens which can be used as stimuli for other subjects in the classroom.

  • Identification of the native trees in your school grounds/ locality
  • Leaves, fruits, wood, berries
  • Pollination, seed dispersal and seed saving
  • History and folklore of trees
  • Interactive games, worksheets, science experiments, mathematics, follow-on activities
  • Creative activities using natural materials
  • Walking Trails

Mary will talk about native birds and animals in the locality using her extensive taxidermy collection to demonstrate. Pupils will get to examine exhibits close-up.

  • Identification of birds/ animals
  • Habitats and food, making bird cakes (Autumn and Winter)
  • Birds’ nests (Spring and Summer)
  • Walking trails
  • Food chains
  • Interactive games, group work, worksheets, follow-on activities

Mary will use her extensive knowledge and experience in helping schools set up a school garden and/ or regenerate interest in maintaining an existing one with fresh ideas on foods to grow and eat, pollinator- friendly planting, sensory gardens, herb growing and more. Pupils will get an opportunity to engage in sowing, transplanting and much more.

  • Seed sowing, transplanting, seed saving, care and propagation of plants.
  • The wormery- how to set it up for home or school - Mary will bring a wormery for pupils to examine worms at work close up.
  • All about soil
  • Recycling; making compostable pots, bottle gardens, bird feeders, wind chimes and more
  • Using plant material for creative subjects

Mary is an experience beekeeper, with a special interest in the conservation of the native Irish honeybee. Mary will talk about the honeybee colony and how honey is produced within the hive. Pupils will get an opportunity to see honeycomb, raw honey, beeswax and lots more.

  • Bees and their importance in the environment
  • The native Irish honeybee colony
  • Trees and plants for pollinators

Mary will use an array of natural materials from woods, hedgerows and school gardens to make dyes and inks.

Pupils will get an opportunity to experiment with the dyes and inks on fabric, wool and paper.

  • Plant material suitable for use in making dyes and inks
  • Demonstration on how to make dyes and inks
  • Natural fabrics and fibres traditionally used with dyes
  • Experimenting with natural dyes and inks
  • Using dyes and inks creatively


  • "Mary was Excellent. An extremely talented heritage expert. The children learned through discovery and hands on activity." - Curraglass NS, Cork
  • "Children had a wonderful day. Mary was very informative and the activities were very child centered." - Castlelyons NS, Cork
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  • "The children really enjoyed the session and were actively engaged throughout. They learned about composting and Mary brought in a wormery so they got to see the various layers of soil/compost in which the worms work. Mary has a great knowledge of these topics and is passionate about her work and the children got a great insight into same. They asked many questions throughout and did experiments." - Scoil Mhuire Tallow, Waterford
  • "Mary interacted wonderfully with the children and they really enjoyed the whole day and learned a lot from it." - Gogginshill NS, Cork
  • "Mary was so accommodating, knowledgeable and engaging. We all thoroughly enjoyed the visit." - Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Alainn, Cork
  • "Mary was wonderful! She had an excellent workshop prepared for the children. She was animated and informed and kept the children fully engaged. It was an excellent workshop." - Holy Family JNS, Waterford
  • "Excellent over view of the life cycle of the Bee. The children were amazed by the hive and the worker bees the drones and the Queen bee.. such a fantastic topic. Well delivered with enthusiasm." - Castlelyons NS , Cork
  • "Mary shared her endless knowledge of the flora of our school environment and the interdependence and diversity between nature and humans. We cooked with plants found from foraging and ate delicious nettle soup. We look forward to watching our seeds grow into vegetables and flowering plants in a few weeks. A thoroughly worthwhile experience with an extremely talented specialist." - Curraglass NS, Cork
  • "Was a really interesting day and all pupils enjoyed the day." - Conna NS, Cork

Additional Information

  • Provides in-person visits
  • Caters for special needs
  • Provides practical/hands-on activities
  • Provides field trips
  • Visits as Gaeilge

Contact Details

Phone (Work):
058 59392