1916 in transition 1

Mapping Sites of Action 1916

Themes: Sites of Action
Subject: Geography, History
Estimated No. of Classes: 1
Toolkit: Projector, Computer Lab, Internet Connection, Print Outs, Photographs
Funders: The Department of Education and Skills and the Irish Research Council.
Developed by: The Letters of 1916 Project, The Military Archives, An Foras Feasa and The Humanities Institute at Maynooth University.
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This lesson requires students to visualise and map the various sites of action, be they conflict zones or otherwise, associated with the Easter Rising. Using primary sources, the students will create a networked web of information that informs about the locations of the rising and how these sites shaped the events that occurred there.

Students are encouraged to identify a number of key sources (at least five citable sources), synthesise information and create their own unique map based on what they developed. These resources will be developed into a final group presentation of their map and associated material (time and method of presentation will be determined by the teacher and the student). The scope of the project is dependent upon the student and teacher, sites of action may refer to city wide or country wide events and locations.

Lesson Aims/Objectives:

Note: Objectives will vary according to the focus of the lesson and the subject, gathered below are some general objectives

i. Analysis and interrogation of primary sources

ii. Development of a project that builds a detailed profile of an Easter 1916 action site using a variety of sources to identify personalities involved at the site

iii. The lesson can be used to bring in modern mapping techniques (plotting grid references and OS coordinates)

iv. Wariness of bias with regards to historical documents.

v. Students will enhance their presentation and writing skills in addition to their creativity and accuracy

Advanced Preparation Required:

i. Teacher should ensure that the websites that they intend to use are white-listed in the school (Letters 1916 and Military Archives)

ii. Identify technology required and identify the location / site of action. The map will be mounted on the wall (if offline) or hosted (if online)

iii. To generate more interest, the teacher could locate four or five sites of action relevant to the local area/address of the school. The Military Service Pensions colleciton has a tool which shows a map view of pension applications (that are presently online) which were made by 1916 veterans Pension Applications

iv. Pick a location map that features the chosen sites of action (see Materials Needed section below).

v. Identify the individuals present at each action site

  1. E.g. The Officer in Command, members of other organisations, identified via witness statements, pension records, photographs, letters.

vi. Prepare printed resources

vii. Teacher should display the chosen site map on projector (if online) or place it on wall (if offline)


a. The teacher should introduce the map and present the project by demonstrating the steps students are expected to emulate. Using a single site of action as an example, show how the resources are used to add information to the map (e.g. map of Maynooth, account of the Maynooth Volunteers page 3-5, pension record of Thomas Harris - see Materials Needed sections ‘f’).

b. Students will be divided into groups to research primary source material pertaining to their relevant site of action. Possible resources for 3 Dublin sites of action - the GPO, Ringsend and Four Courts - are listed below as a starting point (see Materials Needed section ‘g’).

c. The students will break down the events that occurred from different sources and statements in a similar manner to the teacher's example

i. For example, linking letters, witness statements, pension records and photographs to particular locations

ii. Students will add their research to the larger map and deliver a final presentation of their specific site on the map at a later date


a. Students will be assessed on their identification of key sources, synthesis of information and creation of class map developed from sites of action

b. Presentation of individual site with associated material - allotted time and method of presentation to be determined by the teacher

Materials Needed:

The site of action could be determined and map sourced using suggested links below.

a. An tOglach accounts with map from the Military Archives site
easter 1916 an toglach accounts

b. Map of Dublin sites of action (city)

c. Map of Enniscorthy, 1916

d. Bureau of Military History Witness Statements (now part of militaryarchives.ie)

e. Teacher example (Maynooth/Kildare area)

i. Account of the Maynooth Volunteers
1926 05 08 Vol.4 No.17 An t-Oglach page 3-5

ii. Pension record of Thomas Harris

f. Teacher example Dublin sites (GPO, Ringsend, Four Courts)

i. GPO - Commemorative article(s) detailing events in the G.P.O during Easter Week, An t-Óglach 1926

  1. “How the Troops took over the GPO”
    1926 01 16 Vo.4 No.1 An t-Oglach
  2. “The defence of the Dublin GPO in 1916”
    1926 01 23 Vo.4 No.2 An t-Oglach
  3. “The evacuation of the GPO”
    1926 02 27 Vo.4 No.7 An t-Oglach

ii. GPO - Diarmuid Lynch Supplementary Statement on Easter Week (p21-340)
BMH.WS0004.pdf (page 25)

iii. Ringsend - Commemorative article(s) detailing events in Ringsend during Easter Week, An t-Óglach 1926

  1. “Occupation of the Ringsend area in 1916” part I of account 1926 04 17 Vol.4 No.14 An t-Oglach;
  2. “Occupation of the Ringsend area in 1916” part II of account
    1926 04 24 Vol.4 No15 An t-Oglach

iv. Ringsend - Witness Statement of the Very Rev James Doyle

  1. “Four Courts and North King street area” by John J. Reynolds Part I of account 1926 05 15 Vol.4 No.18 An t-Oglach
  2. “Four Courts and North King street area” by John J. Reynolds Part II of account
    1926 05 22 Vol.4 No.19 An t-Oglach
  3. “Four Courts and North King street area” by John J. Reynolds Part IIi of account 1926 05 29 Vol.4 No.20 An t-Oglach

v. Four Courts - Witness Statement of Mortimer O’Connell (p24-25)

  1. BMH.WS0804.pdf (page 26)

vi. Photographs of sites of action (captured by the Air Corps in the 1950s) available on http://photogallery.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/thumbnails.php?album=39