Schoolkids share their history

Some of the school children who took part in the  history event at An Culturlann.
Some of the school children who took part in the history event at An Culturlann.

Schoolkids from across Derry’s community divide have taken part in a unique event focusing on the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme.

Primary 7 pupils from Fountain P.S., Long Tower P.S. and Gaelscoil Eadain Mhoir gathered at An Culturlann for the final session of the Centenary (con) Fusion initiative, co-ordinated by the Droichead Project.

Kids from Fountain PS and Long Tower PS taking part in the art component of the history event at An Culturlann.

Kids from Fountain PS and Long Tower PS taking part in the art component of the history event at An Culturlann.

As part of the initiative, the children were able to trace their family trees back to 1916

Local historian Trevor Temple, who helped facilitate the project, said: “It is important for me to spark an interest in history, especially local history, for young people. By making it relevant to them through the genealogy aspect, it creates an interest that might not otherwise have been there.”

Trevor delivered information sessions on the events of the Rising and the first day of the Somme.

The young people worked with arts facilitator Cara Park to think about the motivations of the people involved in both events and the reality of being alive at that time.

Children from Fountain PS discuss their plans at the Centenary {con} Fusion event.

Children from Fountain PS discuss their plans at the Centenary {con} Fusion event.

Young people took themselves back to 1916 by looking at the language of both the Proclamation and the Ulster Covenant and by writing postcards from the perspective of someone writing from the trenches of the Somme or left at home.

Foyle Family History Centre Co-ordinator, Keith Wright, who helped the kids to trace their family tree, said: “Family history can throw up all sorts of stories and interesting things that we don’t know about ourselves. It is an important tool for exploring our identities.”

Catherine Pollock, Cultural Inclusion Worker, said: “We wanted to give the classes an opportunity to learn about these two events in a safe and inclusive way.

“History has many perspectives and both facilitators have been able to express that to the kids. They have been amazing participants and really engaged with the sessions. “