Two letters from St. Mary’s N.S Ballygarrett, one from Mary Doyle, Deputy Principal, And the other from one of the students Ellen O’ Loughlin, 6th Class.
Visit by Irish Great War Society
A great air of excitement prevailed in St. Mary’s N.S Ballygarrett last week on the arrival of six members of the Irish Geat War Society. I had invited Brian Kenny, our local member of the society, to come to the school to give a talk to the sixth class regarding WW1, having heard how wonderful the society was.
On catching a glimpse of five men in army uniforms approaching, complete with guns, helmets and all sorts of artefacts every child in the school wanted in on the ‘talk’. Teachers were approaching from every room requesting admittance. Alas we could only cater for 4th, 5th and 6th classes with the promise that the ‘army’ would return at a later date.
What followed was one of the greatest learning experiences I have ever witnessed over my many years of teaching. All men got in role and stayed in role for the duration of the talk and display. All children became recruits and therefore held to obey orders. Recruits were inspected and proper dress code was observed. French warfare was re-enacted and gas masks were introduced on a given signal. One German was taken prisoner and questioned. Volunteers came up and fired the cannons. A lively discussion took place on local men who went to war. The children gained many insights into war that a book or interactive whiteboard could never achieve.
The room was full of memorabilia and artefacts of WW1. The children were all allowed up to touch and investigate all of these items, questions were readily answered by the men about them and their relevance to the war.
All children had photographs taken with the memorabilia and the ‘soldiers’. It was fabulous that they could try on helmets, coats, boots and guns and get such enjoyment from it.
I wish to express our gratitude to Brian Kenny, Dan Wafer and the society for giving their time and experience to us and providing such a wonderful learning experience to the children. I would strongly recommend that schools avail of a visit from this wonderful group, as I feel that every child would benefit from this learning experience. It not only teaches them about important historical events but stimulates their interest in history. It is without doubt that the children will never forget the day that World War One came to life in Ballygarrett!
Please do not hesitate in contacting me if you have any further questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WORLD WAR 1
By: Ellen O’ Loughlin, 6th Class St. Mary’s N.S Ballygarrett.
Today, six soldiers came into us to talk about World War 1.
First, they handed us out sheets which we had to sign our names on. They were certificates to enlist us in the war. I thought this was a good idea because it showed us what it would have been like. We got to bring them home to keep. They told us about local people who fought in World War 1. There was a priest who went to fight in war and treated himself like every other normal soldier. He went to fight outside the trenches without a rifle and helped the sick and gave them dying their final blessing.
Next, they got around ten volunteers to come up to the top of the class. They put them into a line and told them to put their legs apart and their hands behind their back. When the sergeant said “Atten-shun!”, the volunteers had to put their legs together and put their hands by their sides.
The men told us about gas bombs. They got a volunteer to come up and ring a bell and shout “GAS, GAS, GAS!”. The three soldiers that were lined up, took out gas masks from their pockets and quickly put them on, but they all had different masks on. The first man wore a strap of hessian around his mouth and a pair of goggles on his eyes. The hessian had to be dipped in pee. The second soldier wore a newer and more hygienic gas mask. This was a piece of cloth with eye holes for goggles and a leather strip for his mouth. The final soldier wore a modern gas mask, which was like the ones we see in pictures today. It was a proper mask, which had goggles and a pipe going down to an oxygen bow.
The soldiers held a question and answer session towards the end. Just after, we got to look at artefacts. There were used grenades, helmets pipes, tea-makers, pipes and rifles. We got to try on the uniform which was itchy, heavy and very uncomfortable. The bullet pockets held over one hundred bullets. I couldn`t believe that people had to run around the battlefield with them on. I really enjoyed the talk and I found it very interesting.
Letter received from Ballyoughter National School, Co.Wexford.
Letter received from Bhaile Mhic Airt National School-Sean Phobal, Co.Waterford.
E-mail received from two 'Old Soldiers'.
To the Irish Great War Society
Ron Moore and I would like to express our thanks for the welcome from the members of the IGWS on
In particular, Les Newman and Ed Keller who were so generous as to taxi the pair of us to and from Connolly Station.
The return journey was rather fraught, with us making the
All in all a super day, spent with people of a similar category. Top class!!
We both look forward to seeing you all soon and remember, you have somewhere to basha down in the black North if you drift this way.
Tony Baker, MBE
30th August 2011
A letter from Ennis National School
A thank you letter from Tombrack N.S.
An endorsement received from the Royal Munster Fusiliers Association in their periodic journal