History Department Mission Statement

The aim of the Riversdale History Department (in conjunction with the Junior and Senior syllabi) is to introduce students to the breadth and depth of the human experience by a study of past events, societies and cultures. Through this study students will develop their abilities to conduct research, analyze and assess evidence, and articulate sound conclusions. It is our belief that the acquisition of historical knowledge and skills will help the students of Riversdale Community College to develop as informed, engaged, and thoughtful members of Irish society.


History in Junior Cycle

Subject Overview

The History syllabus aims to ensure that students:

  • Acquire knowledge and understanding of human activity in the past
  • Understand the contemporary world through the study of the past
  • Develop conceptual understanding
  • Develop the ability to think independently
  • Develop a range of historical skills e.g. research skills
  • Develop such positive attitudes as a commitment to objectivity and fairness
  • Develop an interest and enthusiasm for history
  • Learn to value their heritage


The syllabus is divided into three sections. The framework is chronological in presentation, spanning prehistoric times to the late 20th century. It is developmental in nature, moving from the simple to the more complex, from the concrete to the more abstract.

Section I : How we find out about the past
  1. Introduction – the job of the historian.
  2. Our roots in ancient civilisation – a study based on archaeological evidence of life in pre-Christian and early Christian Ireland and in one ancient civilisation
  3. Castle, church and city – a study of medieval society based on buildings, settlements and other material sources
  4. Renaissance – a study based on visual sources and biography of Renaissance art, architecture and learning
Section II : Studies of Change
  1. Changes in European view of the world – Exploration
  2. Religious change – Reformation
  3. Changes in land ownership – Plantation in Ireland
  4. Political change – Revolutionary change
  5. Social change – From farm to factory
Section III : Understanding the Modern Ireland
  1. Political developments in Ireland in the 20th century
  2. Social change in the 20th century
  3. International relations in the 20th century


Assessment is by means of an examination paper at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level.
The following styles of questioning are used at the two levels:
Q. 1 – Pictures (based on picture sources)
Q. 2 – Documents (based on written sources)
Q. 3 – Short answer questions
Q. 4 – People in history (short essays on historical personalities or generic types)
In addition, at Higher Level there are two extra questions testing higher level skills and a broader knowledge of syllabus content.

Current status

As part of the review of junior cycle, History is one of the syllabuses currently undergoing a rebalancing process, in a move towards presenting all junior cycle syllabuses in similar formats.




History in Senior Cycle

Subject Overview

History deals with the experience of human life in the past. The study of history involves an investigation of the surviving evidence relating to such experience. It brings students into contact with human experiences that are often very different from their own and fosters their developing understanding of the human condition and human motivation. Through its focus on the evaluation of evidence, it contributes significantly to the development of students’ skills of critical thinking. Through its focus on research, it allows students the opportunity to develop their skills of independent learning.


The syllabus framework comprises two interlinking parts as follows:
I Working with evidence
II Topics for study

I Working with evidence: (a) Introduction – history and the historian (b) The documents-based study (c) The research study

II Topics for study: Students study a topic that has been prescribed for the documents-study and three other topics. Two of the topics studied relate to Irish history and two to the history of Europe and the wider world. The topics are arranged in two discrete fields of study: Early Modern, 1492-1815; Later Modern, 1815-1993. Within each field of study, there are six topics from Irish history and six from the history of Europe and the wider world.
Differentiation – The syllabus is designed to be taught at both Ordinary and Higher levels. The levels are differentiated through the specification of learning outcomes: there are learning outcomes that are common to all and additional learning outcomes for Higher level. While student at the two levels study the same topics, for Ordinary level students a particular emphasis is placed on the key personalities and the case studies. Higher level students are expected to study topics more fully and to develop a greater level of conceptual understanding.


Leaving Certificate History is assessed at two levels – Ordinary level and Higher level. There are two assessment components:
A research study report (submitted prior to the examination) 20%
An examination paper 80%
At both levels, the examination paper features a documents-based question (linked to the documents-based study) and three general questions. All four questions are of equal value.

Current status

A Revised Leaving Certificate History syllabus was introduced in 2004 and was first examined in 2006.



Junior Certificate Revision Resources

Ancient Ireland
Economic Revolutions
The Age of Exploration
The Age of Political Revolutions
The Industrial Revolution
The Job of the Historian
The Middles Ages
The Renaisance

 Leaving Certificate Revision Resources

Irish History 1870-1914

Home Rule
Land League

Irish History 1919-1945

Anglo Irish Treaty
Anglo Irish War
Boundary Commission
Irish Free State

PDF Files

A History of Irish Education
Ireland 1870 – 1914
Ireland 1919 – 1945
Northern Ireland
Congo-Katanga Crisis
Indian Independence


History Department Numeracy & Literacy Resources

A Chronology of Irish History
Glossary of History for Junior Certificate
Glossary of History for Senior Certificate
Common Words used in History Examination

World War Two Casualties
World War One  Casualties
Irish Population 1901-2006
World Population Growth History
Timeline – 20th Century



Department History Projects

Holocaust Project

Photos from the Holocaust Crocus Project at Riversdale
Holocaust Education Project Crocus Project Website
A Boy in Belsen – Tomi Reichental
Holocaust Lecture by Tomi Reichental – Part 1
Tomi Reichental -discusses I was a boy in Belsen on Pat Kenny 6 Dec 2011 (approx 27 min in to the podcast)

Transition Year Holocaust Project

The Holocaust by Stephanie Troy
The Holocaust & Anti-Semitism by Laura Hynes 
The Holocaust & Anti- Semitism by Laura Rowe
The Holocaust by Leanne Nulty
The Holocaust by Kornelijus Vengris
The Holocaust by Mario Shyti


Titanic School Project

Titanic Picture Gallery
Echoes of an Titanic Disaster
Titanic Stories
Encyclopedia Titanica
Titanic School Project
NOAA Titanic Expedition 2004: Breathtaking Wreck Footage
New CGI of how the Titanic Sank

Riversdale Titanic Essays :

RMS Titanic: A Brief History
The Last & Only Voyage of the “Unsinkable” RMS Titanic:   April 10th – April 15th


The Anglo Irish Treaty 1921

The Treaty Document
The Treaty : background, Terms and Outcomes
The Treaty Exhibition at The National Archives of Ireland
Download the Anglo Irish Treaty


The 1913 Lockout

A  brief history of the 1913 Lockout
Images of the Lockout 
The 1913 Lockout
State commemorates 1913 Lockout

Useful History Websites

Scoilnet : http://www.scoilnet.ie/hist/
Island Ireland : http://islandireland.com/Pages/history.html
Leaving Certificate History : http://www.templehistory.dna.ie/index.htm
BBC History Website :  http://www.templehistory.dna.ie/index.htm


Junior Cycle History Curriculum Resources :
Irish History Live : http://www.irishhistorylive.com

History Podcasts



History Photo Gallery

Ancient Rome
ESS History Trip to Kilmainham
Living History – May 2010 – The Weapons of World War 2
Museum Reniassance Art – Vatican Museum
Normandy D-Day Beaches
Titanic Talk

Student Work

Leaving Certificate

Leaving Certificate History Research Project Archive

The Early Life and Career of Jimi Hendrix
The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Leaving Certificate Research Topics 2000

The Sinking Of The Lusitania
The Great War, Ireland And The Forgotten Battle
The Slaughter On Omaha Beach 
Stalingrad : The Turning Point Of World War Two
Katherine O’Shea And Charles Stuart Parnell

Leaving Certificate Research Topics 2001

James Larkin And The Dublin Lock-Out
East Germany during the Post War Years : A Brief History
The Life Of Katherine O’Shea
James Daly : The Forgotten Man Of The Land War
The Irish Language, Douglas Hyde And The Genesis Of The Gaelic League

Leaving Certificate Research Topics 2003

David Lloyd George (1863 – 1945) : His Life And Times
Lawrence of Arabia : His Life And Times
Queen Victoria (1819-1901) : Her Life And Times
Albert Einstein : His Life And Work
Neville Chamberlain : His Life and Times
Yeats, William Butler June 13, 1865 – January 28th, 1939
The Battle of Stalingrad
Winston Churchill : The Last Great British Prime Minister
Leon Trotsky : Russian Revolutionary
The Life of Adolf Eichmann : Nazi War Criminal, Murderer of Millions
Mein Kampf : A Study Of An Important Historical Document
The Causes Of World War 2 
Battle of the Somme

Leaving Certificate Research Topics 2012

Bobby Sands
Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo
A Brief History of Bloody Sunday : 30th of January 1972
John Lennon
The Invasion of Normandy and the Battle of Omaha beach
The Short Life and Career of Kurt Cobain
The War in the Pacific
The Invasion of Poland

Leaving Certificate Research Topics 2013

The Bombing Of Pearl Harbour 
The Last & Only Voyage of the “Unsinkable” RMS Titanic:   April 10th – April 15th 1912
George Best
The Holocaust
Nicolaus Copernicus
Anne Frank
RMS Titanic : A Brief History
The Battle of Stalingrad
Life Of Michael Cusack September 1847 – November 1906
The Life And Military Campaign Of Genghis Khan 1162-1227
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel  And The Construction Of The Eiffel Tower
The Short Life And Violent Death Of JFK On Friday In Dallas On, November 22, 1963

Leaving Certificate Research Topics 2015

The Birmingham Bombings
The Life and Career of Bob Marley
Christopher Columbus
Excavation of Pompeii 
Joseph Stalin
Stalin Show Trials
The Jarrow Crusade
The Holocaust
The Nuremburg Rallies

Leaving Certificate Research Topics 2016

Leonardo Da Vinci
The Berlin Wall
History of Video Games


Transition Year

Transition Year History Projects 2016/2017

JFK by Megan Carey
Anne Frank by Amy Mannion
George Washington by Scott Ryan
Christopher Columbus by Paulina Nkrumah
The Start of the Battle by Jason Kidd
The Sinking of the Titanic by Adam Howard
Marie Antoinette by Nathan Fitzgerald

Transition Year European History Project

Adolf Hitler
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Stalin
Vladimir Lenin
Winston Churchill

Transition Year – The Battles of World War 2

Battle of Britain I 
Battle of Britain II
Battle Of Stalingrad
D-Day I
D-Day II
Invasion of Poland
Battle of Berlin 1945
Battle of Britain III
Battle of Britain IV
Battle of Britain V
Fall of Berlin 1945
Invasion of Russia June 22
World War 2 – The Blitz

Transition Year – The Great Dictators

Adolf Hitler By Marian Bustamante
Adolf Hitler By Jade Dwyer 
Adolf Hitler By Wayne Brady
Adolf Hitler by Alex Damoc
Adolf Hitler His early life By Aaron Paget
Battle of Stalingrad by Miroslav Talar
Benito Mussolini By Henry Kulikov
Benito Mussolini By Marian Bustamante
Hitler By Kirsty Gallagher
Hitler the father of the Nazis By Isaac Ogene
Hitler By Scott Costello
Josef Stalin by Henry Kulikov
Joseph Stalin By Eric Mwamba
Joseph Vassarionvich Stalin 1878 By Miroslav Talar 
The Great Dictator By Carly Moran