School Long Ago and Faraway.

Micklehurst Primary theirhistory via Compfight

Students interviewed their grown ups, their parents and grandparents about what school was like when they were young.

Some parents went to day school and some went to boarding school and there were accounts from schools at home and abroad.

The earliest account was from 1938.
Many children walked and when it rained they ran.
Some drank a little bottle of milk at break time.

The boys wore shorts, a jacket and cap.
The girls wore a smock or pinafore over their clothes to protect them.
When it was cold children would were their coats in school”.

This is an account from 1946:
There were 55-60 boys in a class
and the classroom was heated by a fire.
The children all sat in rows of desks all facing teacher.
In the summer term, many children came to school barefoot”.

“In Poland there are no uniforms, by law since 1976.
When I went to school, it started at 8 ended at 2.30.
In the yard girls played with elastics.
The boys plays soccer, chess, join the dots.
There was 3-4 hours homework every day!”

Some people remembered high windows.
They let in plenty light, but the children couldn’t look out and be distracted.

“There was wooden desk with a top that lifted up where we kept our books copies and pencils.
We enjoyed playing with friends, chasing, football, hurling, skipping and hopscotch.
Great times, loads of fun no worries”

When we are eager to grow up and leave school, we hear people say that they are your happiest days and we aren’t sure if we believe them but later you realize they were right and you school friends are friends for life”

Thanks to all the ‘older people’, who agreed to be interviewed about school
in other countries and in olden days!

We can see that some things are the same and some things are very different.

A Short History of Greystones



Creative Commons License Photo Credit: long may she rain ☂ via Compfight

History of Greystones

Long ago no one lived in Greystones.

It was too wild and wind swept.

Then King Heremon built a rath

Sheep of Kings
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: mollydot via Compfight

in a more sheltered spot to the north of Greystones.

This was at Rathdown.

This was 500 BC.

 Pestle and mortar - Choquequirao - PeruCreative Commons License Mark Rowland via Compfight

Early farmers lived at Rathdown too

By the Middle Ages there were 500 people living at Rathdown.

DSC_2425 Joachim S. Müller via Compfight

The Vikings came by boat and by land from Dublin.

Viking swords
Photo Credit: Arild Nybø via Compfight

Greystones is in County Wicklow.

Wicklow means ‘Viking Meadow’.

85 Haithabu Herbstmesse WMH 02-11-2014 Kai-Erik via Compfight.

Vikings were fierce warriors from the North of Europe.

Later the Normans lived at the castle.

They were skilled soldiers from the North of France.

William's silhouette
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Matthijs via Compfight


In 1301, the wild, Wicklow tribes,

the O’Tooles and the O’Byrnes burnt down the castle.

They came on foot and horseback.

Greystones (Na Clocha Liatha in Irish) is a coastal town in County WicklowCreative Commons License William Murphy via Compfight

In 1800 no one was living at Greystones.  

Described as a ‘wild headland’,

English speaking sailors

sailing on the Irish Sea

used call the area ‘the grey stones’

because of the grey rocks.

In 1825, there were 7 fishing families living there.

Noose Mike Dean via Compfight

The arrival of the railway changed all that.

Now we are a town in the ‘commuter belt’.

People live in Greystones

and commute by train to Dublin city to work.

Lots of tourists come and visit us on the train.

It is a good place to visit and a GREAT place to live.


204 of 365 - …upon the mountains like a flame

Fearghal via Compfight




Local History: Three castles from Greystones long ago.

Mrs. Todd’s Class ‘The Roadrunners’

are from North Carolina in the USA.

They have a blog called

‘Going Global as Rocky River’. 


Click here to see their learning about castles.


They said: 

‘We know there are special castles out there

so let us hear from you…’


So here is what we know about the castles in our local area:


There used be three castles in Greystones,

where we live, that we are sure of.


Now two are in ruins and there some evidence

that the third castle once existed.


Let us tell you about our castles.

1. The first one is Rathdown Castle


The very first visitors to Greystones,

came during the Stone Age.

They didn’t stay where our town is today,

but instead they stayed at a place now called Rathdown,

just to the north.

North Circle stone

 Jim Champion via Compfight

We think these early settlers

chose to live north of Greystones because

– it was more sheltered.

– There were the advantages of living

beside the sea and

– having a fresh water spring nearby.

– Woodland birds and animals

could have been a source of food.

DSCF2126 Urban_Mongoose via Compfight

Unlike ourselves, these early residents

couldn’t afford to be too choosy.


In the Bronze age King Heremon came

and built a fortification

in this sheltered spot in 1699BC.

DSC_2425 Joachim S. Müller via Compfight

Rath means fort in Irish.

This is where the area of Rathdown gets its name.


Many hundreds of years later The Normans built

a proper castle at Rathdown.

TRIM CASTLE - COUNTY MEATH, IRELANDCreative Commons License William Murphy via Compfight

This isn’t THE castle but this is what

it probably looked like as it was a Norman castle.


The wild Wicklow tribes, the O’Byrnes and O’Tooles

burnt down the castle in 1301.

2013 Thanksgiving Day Bonfire in Hull Jeff Cutler via Compfight

However it was rebuilt again from 1308

by other Norman families.


In 1534, a castle,

20 houses,

a watermill

and a creek were recorded at Rathdown.


In the 19th century a crazy landowner

started dismantling the castle

to make walls and sheds on his farm.

Textures, Orkney May 2010 Cole Henley via Compfight

His name was Colonel Tarrant

and we feel he has a lot to answer for,

as he destroyed our heritage.


Finally the last stones of the castle were used

to make a railway bridge in the 1850s.

An uneven skylineCreative Commons License Broo_am (Andy B) via Compfight

Aerial photographs of the fields

where the castle once stood show

outlines of ancient fields, houses, paths and roads.


2. Kindlestown Castle:

About fifty years before Rathdown Castle was built,

Kindlestown Castle was built

sometime around 1225.


In 1377 the wild O’Byrnes captured the castle.

It was taken back and in 1402

the O’Byrnes tried to capture the castle again

but were defeated.


3. Killincarrig Castle

Killincarrig Castle was a manor house

built slightly later again, about 1620.

This manor seemed a popular place

for both military and rebels to stay over the centuries.


During the Eleven Years War (1641-1653)

the castle became a stronghold

by the Catholic Confederates.


MacDara Conroy via Compfight

After that in 1649, Oliver Cromwell

an English leader. 

He was considered to be a hero in England,

but a villain in Ireland, responsible for 

great loss of life in Ireland.

Kento Friesian Stallion Friese. via Compfight

He spent a night in Killincarrig Castle.

He posted some troops there

while he went south in search of his horse

which had been stolen by the Irish rebels.

The Battle - Battle of Wisby 1361 Lars Lundqvist via Compfight 

Later in history, during the 1798 rebellion,

the Irish rebels hid there after to avoid getting caught!

Some of us have visited this ruin.

It is in a lady’s back garden and is a protected structure.

rust means peace brka via Compfight 

Evidence of Killincarrig’s past has been found

such as old muskets, pistol balls, gunpowder measures

and other such equipment which were found in

and around the castle.

A019-00608 Andrew_Writer via Compfight

We think we are lucky to live in a place

that has such a rich history.

However we are glad that all the war

and fighting are over.

Resources Online: Learning about Tutankhamun (2nd – 6th class approximately)

Replica of King Tutankhamun's Mummy Case at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Mary Harrsch via Compfight

Third Class are learning about Tutankhamun in school.

He was nicknamed the ‘Boy King’.

He became Pharoah of Egypt when he was eight or nine.

We found these websites helpful when we were learning about him.

These pages from Woodlands – Junior School, Kent 

are detailed and interesting. There are lots of pictures.

We enjoyed writing our names in hieroglyphics here.


You can see a virtual tour of Tutankhamun’s tomb

on either of these sites: 

National Geographic and King Tut

The first one is photographic and the second is an animations.

Which one do you prefer?


Finally there is a  Pyramid Challenge from BBC Schools 

for more senior students.

‘Christmas Customs in Ireland Long Ago – A Grandmother’s Memories of Christmas Long Ago – Part Two

Photo Credit: seyed mostafa zamani via Compfight

Christmas Customs in Ireland long ago

‘Christmas in Ireland was very much a family festival

when sons and daughters who were working away from home

returned home for Christmas.


Many families looked forward to a letter or parcel

from family members who had gone to America.

This was sure to contain not only good wishes

but also a present of money.


Shopkeepers gave a Christmas box to thank families

for shopping with them. This was often a box of biscuits or a bottle of port.


A candle was lit and placed in the window on Christmas Eve.

The eldest member of the family helped the youngest to do this.

This was done to show that Joseph and Mary,

who found no room at the inn in Bethlehem,

were welcome in the house.


It was believed that at midnight on Christmas Eve,

cows and donkeys knelt to honour the Baby Jesus

and that at that moment, they could talk.

The animals were given an extra feed on Christmas Eve.


Christmas Day was spent at home.

It was very much a family festival

and people didn’t visit unless specially invited to do so.


On Stephen’s Day the branch of a tree was decorated

and the ‘wren boys’ went from house to house

singing in the neighbourhood in return for treats.


These are my memories of Christmas

in Ireland in the 1940s and 50s.

In ways it seems so long ago

but in other ways it only seems like yesterday..’

‘An Orange in My Stocking’ – A Grandmother’s Memories of Christmas Long Ago – Part One

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: postbear eater of worlds via Compfight

An Orange in Your Stocking

It was just after the Second World War

in the early forties when Robyn’s granny

was about seven or eight. She said:

“Fruit that grew in hot countries

like bananas and oranges was scarce.

These could only be got if a cargo ship

made it through from Lisbon in Portugal.

These ships had to come through the Bay of Biscay

and many vessels were lost making the trip.

So it was a big treat when someone got…

an orange in their stocking.


This is not to say Christmas was not the most magical of times.

For weeks even months preparations were being made.

The Mammies were arranging with the butcher,

the baker and other shop keepers to keep stuff for them.

There were no supermarkets then

and very little money so people would go to these shops,

pick out what they wanted and pay a little for them every week,

so when Christmas week arrived everything was paid for.

The children had jobs to do too.

They would go to the woods

and gather holly and ivy to decorate the house.

We also collected for the neighbours

who had nobody to do it for them.

If they gave you a penny, it would be riches indeed,

but if they didn’t, it didn’t matter

as we had such fun gathering it.

To us they were wonderful times

and even if everything changes,

the message of Christmas remains the same.

Christ was born to us in a stable

bringing joy to the world and goodwill to man’.

Christmas Memories from Parents and Grandparents

End of season - dark crystals
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Alexey Kljatov via Compfight

Christmas past and present.

Some students interviewed parents and grandparents

about Christmas when they were young. They remembered. 


‘Trying to be good.

Asking for a surprise.

Letters to Santa being sent up the chimney (not advised nowadays)

or by post to the North Pole.

Shouting up the chimney to Santa.

Counting the days on the Advent calendar’.


They also remembered 

Making a wish when stirring the Christmas cake mixture.

Putting a few pennies in the plum pudding mix.

The moving crib.

Making paper chains.

Midnight mass.

It was great going out so late!

Going to Mass in new clothes.

Leaving Santa something to eat and drink.

Spiced beef.


Being excited and finding it hard to get to sleep.

Trying to stay awake to see Santa!

The wind whistling in the chimney made me afraid

in case I would be awake and Santa wouldn’t leave presents.

The excitement of waking up early to see what Santa had brought.

Big thick colouring books and markers

and spending the day happily colouring in.


A family time.

Seeing all the family together in one place.

A special dinner with turkey, roast potatoes, brussels sprouts and gravy.

Christmas pudding for dessert.

Selection boxes. We didn’t get sweets every day back then.

We had no TV!


They said:

Christmas simpler then. It’s very commercialised now.

I wish I was a little girl again!

It’s better now because I have children!”


Thank you to the parents and grandparents

who shared their memories with us.

More Project Work on Thomas Edison

Project on Thomas Edison 008

Thomas Edison is most famous for inventing 

the electric light.

We learned that Thomas Edison

was born in 1847 in Ohio, USA.

We thought that it was interesting

that he didn’t do very well in school.

His mother taught him at home.

He set up a laboratory there.

He was inquisitive

and liked to find out how things work.

Project on Thomas Edison 007


This is Isabella’s project.  

You can see more project work here.

Project on Thomas Edison

This week for homework,

we did a project on the inventor Thomas Edison.

This is Tom’s project.

He presented it in a scrapbook

with plenty of illustrations

As you can see his presentation was excellent:

You can see another project on Thomas Edison here.

Project Work: Famous People with links to Greystones

Projects about people, in history.

We are doing projects about people with links to Greystones.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: LEOL30 via Compfight

Our first project was about Isambard Kingdom Brunel

who was born in 1806.

He was an engineer who designed steamships, bridges and tunnels.

He engineered the railway line between Bray and Greystones.

This was a challenging job

as tunneling through rock was needed.

The arrival of the railway in Greystones

has made our town what it is today.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Nagesh Kamath via Compfight 


Next we are going to learn about Elizabeth Whitshed.

On Friday we learned about her husband Colonel Frederick Burnaby.


Lots of places in our local area are called after Colonel Burnaby.


Colonel Frederick Burnaby was a Victorian celebrity:

a soldier, adventurer, and writer.

He and his new wife Elizabeth Whitshed travelled

to North Africa on honeymoon,

but due to delicate health,

Elizabeth returned to Greystones.

She then moved to Switzerland for health reasons.

Colonel Burnaby was killed in action

(near Khartoum in Sudan) in 1885.

We live in Viking Meadow!

The children of 2nd Class, Room 6 were very interested

to hear stories about the history of Greystones.


Matthew lives in Rathdown.

He was amazed to hear that

people have been living in Rathdown

since the Stone Age.


Twenty years ago, a cliff near Rathdown

fell into the sea.

Among the rocks and earth,

people found Stone Age axe heads.


The children in 2nd Class, Room 6

were also fascinated to hear

that Vikings were in the area.

One of our favourite things to do,

when we have visitors from older classes

or students from Transition Year,

on work experience, visiting our classroom

is to challenge them to a game of Viking Quest.

Click on the link below to play!

BBC’s ‘Viking Quest’

We don’t always win this game …

but we usually do!


This is what we learned in class:


We know Vikings visited our local area because


1. Some of the local placenames

came from the Vikings.

‘Gata’ is the Viking word for road.

Windgates is the road

between Bray and Greystones.

Wicklow comes from

the Viking words ‘Vyking Alo’

which means Viking Meadow.


2. Viking coins were found

in the local area.


3. The monks wrote a book called

‘The Annals of the Four Masters’.

In it they said that there had been

a big battle nearby at Delgany in 1021 AD.

The King of Leinster beat

the Viking King, Sitric.


We think it is exciting that Greystones

has had such an interesting history

from the time of the Stone Age

and that Vikings visited here too.


Later we heard that a castle

was built at Rathdown.

We look forward

to learning more.



Project Work in History.


Maks’s illustrations really brought his project to life.

Projects about people in history.

Now we are doing projects about people.

Our first project was about Isambard Kingdom Brunel who was born in 1806.

He was an engineer who designed steamships, bridges and tunnels.

He engineered the railway line between Bray and Greystones.

Next we are going to learn about Elizabeth Whitshed

and her husband Colonel Frederick Burnaby.

Lots of places in our local area are called after Colonel Burnaby.

Colonel Frederick Burnaby was a Victorian celebrity: a soldier, adventurer, and writer.

He and his new wife Elizabeth Whitshed travelled to North Africa on honeymoon,

but due to delicate health, Elizabeth returned to Greystones.

She moved to Switzerland for health reasons.

Colonel Burnaby was killed in action (near Khartoum in Sudan) in 1885.

Elizabeth went on to become a mountain climber and alpine expert. S

he married twice more and lived to the ripe old age of 73.

Other projects are planned on
Inventors: Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein.

Did you know that both of them found school difficult?


Authors: JK Rowlings and Roald Dahl.