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Young historians delve into parishes’ past for new book

Young historians delve into parishes’ past for new book
Children from the schools who contributed to the newly published ‘Living Faith, Living History’ book in Christ Church Cathedral for the launch.

A wonderful new book highlighting the history of Church of Ireland parishes through the eyes of school children in Dublin & Glendalough was launched on Friday (April 1). ‘Living Faith, Living History’ features the work of young historians and researchers and is the fruit of an exhibition they contributed to in Christ Church Cathedral last year.

The book was written by children in ten Church of Ireland schools around the United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough. They were expertly directed by their teachers, supported by their principals and other staff in the schools, and assisted by the clergy and laity of their local parish. Children in classes ranging from 3rd to 6th engaged in the project to find out more about the history and current life of their local parish. It was edited by the Revd Prof Anne Lodge and Archbishop Michael Jackson and launched by historian Dr Ida Milne in Christ Church Cathedral.

The schools and parishes taking part were: Athy Model School / Athy Union of Parishes, Castleknock National School / St Brigid’s Church Castleknock, Drumcondra National School / St John the Baptist Church Drumcondra, Holmpatrick National School Skerries / Holmpatrick Church Skerries. Kill O’ the Grange National School / Kill O’the Grange parish, Kilternan National School / Kilternan parish, St George’s National School Balbriggan / St. George’s Church Balbriggan, St Matthew’s National School Irishtown / St Matthew’s Church Irishtown, Springdale National School Raheny / All Saints Church Raheny, and Whitechurch National School / Whitechurch parish.

Launching the book, which is filled with drawings, pictures and photographs, Dr Ida Milne commended the children on their work. “For some of you this is the first time for you appearing in print. But it is the first of many as you are all historians, journalists and writers,” she said.

She added that the book contained important oral histories, details on church memorials, histories of church bells and buildings, explorations of parish graveyards and crypts, and discussions on organs and organists. “All this information would be of great use to historians in the future,” she commented.  

Prof Anne Lodge thanked the authors of the book and the teachers who guided them. “In spite of lockdowns all of the 10 schools involved managed to get their projects done,” she said. “We are so proud of you all and what you have done in this book. It looks great and the content is fabulous.” She thanked the Church of Ireland Centre at DCU, AllChurches Trust and the Churches Education Society for funding the project and clergy and staff who provided support. She reserved particular mention for Dorothy Hyland in Skerries who provided many photographs.

Archbishop Michael Jackson said it was a delight to see the cathedral so full to celebrate the children’s work and the unique connection between schools and their parish churches. “This book will inspire pupils and teachers to dig deep and dig local because your locality is yours to explore and now, through publishing this book, you have made the local global,” he stated.

A number of awards were presented at the event – Castleknock NS: interviews with parishioners; Drumcondra NS: most creative use of graveyard; St Matthew’s Irishtown: best advice to grave robbers; Kill O’ the Grange NS: best stained glass windows; Kilternan NS: best local history discovery; Springdale NS: best title; Holmpatrick NS: completing project from home during lockdown; Dorothy Hyland: special photography contribution; Whitechurch NS: historical content and discovery of new history (an incident between their bus and a wall on the way home from the exhibition in Christ Church Cathedral uncovered a skeleton).

Dean Dermot Dunne said that it was a testament to the quality of the exhibition in the cathedral that it had led to the production of a book. The Revd Alan Breen who was acting as MC said Kill O’ the Grange had had great fun with the project. “We did not know when we did it that it was going to become historical fact. But now we can say it is historical fact because it’s in a book,” he noted.

The project was a shared initiative between the Church of Ireland Centre in DCU, the United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough and Christ Church Cathedral Dublin. The exhibition and publication were supported by grants from All Churches Trust, the Advisory Council of the Church of Ireland Centre, DCU and the Church Education Society. The book of the children’s projects is published by Cadolux.

You can read Living Faith, Living History online here:



The Revd Prof Anne Lodge, Archbishop Michael Jackson and Dr Ida Milne at the launch of 'Living Faith, Living History' in Christ Church Cathedral.
The Revd Prof Anne Lodge, Archbishop Michael Jackson and Dr Ida Milne at the launch of 'Living Faith, Living History' in Christ Church Cathedral.

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