From the Editor…

Published in Issue 4 (Jul/Aug 2005), Letters, Letters, Volume 13

History becomes history
After 80 years the old Leaving Cert history syllabus was finally laid to rest, but not before a final spasm in the form of an honours exam paper that many teachers and students found disappointing. Few will mourn its passing. Twenty years ago the majority of students took the subject; this year only one in five Leaving Cert students opted for history. It is to be hoped that the new syllabus (see HI 12.2, Summer 2004, p. 49), which will be examined next year for the first time, will stimulate a revival of interest.
While this issue does not contain a dedicated curriculum section, History Ireland will return to its mission of providing teachers and students with stimulating articles next time out. We plan to carry six curriculum articles over the coming school year (one per issue), three on Irish topics and three on non-Irish topics. The inclusion of non-Irish topics to date has provoked a mixed response from our readers, some of whom expressed an anxiety that we had deviated from our objective of producing a popular, readable, but scholarly, Irish history magazine. Let them rest assured that History Ireland has gone only ‘slightly global’: the vast bulk of our material will continue to focus on Irish history.
Our new bi-monthly format will also allow us to cater for those students opting for the early modern course: two of the six curriculum articles over the coming school year will cover early modern topics (one Irish, one non-Irish). While the numbers taking this option for the Leaving Cert in the South may be small, a much greater number of A-level students opt for early modern topics in the North in their much more flexible modular system.
So in our next issue we kick off the new season with a sources-based curriculum piece on Hugh O’Neill, the earl of Tyrone, by Hiram Morgan. In the same issue we will provide details of the other five topics. In the meantime, enjoy the holidays.


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