Teachers' Resources

Teach your pupils how to build a giant nest, create a butterfly garden or make their own family tree!

The resources provided here have been submitted by Heritage Experts, teachers or prepared by other educational organisations. The resources are both fun and educational and are designed to inspire and develop an appreciation and curiosity about Ireland’s wonderful natural and cultural heritage.

Resources can be searched for under the following categories:

Local Studies (History)

The Butlers of Kilkenny

Theobald Fitzwalter, an English nobleman, came with the young Prince John, to Ireland in 1185. The prince gave Fitzwalter a large area of land and the important job of Chief Butler of Ireland. This meant that if the king was visiting Ireland, the Chief Butler had to make sure there was plenty of food and drink ready for him and for the group travelling with him. Download the full PDF below for the full story of the Butler family.

This resource encourages the children to become familiar with important events in the history of the locality, referring to the wider national context where relevant.

The Buildings We Live In

An introduction into different types of buildings that are in the locality.

Things To do
1.    Go on a building ramble. Ask the children to look at the different types of houses that are in their neighbourhood. Do a mini survey of where they live and what kind of house/ apartment they live in.
2.    Download the Front Doors worksheet below and draw a picture of four different doors they see on their way to school.
3.    Tell the three Little Pigs Story and get the children to draw the three different types of houses.

The 1947 Flood, Kilkenny

Content of the study
Children should learn about:
1.    The cause and effect of the flood.
2.    The River Nore and how it has changed from the time of the flood.
3.    The story of the flood as told in the Kilkenny People.
4.    Memories of people about the 1947 flood.

Skills and concepts development
Children should be able to:
1.    Time and Chronology:

  • Describe events as before/after/ later/earlier
  • Use a simple timeline

2.    Change and continuity:

  • Identify features that have remained the same, for example the houses and the bridges near the river
  • Identify how the River Nore has changed

3.    Cause and effect:

  • Examine the reasons for the flood and the effect it had on Kilkenny City

4.    Using evidence:

  • Photographs of the river today
  • Photographs of the flood
  • Edited version of articles in the Kilkenny People

5.    Synthesis and Communication:

  • Communicate an awareness of the story of the flood and stories associated with it, in a variety of different ways such as drama and art.

5.    Empathy:

  • Imagine and discuss what it was like to be rescued in a boat on the evening of the flood.
  • Imagine and discuss what it was like to have your home destroyed by floodwater.


  • Among the methods which may be used are:
  • A story lesson based on the accounts from the Kilkenny People
  • Examining a photograph taken of the flood
  • Listening to personal memories of the flood (oral evidence)
  • Integration with other subjects: the river (Geography)


  • Teacher observation
  • Outcomes of pupil-pupil and teacher-pupil discussion
  • Teacher-designed tasks
  • Work cards designed to help children examine the evidence

Stepping Into Kilkenny's History: A Resource For Primary Schools

Published by Kilkenny Education Centre with support from the Heritage Council, this beautifully illustrated publication provides in-depth knowledge about the medieval city of Kilkenny with its narrow streets, its distinctive townscape and rich historic fabric.

Kieran’s Street Trail, Kilkenny

St. Kieran’s Street in Kilkenny is named after St. Kieran's Well and the site of an ancient church at its northern end. In times past it was named Low Lane, Back Lane and King Street. The presentation, walking trail and worksheets below allow the children to discover the rich heritage of the street first hand.

This resource ties in to the strand unit, ‘my locality throughout the ages’, which requires the children to become familiar with important events in the history of the locality, referring to the wider national context where relevant.

Roscommon Castle

Roscommon Castle is a dramatic and imposing 13th Century Norman Castle.  It was built in 1269 by Robert de Ufford, on lands he had seized from the Augustinian Priory. The castle has a tumultuous past which can be explored with junior level children in the presentation below.

Today, the Castle's past can be visited while enjoying adjacent Loughnaneane Park and Playground, a 14 acre recreational area.  The natural features of the park include a turlough and a wildlife conservation area which is a habitat of unique flora and fauna.

Image by Mike Searle and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Planning A ‘Storywalk’

This sheet contains some lovely ideas for creating an adventure with your class when out on a walk. Suggestions include questions you might ask the group, activities you can try out or simply some things to highlight to the children as you go along.

Old Stone Walls

In the twentieth century, concrete walls gradually replaced traditional stone walls. In the past, the building material for walls was stone, usually from local quarries. Download the Old Stone Walls information sheet below for more information.

Old Kilkenny Advertising

Let the children explore continuity and change over time by discussing these old ads and the difference in prices between now and then.

My Book Of Kells Colouring Book

The Book of Kells is the most famous hand-coloured book in the world. This great publication gives you the chance to colour some of the drawings as the monks did over a thousand years ago. Choose from over 60 drawings of heavenly figures, Biblicial characters, fantastic creatures, animal and bird designs and Celtic lettering - to create your own little masterpieces.

Kilkenny's Medieval Churches

There are several medieval churches still to be seen in Kilkenny City. St. Canice’s Cathedral is the most complete. It is called a cathedral because it was built as the principal church of the diocese. It was the special church of the Bishop of Ossory and he had his seat there. This was an actual chair which was called cathedra in Latin. St. Mary’s Church was the Parish Church of Kilkenny in the middle ages

There were three churches which belonged to religious orders: The Black Abbey was part of the Dominican Priory. Besides the church which you can see today, there were lots of other buildings where the priests and lay brothers lived and worked. It also owned some land and had a mill on the river Bregagh. It lay outside the walls of Kilkenny, but was connected to the rest of Kilkenny by a gate. St. Francis Abbey was a Franciscan Friary. Part of its church can be seen from the main gate of Smithwick’s Brewery. This is only part of the original church and there were other buildings, now gone.

Franciscans and Dominicans were known as Mendicant Orders. A mendicant is someone who begs. The mendicant orders were founded to preach the gospel and to serve the poor. Instead of living off the produce of land which they owned, the Mendicant Orders got much of their income from the ordinary people. St. John’s Priory was an Augustinian priory. It was also the Parish Church of St. John’s Parish on the east bank of the River Nore.

Download the information sheets below to find out more about Kilkenny’s Medieval churches.

Family Tree

A great genealogy website with games, ideas and resources, suitable for a range of age groups. Activities include a family history scavenger hunt and creating a time capsule.

Create Your Own Colourful Characters

A quick activity that can offer delightful characters to use in building stories, having adventures or unfolding the life of an old building. 

Famous Buildings

Explore buildings of interest and different architectural style around the local neighbourhood, town or village.

Things To do
1.    Download the Famous Buildings worksheet below and ask the children to name the buildings in the pictures.
2.    If possible, take pictures of local landmarks and do a mini 'show-and-tell' about the buildings.
3.    Ask the children to draw a picture of a local landmark and do a mini 'show-and-tell'.

Exploring Sligo

This website documents a project in which six County Sligo schools explored and documented the heritage sites of the county. It has lots of resources that can be used by other schools in Sligo.

Christchurch Cathedral

This website has lots of interesting information on the history and heritage of Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin for older age groups.

Loughnaneane Park - Primary Schools Education Pack

Loughnaneane Park is a free amenity provided by Roscommon County Council which is available to all. This pack aims to promote Loughnaneane Park as an education resource site, to be used by primary schools for field studies relating to natural, built and cultural heritage.

Archaeology Lesson Plans

Would you like your class to learn more about their heritage, and Kilkenny's archaeology, in a fun and education-centred way? The Heritage Office of Kilkenny County Council has developed a series of four lesson plans focused on teaching archaeology to young children! The plans are aimed at pre-school, junior and senior infant classes. They are linked to the primary school curriculum and the Aistear curriculum.

This project was developed in partnership with the Kilkenny County Childcare Committee, Kilkenny Education Centre, Dig-it-Kids, and with co-funding from the Heritage Council.

Around Kilkenny Castle

Through using the resources below, and undertaking a trail around Kilkenny Castle, the children should learn about:
1.     The people associated with Kilkenny Castle – the Butler family and the servants.
2.     Certain design features of the castle, such as limestone, moat, sally port, arrow
3.     loop windows, servants’ entrance, coat of arms and lead hoppers.
4.     The strategic site that the castle is built on.
5.     How the building is changed and why. How the defensive character of the castle became less important as time went by.

Skills and concepts development:
Children should be able to:

1. Time and Chronology:

  • Describe events as before/after/, later/earlier
  • Use a simple timeline
  • Use dates such as 1681

2. Change and continuity:

  • Recognise how the castle has changed at different periods
  • Identify features that have remained the same

3. Cause and effect:

  • Recognise the link between the site of the castle and the need for the lord and soldiers to defend themselves in the early centuries of the castle.
  • The importance of displaying a coat of arms for a family.
  • Recognising how people’s needs change and the impact that has on a building, for example the moat being filled in and the change in the design of the windows.

4. Using evidence:

  • Visiting and examining the building

5. Empathy:

  • Imagine and discuss the feelings of the servants working in the castle.

Among the methods which may be used are:

  • Story lesson about the Butler family
  • Comparing a modern photo of the entrance to Kilkenny Castle with an 18th century
  • painting
  • Exploring the environment, using the trail
  • Integration with other subjects: geography (limestone), art (designing coats of arms), maths (shape)

Sources Used:

  • John Bradley, Kilkenny, historic town atlas no. 10 (Dublin, 2000)
  • John Bradley, Discover Kilkenny (Dublin, 2000)
  • Katherine Lanigan and Gerald Taylor (eds) Kilkenny, its architecture and history (Kilkenny, 1977)
  • William Neely, Kilkenny, an urban history, 1391-1843 (Belfast, 1989)
  • William Carrigan The History and antiquities of the diocese of Ossory (Dublin, 1905)
  • David Edwards, The Ormond lordship in County Kilkenny 1515-1642 (Dublin, 2003)
  • Oral testimony of Castle Park constable, Liam Burke (3/08/2007)

A Mini-Dig

Explore the past, the hands-on way! Archaeologists are scientists and historians who spend much of their time on their hands and knees, carefully digging through layers of earth to discover the past. What they find not only reflects the past, but also helps us to understand the present and to anticipate the future.

Things to do
1.    Create a mini-dig 1 - Find the treasure!
2.    Find a big box and fill it with loose soil or sand and place loose coins and artefacts (brooches, pins, and arrow heads) for the children to dig or find in the box. Discuss where and where the items came from.
3.    Create a mini-dig 2 - What’s the person’s job?
4.    Fill a big box with loose soil or sand and place articles that relate to a person's job in it for the children to find.