Senior Cycle


History at Senior Cycle is an optional subject and one which focuses on modules in the Later Modern era.

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History Senior Cycle

History at Senior Cycle is an optional subject and one which focuses on modules in the Later Modern era. Pupils study 4 modules from the following:

  • Irish History 1815-1993
  • Movements for Political and Social Reform 1870-1914
  • The Pursuit of Sovereignty and Impact of Partition 1912-1949
  • Politics & Society in Northern Ireland 1949-1993
  • Government, Economy and Society in the Republic of Ireland 1949-1989
  • History for Europe and America
    Dictatorship and Democracy 1920-1945
  • Division and realignment in Europe 1945-1992
  • European retreat from Empire and the aftermath, 1945-1990
  • The United States and the world, 1945-1989

All students are expected to cover three topics as well as a document question. The document question is compulsory and changes every two years. It is chosen by the exams commission and it can be from Irish , European or American history. It is the first question that appears on the exam paper each June.

Apart from the document question three other topics must be covered. The rule is that two topics from Irish History must be studied together with two european topics. So if for instance the Document question in any particular year is chosen from Irish History then only one other Irish topic is to be covered with two European topics to be studied. However if the Document happens to be European then the students will study one other European topic as well as two topics chosen from Irish history.

In choosing what topics to cover the teacher will consult with the class. Traditionally students tend to choose topics that they have a foundation in from Junior Cycle. Democracy and Dictatorship is a favourite European topic. Here students learn about Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, The Second World War as well as the Depression, to name but a few. The American History section is also popular. Many students are keen to learn about the role of the President in the US ,as well as the moon landing, the Berlin Blockade, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Moon Landing.

When choosing Irish History topics The Pursuit Of Sovereignty And The Impact Of Partition is often studied. Again students will cover events that they already have a knowledge of such as the Third Home Rule Bill, the 1916 Rising , the War Of Independence, the Civil War, the Cumann na nGaedhael government, the deValera years including the Emergency. 

The topic which covers Politics and Society in Northern Ireland from 1949 to 1993 has proven to be a popular choice with classes in the past. Again students would be familiar with certain events covered in this section as part of the Junior Cycle. Here the students would study in some detail the following, the creation of the Northern Ireland State , the Brookborough years , when Lord Brookborough was Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, the years when Terence O’Neill was Prime minister, the Civil Rights Movement, the Troubles, the fall of Stormont, the Sunningdale Agreement, the Anglo Irish Agreement 1985, and the ceasefire as well as culture and society in Northern Ireland.

The paper which is sat in June after two years of study is given a weighting of 80% of the overall mark. The other 20% is allocated to a project which is to be completed by all students. This project is referred to as the research study report or RSR. Each student of history is expected to research and write up a report on a significant historical event or a person who made a significant contribution to history prior to 1992. The scope is quite wide and it is hoped that the student would choose an event or person of interest to them. It is an independent study . However the teacher will support each student as they work on their RSR.

History is a very worthwhile subject to choose for any student. It overlaps with the History of Art, English, Geography, and to a lesser extent science.

At higher level each student is expected to complete three essay questions as well as the Document question when sitting their paper in June. At both levels each student is expected to take on the role of an historian in that they are expected to think critically, ask questions, separate fact from opinion, critically analyse decisions of political leaders, to have an informed opinion, to have the ability to clearly articulate their own opinion, to work with different historical sources and to have the skill to glean the significant facts or opinions from such sources. These are skills which are invaluable not only to students of History but also to students of most other subjects.