"History is past politics, and politics present history." John Robert Seeley

"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see." Winston Churchill

"What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing." Aristotle


The Age of Discovery

Period of Exploration & Discovery:

Early 15th Century (1400’s) – Early 17th Century (1600’s)


Video for Age of Exploration


Motives for Age of Exploration & Discovery

POWER: European countries were eager to explore and claim new territories to expand their power & prestige. Rivalry amongst European nations was foremost in this regard. Cost of exploration (ships, men, raw materials) meant that national monarchies/governments were involved in sponsoring these voyages of discovery.

CULTURE: Europeans believed in spreading Christianity and their language. Much of this belief was based on the common European ideal of ‘civilisation’ and ‘progress’ i.e. that it was Europeans’ duty to ‘enlighten’ and ‘educate’ less advanced peoples.

ECONOMICS: One particular motive for exploration was that of spices in particular and resources in general. Great wealth and prosperity for themselves, their King and their country in general could be achieved in securing these resources and raw materials in far-off territories.


Map of European Exploration & Resources


New developments/ Inventions in Age of Exploration:


Portuguese Caravel sailing ship developed in early 1400’s. Faster sailing ship, using triangular sails and a rudder for sailing against the wind.



Astrolabe was a device that used the positions of the stars to determine ship’s position

Magnetic Compass

The development of the Magnetic Compass greatly aided navigation during the Age of  Discovery; it helped sailors to determine their position in relation to North, South, East & West.




In a world where Europeans had rarely if ever travelled outside the ‘known world’ the prospect of sailing right out into the ‘Western Ocean’ (Atlantic Ocean) filled many sailors with dread. Superstitions affected national cultures and their desire to travel and explore. One of the most prevalent of superstitions was based on a religious ‘world-view’ i.e. that the Earth was the centre of the universe and the sun, moon and stars revolved around the Earth. Within this view, Earth was usually seen as being flat. Therefore sailing out into the extremes of the Western Ocean could very well mean “Falling off the edge of the Earth”.

Junior Cycle History

Click on the header title (underlined) to access each chapter of the course.

N.B. Click on the People in History file in each chapter to access a completed example of that topic: Check each day for updates on these

Click on Files for Download for a complete itinerary of powerpoints & word files for download.

The Work of an Archaeologist



 The Stone Age



The Bronze Age



 The Iron Age



Ancient Rome – Republic to Empire


Early Christian Ireland


The Middle Ages

The Renaissance
The Revolution of Perspective PowerPoint



The Reformation

The Age of Discovery




The Age of Revolutions – When & Why?


The Industrial Revolution

  • Population Explosion
  • Urbanisation
  • From Domestic System to Factory System
  • The Agricultural Revolution
  • The Transport Revolution
  • Working & Living Conditions in 18th Century England
  • Industrial-Revolution PPT


Social Change in Ireland, 1900 – 2000

  •    Communications
  •    Education
  •    Lives of Women
  •    Transport  


 Political Change in 20th Century Ireland 


 International Relations in the 20th Century 



Christopher Columbus

please install flash


Christopher Columbus: People-in-History-Christopher-Columbus

Born: 1451 in Genoa, Italy. (Italian port city) The eldest of five children.

Youth: worked in his father’s wool weaving business. At 14, went to work at sea on merchant ships.

Studied: Sailing & Cartography (the study of maps & map-making).

A quicker route to China & the Far East

Concept: ‘Entreprise of the Indies’ (theory that declared by sailing west, one would reach the Far East). At this time, European countries wanted to find new routes to China & the Far East, where valuable and precious spices were to be found. Most ships sailed down around the coast of Africa and across the Indian Ocean up to this time.

Columbus believed that there was a more direct way.


The Search for a Sponsor

1st Plea for Sponsorship: King of Portugal & other kings in Europe (all unsuccessful)

2nd Plea for Sponsorship: King Ferdinand II & Queen Isabella I of Spain. (1492 – after 7 years of pleas)

Ferdinand & Isabella’s Motives for Sponsorship: Wealth & spices, new territories to control and spreading Christianity. Their rivalry with Portugal was also a key motive in the Spanish Court backing his expedition. Columbus demanded 10% of all revenue accrued from successful explorations. He also demanded to be made Viceroy of all new lands found on his expedition.


The Expedition Begins


  • Santa Maria (a ‘Nao’,Columbus’ ship),
  • Pinta (caravel)
  • Nina (caravel).
  • 90 sailors


Sailors’ Fears & Superstitions

Many sailors believed that the open ocean held unknown dangers.

  • Sea monsters
  • ‘boiling’ seas
  • flat earth – sail off the edge of the world. (Although largely discredited by this time, sailors remained superstitious)
  • Many of the sailors would beg Columbus to return to Spain over the period of the three months of expedition.


The Voyage Begins

3rd of August 1492 from Palos.

1st Leg: sailed to the Canary Islands to take on supplies

2nd Leg: sailed out into the open Atlantic in the direction of the Far East.

New inventions used:

  • ‘Dead Reckoning’:
  • Compass
  • Traverse Board0


First Sighted Land: 12th October 1492. Columbus called it San Salvador. Claimed for Spain. Met by Native Americans. Columbus called them ‘Indians’, believing them to be in Asia.


Columbus’ Quest for Gold

Columbus exploited their lack of value in precious items such as gold. The natives were forced to show him where they found gold, on the island of ‘Hispaniola’ (present-day Haiti & Dominican Republic). On this part of the trip, the Santa Maria struck rocks and sank. Columbus left 39 men behind on Hispaniola to create a permanent settlement.

Lands Discovered:

  • San Salvador
  • Cuba
  • Hispaniola


A Hero’s Return

March 1493: Columbus returns to Spain a hero in March 1493, with Indian women, gold and exotic gifts. The Spanish Court then agreed to fund a much larger second voyage of 17 ships.


Later Voyages

2nd Voyage: (24th of September 1493) Columbus returned to the fort built on Hispaniola to find that many of his men had been killed. Natives over the age of 14 were then forced to mine for gold. Columbus returned to Spain in 1496.

3rd Voyage: (30th May 1498) Word spread about the lack of gold, sailors dying from unknown diseases and the dangers posed by travelling on Columbus’ expeditions. He set sail on his third voyage with ten prisoners who had been granted amnesties to make up a full crew compliment.
Columbus sailed further south on this voyage. Dealing with rebellious settlers in a harsh fashion, including hanging some of them, Columbus was returned to Spain in chains.


Columbus’ Last Voyage

4th Voyage: (11th May 1502): set sail on just four sub-standard ships. He tried to sail to present-day Central America, trying to find a route to Asia. His ships finally broke up after harbouring on present-day Jamaica. Returned on a ship to Spain in 1504.

Death: 20th May,1506


Legacy: accredited with finding the ‘New World’. Spaniards & Natives both suffered from new diseases which both sets of people were unable to recover from. Large-scale slavery and exploitation of indigenous people.




Junior Cert Exam Guidelines (H)


Time: 2.5 hours

Total Marks: 180

Sections: 6

(1) Pictures (15 marks)

This section contains 3 Pictures/ Photographs on which you must answer all questions.


(2) Documents (15 marks)

This section contains 2 Documents on which you must answer all questions.


(3) Short Questions (20 marks)

This section contains 20 Short Questions of which you must answer 10 correctly.


(4) People in History (40 marks)

This section contains 2 (A & B) sub-sections of which you must answer 1 in each sub-section i.e. One from A & One from B.


(5) Early Modern Ireland & Europe (30 marks)

(Age of Revolutions/ Reformation/ Plantations/ Exploration/ Industrial & Agricultural Revolutions)

The topic of this question varies between the sections named above. 1-2 Primary/ Secondary Sources (Pictures/ Documents) are provided and all questions must be answered.


(6) Later Modern Ireland & Europe (60 marks)

(Industrial & Agricultural Revolution/ Reformation/ Age of Revolutions/ Social Change in 20th Century Ireland/ Political Developments in 20th Century Ireland/ International Relations in the 20th Century)

This section contains 4 Sub-Sections of which you must answer 2 sub-sections only.



Exam Guidelines:

Answer Sections 1, 2 & 3 in the Exam Booklet.

Answer Sections 4, 5 & 6 in separate Exam Answer Booklet.


Time Allocation:

Section (1) Pictures = 10 – 15 minutes

Section (2) Documents = 10 – 15 minutes

Section (3) Short Questions = 15 – 20 minutes

Section (4) People in History = 25 – 30 minutes

Section (5) Early Modern Ireland/ Europe = 20 – 25 minutes

Section (6) Later Modern Ireland/ Europe = 35 – 40 minutes


*N.B. If the maximum times are taken in the suggestions above, this will leave no time for checking your answers and/ or editing what you have previously written. Be aware of time constraints and DO NOT leave any section unanswered.

Archaeologist Working on a Dig


Equipment used:

Methods of Dating & Classifying Artefacts:

Sorting Table:

Transportation & Display of Artefacts:

*Rescue Archaeology:

*Underwater Archaeology:

Choosing a Site

An archaeologist chooses a site to begin an excavation after evidence is found that there may be historical artefacts located in that place. The archaeologist will consult with any existing primary & secondary sources to estimate the exact location and type of excavation that is necessary. Examples of existing evidence would be settlement ruins that have been unearthed, or tools, jewellery and/or weapons that have been recently found there. The size & location of a dig varies, as artefacts can vary from ‘accidental locations’ such as broken pots, coins, tools and weapons to ‘deliberate sites’ such as settlements, tombs & burial sites.

Beginning the Dig

Having completed all the pre-dig research, using primary & secondary sources and consulting with historians, the archaeologist will then map out the perimeter of the dig site. This is done with either a line (narrow rope or string with small poles) or metal grid. The dig beings with a shallow excavation while the archaeologist sketches and photographs the dig as it progresses down into the soil, taking photographs of the layers of opened soil. He will use a measuring pole to identify the depth of the dig and each artefact as it is found.

Tools & Methods

As the dig progresses, the archaeologist will use finer tools so as not to damage any artefacts in the soil. These tools include small trowels, for opening up the soil carefully & a sieve, for separating any small artefacts or pieces of artefacts from the soil. Any artefact or unidentified object will then be placed on a ‘sorting table’ where the relationship between different artefacts can be later established.

Further Tools & Methods

Once a significant find has been established, the archaeologist will then use a grid, which can be used to ‘plot’ on a sketch (or photo) of the location of different artefacts on the same strata level in a dig. This can be particularly useful if artefacts are small, broken or unusual. Using the grid, the relationship between these artefacts can later be established accurately. Stratigraphy is especially useful; as the level of soil in which the artefact is found gives a good estimate as to the age of the artefact. Carbon-14 Dating is used when any human remains are found; the less carbon found in the bone fragments, the older the remains (radiocarbon test). Finally, Dendrochronology is used to date wooden artefacts; a cross section of the wood in the artefact reveals the number of rings, therefore the age. (Also, examining the spacing of rings in a cross section of wood can tell an archaeologist a lot about the weather at that time.)

Cleaning, Identifying & Collating Artefacts

Record-Keeping is essential throughout an excavation. When artefacts are found, sketched and photographed, they are brought to a ‘sorting table’ where they are cleaned and identified. Here, archaeologists can attempt to re-assemble broken artefacts, study their significance or relate them to other artefacts and remains found at the site. For example, King Tut’s tomb in Egypt contained many of the King’s possessions; therefore by examining what was found in his tomb can help both archaeologists and historians to understand the value-system and beliefs of his culture.

Other Methods & Spoil Heap

Even as a dig progresses, the soil removed from a site is all placed in one location. This is known as the ‘spoil heap’ where archaeologists can check again to see if any very small pieces or artefacts can be found. The dig itself takes a very long time and progresses very slowly. Great care is taken with all aspects of digging and excavating so as to ensure that any artefacts are not damaged or crushed by boots, larger tools etc.


Pottery is one of the most commonly-found artefacts in an excavation. Even though pottery is easy to break, it does not decay in the soil. Pottery can tell archaeologists and historians a lot about the time and culture it came from such as those found throughout the Mediterranean depicting scenes from Ancient Greece and Rome. Magnetic Dating is used to identify the general time period of any clay artefacts found in the soil. When clay is baked to produce pottery, an imprint of the earth’s magnetic field is imprinted in the pot. By studying the imprint, scientists can determine the relative age of the artefacts by comparing it with known previous locations of the Earth’s magnetic field.

Transporting, Preserving & Display of Artefacts

Once a dig has been completed and all artefacts cleaned and collated, they are moved very carefully in specific ways to museums and laboratories for further study and testing. For underwater archaeology, artefacts are preserved in special salt-water tanks to prevent the air from accelerating their decay and decomposition. Museums often have large displays of organic and inorganic artefacts such as the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.


Tools Dating Methods

Measuring Pole

Line & Grid


Sorting Table

‘Spoil Heap’


Carbon 14 Dating


Magnetic Dating    

1: Choosing a Site

2: Beginning the Dig

3: Tools & Methods

4: Further Tools & Methods

5: Cleaning, Identifying & Collating

6: Other Methods & Spoil Heap

7: Pottery

8: Transportation, Preservation & Display


The Age of Revolutions

The American Revolution

The French Revolution

1798 Rebellion

The Age of Revolutions

The Age of Revolutions – When & Why?

Motives for Exploration




  • POWER: European countries were eager to explore and claim new territories to expand their power & prestige. Rivalry amongst European nations was foremost in this regard.Cost of exploration (ships, men, raw materials) meant that nationalmonarchies/governments were involved in sponsoring these voyages of discovery.
  • CULTURE: Europeans believed in spreading Christianity and their language. Much of this belief was based on the common European ideal of ‘civilisation’ and ‘progress’ i.e. that it was Europeans’ duty to ‘enlighten’ and ‘educate’ less advanced peoples.
  • ECONOMICS: One particular motive for exploration was that of spices in particular and resources in general. Great wealth and prosperity for themselves, their King and their country in general could be achieved in securing these resources and raw materials in far-off territories.


The Iron Age

The Stone Age

The Stone Age is classified into three main categories:

Paleolithic Period

Mesolithic Period

Neolithic Period

The Stone Age is the 1st Period of Pre-History i.e. the era of Human History preceding writing and literacy.

The 2nd & 3rd Period of Pre-History are The Bronze Age & the The Iron Age respectively.


Paleolithic Stone Age

Period: CIRCA 2.7 million years ago – 10,000 BC

Key Development:
Mesolithic Stone Age

Period: CIRCA 8,500 BC – 4000 BC

Key Development:
Neolithic Stone Age

Period: CIRCA 4500 BC – 3000 BC

Key Development: Farming


















The Bronze Age

The Bronze Age Period:

CIRCA 3,300 BC – 1200 BC

The Middle Ages

Life in a Medieval Castle



Motte & Baileys were built in the early Middle Ages. These later developed and expanded into what we know today as Medieval Castles.

What was the purpose of a Motte & Bailey?

After the fall of the Roman Empire, most peoples retreated into their local territories and did not travel outside of the areas they knew. With the fall of the Roman Empire and the disappearance of the Roman legions, people in isolated areas now relied on their local lords or kings for protection. Increased threats from roaming groups and barbarians meant that local chiefs/ lords had to increase their own physical security.



With this in mind, they created settlements known as Motte & Baileys. These allowed the lord, his family and loyal soldiers to retreat uphill into the ‘Motte’ when the Bailey was threatened by barbarians and looters. From this early Motte & Bailey type-settlement, the Medieval Castle slowly emerged.


Life in a Medieval Castle














Life in a Medieval Monastery


The City of Rome

  courtesy of Smarthistory, Khan Academy.


The most prominent buildings of Rome were:


Atlas of History

This section contains a selection of maps, depictions and atlases which show Europe & other regions in detail at the stated times. Click on each to view full-size map and a brief historiography of that time/event. booo


Atlas in Greek Mythology




The Persian Empire 500 B.C.


Greece during the Persian Wars


Greece during the Peloponnesian War


Alexander the Great’s Empire


The Roman Republic 44 B.C.


The Roman Empire A.D. 117




































Life & Times of Rome

The Role of Patrons

A Patron is a wealthy individual who commissions (pays for) works of art & architecture by painters, sculptors, architects and writers.

•Patrons, such as Lorenzo de Medici, paid artists to create works of art for their city-states

De Medici paid scholars to go to Greece to find manuscripts to fill his library in Florence

•De Medici’s family had made their fortune in banking

•Lorenzo paid scholars, writers and scientists to fill his library

•Other city-states competed with Florence and hired artists to create works of art

‘Il Magnifico’
(1449 – 1492)

Lorenzo de Medici, otherwise known as ‘Lorenzo the Magnificent’ was a scholar, diplomat, businessman and patron of the arts. An incredibly powerful and influential ‘de facto’ ruler of Florence, he invested an enormous amount of money and time in developing the artistic and aesthetic nature of Florence. Lorenzo was a patron to both Michelangelo and Botticelli.

Patronage & Protest: The Legacy of New Perspectives

The de Medici family had loaned money to the papacy since the time of Cosimo de Medici, Lorenzo’s grandfather. This gave Lorenzo great influence with the Papacy. Lorenzo’s son, Giovanni, became a cardinal before being ordained Pope Leo X. Pope Leo X would be the one to excommunicate Martin Luther after his refusal to recant his ’95 Theses,‘ a document that became famous due to its widespread reproduction by Gutenberg‘s printing press.

The Council of Trent

The Council of Trent




  1. REFORM: Emperor Charles V wanted them to first address abuses within the Church, e.g. Nepotism, Pluralism, Sale of Indulgences etc.
  2. DOCTRINE: Pope Paul III was more interested in changes to doctrine and did not want to reform as it would financially damage the Papacy & undermine his authority
  3. Three different sessions were held over the course of 18 years.
  4. Over 270 cardinals & bishops attended
  5. Pope is represented by ‘Legates’


1st Session:     1545-1549

2nd Session:      1551-1552  

3rd Session:    1562-1563


Decrees of the Council of Trent:

  • Faith AND good works are required for salvation
  • Sale of Indulgences to be continued in ‘moderation
  • Martin Luther’s publications e.g. ’95 Theses’ are banned
  • The Jesuits are set up to spread Catholicism through education
  • The ‘Inquisition‘ is created: a trial for religious heresy (or beliefs that are anti-Catholic)














The Flight of the Earls