Members of Department

Ms E Smith

Ms R McGroary

Ms J McGuirk

Ms L Sullivan

Ms L Smith

Subject Overview

The History syllabus aims to ensure that students:

  • Acquire knowledge and understanding of human activity in the past
  • Understand the contemporary world through the study of the past
  • Develop conceptual understanding
  • Develop the ability to think independently
  • Develop a range of historical skills e.g. research skills
  • Develop such positive attitudes as a commitment to objectivity and fairness
  • Develop an interest and enthusiasm for history
  • Learn to value their heritage

History Junior Certificate


The syllabus is divided into three sections. The framework is chronological in presentation, spanning prehistoric times to the late 20th century. It is developmental in nature, moving from the simple to the more complex, from the concrete to the more abstract.
Section I: How we find out about the past

  1. Introduction – the job of the historian.
  2. Our roots in ancient civilisation – a study based on archaeological evidence of life in pre-Christian and early Christian Ireland and in one ancient civilisation
  3. Castle, church and city – a study of medieval society based on buildings, settlements and other material sources
  4. Renaissance – a study based on visual sources and biography of Renaissance art, architecture and learning

Section II: Studies of Change

  1. Changes in European view of the world – Exploration
  2. Religious change – Reformation
  3. Changes in land ownership – Plantation in Ireland
  4. Political change – Revolutionary change
  5. Social change – From farm to factory

Section III: Understanding the Modern Ireland

  1. Political developments in Ireland in the 20th century
  2. Social change in the 20th century
  3. International relations in the 20th century


Assessment is by means of an examination paper at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level.
The following styles of questioning are used at the two levels:
Q. 1 – Pictures (based on picture sources)
Q. 2 – Documents (based on written sources)
Q. 3 – Short answer questions
Q. 4 – People in history (short essays on historical personalities or generic types)
In addition, at Higher Level there are two extra questions testing higher level skills and a broader knowledge of syllabus content.

Current status

As part of the new Junior Cert. cycle, History is one of the syllabuses currently undergoing a curriculum change. This will result in adjustments to the current topics examined at Junior Cert level.


Junior Certificate History Syllabus (Ordinary level and Higher level)
https://curriculumonline.ie/Junior-cycle/Junior-Cycle-Subjects/History (Proposed new Junior Cert curriculum)

History Leaving Certificate


The syllabus framework comprises two interlinking parts as follows:
I) Working with evidence
II) Topics for study

  1. I) Working with evidence:
    (a) Introduction – history and the historian
    (b) The documents-based study
    (c) The research study
  2. II) Topics for study: Students study a topic that has been prescribed for the documents-study and three other topics. Two of the topics studied relate to Irish history and two to the history of Europe and the wider world. The topics are arranged in two distinct fields of study: Early Modern, 1492-1815; Later Modern, 1815-1993. Within each field of study, there are six topics from Irish history and six from the history of Europe and the wider world.


Leaving Certificate History is assessed at two levels – Ordinary level and Higher level. There are components:
A research study report (submitted prior to the examination) 20%
An examination paper 80%
At both levels, the examination paper features a documents-based question (linked to the documents-based study) and three general questions.


Leaving Certificate History Syllabus (Ordinary level and Higher level)
https://www.curriculumonline.ie/Senior-cycle/Senior-Cycle-Subjects/History (Leaving Cert Curriculum)

Career Opportunities

Jobs directly related to the study of History include:

Teacher, Academic librarian, Archivist, Civil Service administrator, Heritage manager, Information officer, Museum/gallery conservator, Politician’s assistant, Records manager, Historian, Archaeologist, Genealogist, Lecturer. 

Jobs where History would be useful include:

Barrister, Broadcast journalist, Magazine journalist, Newspaper journalist, Solicitor.