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History Department


At Junior Cycle, History should introduce young people to the job of the historian, and to the sources and techniques which historians use to find out about the past. It should also provide young people with a wide tapestry of past events, issues, people and ways of life through which they can come to perceive patterns such as cause and consequence, change and continuity. It is in the past that they will find the roots of the contemporary world.

This syllabus aims to ensure that students to acquire knowledge of and understanding about human activity in the past, to understand the contemporary world through the study of the past, develop conceptual understanding and the ability to think independently and to encouraged to develop an interest and enthusiasm for history and a value of their heritage from the past.

Why study history? 

Relevance to modern life Many of the issues that affect the planet on a daily basis have their roots in history also, and knowing this history helps us to understand them. You will also learn about the role of many interesting key personalities, from various walks of life, in shaping the past. 

Awareness of human behaviour History is unique in that it is the only subject that investigates how aspects of human life and human institutions have undergone change over time. 

Cultural inheritance You will develop understanding about different concepts that are relevant to life today, such as democracy and human rights, power and authority, and conflict and reconciliation. 

ICT use Studying history will develop your ICT skills, which are increasingly relevant in modern life and in the workplace.

Career relevance Employers tend to look for people who are independent thinkers, open-minded, disciplined, good at problem solving and able to pick out the essential from the trivial. The highly respected ‘Which?’ magazine wrote about history as follows: “historians are regarded as having had an education that trains their minds to assemble, organise and present facts and opinions and this is a very useful quality in many walks of life and careers…history is an excellent preparation for very many other jobs”. 

Communication skills Historical writing helps you to develop your skills in organising ideas, expressing clear opinions and reaching a balanced conclusion. These skills will help you in many other subjects as well as in many careers. 

Research skills History will help you to develop your research skills, including the ability to locate historical data from different types of sources, and to evaluate and present such data. 

Analytical skills You will sharpen your critical thinking skills, which will be of benefit to you in any career and in life generally. 

By choosing Leaving Certificate History, you  will be able to: 

  • Develop skills of history, which are transferable to other subjects and to careers, e.g. researching, note-making, communication, analysis, discursive writing. 

  • Learn about the experiences of ordinary people as well as the powerful and influential.

  • Choose from a range of topics dealing with Irish history and the history of Europe and the wider world. 

  • Have the opportunity to study wide range of documents relating to topics, including government papers, official records, newspaper extracts, cartoons, diary entries, memoirs. 

  • Work independently on the research study, which will allow you to research a subject of your choice that is of historical significance. This will allow you to engage in self-directed learning and develop your critical skills. 

  • Choose a subject of personal interest from outside your chosen Field of Study if you wish, dealing with any subject of historical interest. 

  • Submit your research study report before the exam, thus having chance to gain up to 25% of the overall mark before sitting the terminal exam.

Choosing Leaving Certificate history will allow you to acquire a unique combination of skills and insights that will develop you as a person and help to prepare you for a future career and to participate fully in society.

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