About Us

Threads is an initiative that provides an online space for schools to store and share their student’s oral history projects. Threads is all about encouraging students to become active ‘oral historians’ and to engage in the collection of stories and history about their locality and to gather living people’s testimony about their own experiences and memories. The name for the project comes from the concept that the study of history is built around a set of events, people, and places spanning time and space - the threads of history. These threads, are woven together, interpreted, and analysed to build a fabric of historical understanding.

The oral tradition, or Béaloideas, has always been very strong in Ireland and Irish people have been great storytellers – as expressed eloquently in Irish folklore and in the Irish literary tradition. Collecting these stories forms an important role in creating this fabric of history. Telling history, though, is not just about recounting the story of famous and powerful people but also of giving a voice to the everyday memories of ordinary people in every corner of the country. Where possible, these threads can be strengthened through searching through documentary sources, or physical buildings and places, all helping to create a rich tapestry of local historical and cultural knowledge.

The idea for threads has been inspired by the Schools Collection project undertaken in the 1930’s by the Irish Folklore Commission who collaborated with the Department of Education and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation. The project saw almost 50,000 schoolchildren collect and document folklore and local tradition with approximately 740,000 pages compiled by pupils in around 5,000 primary schools between 1937 and 1939. The article written for the INTOuch magazine details some of the thinking we went through in bringing this project together.

The pupils who contributed to the Schools Collection had pen and paper to record the folklore they gathered. The pupils of today can enhance their research through a variety of digital and other means, and present their findings using a multitude of different formats - digital text, sound, video, animations and combinations of some or all of these formats. Threads provides the online space to build new tapestries of local folklore and historical knowledge.


The PDST Technology in Education is grateful to:

Professor Waldron organised the Fianaise folklore and oral history project in Inchicore in 2000 which saw, among other activities, local schoolchildren examine ‘change over time’ in their locality.

Professor Fionnuala Waldron Dean of Education at St Patrick’s College in DCU

Brian Ruane, provided invaluable assistance in refining the thought process for oral history projects in schools.

Brian Ruane Lecturer in history education at St Patrick’s College DCU

Críostoír Mac Cárthaigh provided a great insight into the original Schools Collection being held in the archives at UCD.

Críostoír Mac Cárthaigh Archivist at the UCD School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore

Kevin McCarthy, a senior inspector of History (Post-Primary) at the Department of Education and Skills, for his insightful feedback on the potential application of Threads to the curriculum.

Kevin McCarthy Senior inspector of History (Post-Primary) at the Department of Education and Skills

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