Unearthing the long history of our island, one object at a time

Objects can put us in touch with the past in a direct and immediate way. But they also help us to a more complex understanding of the past. There is a certain paradox that surrounds them. They seem precise and fixed, literally tangible. When so much about the past – especially the Irish past – is contested, physical things seem to provide secure anchors in history. They ought to make things simpler. And yet, when you actually examine any object, this apparent simplicity quickly falls away. Interesting objects tend to provoke more questions than they can answer.

A history of Ireland in 100 objects is a fully illustrated hardback book which arose from the original series by Fintan O’Toole in The Irish Times. We have created 14 lesson plans for primary school children – browse the education tab to see more. They’re all free to use and have images, video, and audio. We have also 5 lesson plans for post-primary level, two with a connection to the Decade of Centenaries programme being run by the State.

In March 2013  in partnership with the EU Presidency, the Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Adobe, we released an multi-platform app and ebook, allowing readers a rich, interactive platform by which to explore the 100 objects.  Built by Joe Zeff design, the app was released as a free gift for St. Patrick’s Day and had over 35,000 downloads.