Our brand new book, Across an Open Field, had its final launch in Belfast last Wednesday 1st February, and was celebrated by pupils from Gaelscoil na bhFál, who took part in the two-year history project, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund.
At Gaelscoil na bhFál, 19 children were supported in their research by teachers Catherine McParland, Luíseach Fitzpatrick, Úna Méabh O’Hanlon, Róisín Lenaghan and Kelly-Ann O’Brien. Children from P5 focused their investigations on local history including shipyards, unions and mill and dock workers:
‘We walked from school to City Cemetery up the Falls Road. It took us five minutes. It’s a very old cemetery. We saw graves from 1789. We used pencils to trace the dates and names.’
The Gaelscoil was one of ten schools that participated in the project from across Ireland and Northern Ireland. Writer Mary Branley, who worked with the children on the project, attended the launch and congratulated the children on their work as researchers, writers and artists, before giving every child their own copy to take home.
Across an Open Field is published by Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership in association with Kilkenny Education Centre (representing the Association of Teacher Education Centres in Ireland) and the Education Authority, Northern Ireland. The book was created by children aged 8-12 from schools in Antrim, Down, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, Monaghan and Tyrone. The children’s historical research is documented on a dedicated website which includes case studies and videos capturing their voices and perspectives: 100yearhistory.com