Successful Home Rule Seminar for A level students

12 October 2012

Students tackle Home Rule at The Braid

Last week A-Level Students from across the Ballymena Borough attended a Home Rule seminar organised by Mid-Antrim Museum at the Braid. The seminar offered an opportunity for History students to tackle themes around the Home Rule Crisis with the help of academic experts.

Philip Orr, who was commissioned by the Museum to write New Perspectives: Politics Religion and Conflict in Mid-Antrim 1911-114, opened proceedings with excerpts from his successful play 1912, A hundred Years On and provided a local context, describing how momentous national events played out locally in Ballymena and surrounding area. Dr. Éamon Phoenix Senior Lecturer at Stranmillis College offered the participants a Nationalist perspective on the crisis, highlighting some influential characters within the pro-Home Rule movement. Dr. Johnston McMaster and Dr. Cathy Higgins from the Irish School of Ecumenics explored why so many Ulster Protestants were determined to resist Home Rule and examined some key themes within the Ulster Covenant itself.

The seminar was part of an initiative by the Museum, working in partnership with Ballymena Learning Together Partnership, supported by the North East Education and Library Board, to further good relations between post-primary schools in the area by exploring together their shared histories. The day’s proceedings were well received by both students and teachers who found the sessions to be very useful for their own programmes of study within the classroom.

A New Perspectives interactive e-learning website was also launched at the seminar. This on-line learning resource has been developed to support classroom teaching of the Home Rule period by focussing on the local story in Ballymena during the period of 1911-1914. The event was attended by the Mayor of Ballymena, Ald. P. J. McAvoy, local councillors and project funders.

Michael Graham from the North Eastern Education Library Board said,

“At a time when we our young people are studying and appreciating a number of significant centenaries from our past, it is tremendous that the most modern technologies can be used to further bring to life the relevance and drama of these events. We would encourage schools to use this valuable resource in exploring the richness of our shared heritage from which all can learn.” 

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