by ehistoryadmin on December 1, 2018

Since 2007, the County Federation of Local History Groups, in partnership with Kildare Library & Arts Services, have been visiting schools in County Kildare as well as hosting an annual seminar to assist students with their Leaving Cert. RSR. In more recent times the seminar has been replaced by a planned schedule of visits to schools which brings expertise and knowledge directly to the students preparing for their projects.

The main aim is to show students how important local content can be and how access to local resources can help them choose a unique topic. Students can choose topics from a wide range of subjects, including world, or Irish history, but the availability of sources make local topics more accessible. The final decision on the topic chosen rests with the student and their teacher. A special Kildare Workbook was prepared in 2013 and can be downloaded here.

Leaving Cert RSR FINAL

Our aim in this publication is not to set forth, or duplicate, Department guidelines, or take from the important role of the History teacher, but to outline our observations and experiences gathered during the delivery of visits to schools and working with students on a one-to-one basis. We would like to draw attention to local material, but clearly acknowledge the role of the teacher and remind students they must consult with their teacher on all aspects of their intended project.

Going Local:

While students can choose topics from a wide variety of subjects, the County Kildare Federation of Local History Groups and Kildare Library & Arts Services can offer a unique blend of expertise, when it comes to the history and heritage of County Kildare. There are 21 local history groups and 16 library branches (including the local history department) which means the whole of County Kildare is available to students in search of a topic.

The EHistory website – www.kildare.ie/ehistory – contains a dedicated list of articles under the category School-History Curriculum. There is a huge amount of local content on the site, with topics ranging from Kildare people on board the Titanic to Kildare and the 1916 Rising, Kildaremen in the two World Wars, the 1928 All-Ireland Final, etc.

There is a limited amount of material available via the Federation website, but there are contact details for all the local groups and societies – http://kildarelocalhistory.ie

As well as the huge archive of material on EHistory, students are advised to consult the general library website and the online library catalogue. It is free to join the library and gain access to the material.

One of the greatest challenges for any student undertaking a Leaving Cert. RSR, special topic, is to ensure they have enough relevant sources available to them to complete their chosen essay. A student might choose a great topic only to find there is a limited amount of material available and often students may be forced to change their topic and start again.

Likewise students need to make sure they can access at least one primary source. Kildare Library & Arts Services can help mainly with local, or Irish material, but might find it a struggle to deliver primary sources on topics relating to obscure European or World history subjects.

To help students and teachers the County Kildare Federation and Kildare Library service offer school visits, or on-site visits, to the local history department in Newbridge Library. Students have the opportunity to outline their intended topic, discuss difficulties they might encounter, or arrange a one-to-one session with staff.


Much praise is due to Anne McNeill, former committee member of the Federation and former Schools Librarian for her facilitation of the original seminars which began the process.

County Kildare federation of Local History Groups.

John Dredge from the Department of Education who delivered advice and a presentation at the early seminars and also made his notes to teachers available for reproduction on the library EHistory website – www.kildare.ie/ehistory

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