“Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick’s death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture: Perhaps the most well known legend is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.” – History.com
My children and I have been taking a break from a more formal curriculum this year and have instead been using unit studies to explore whatever topic we are interested in. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up March 17th, we decided to take a couple of weeks and explore the beautiful country of Ireland and learn more about its people, culture, and heritage. My name, Kelly, is also Irish and means “warrior woman” or something awesome like that. We used books, videos, and maps to make this far-away country come alive for us. Now my children have started talking about things to do “when we visit Ireland.”
I guess Mama has some planning to do.
We started out using Amanda Bennet’s Expedition Ireland as our spine. This provided excellent suggestions for books on Ireland and its people and traditions, as well as recommended videos (most on YouTube) to watch and several family fun activities. The lapbook component gave us some hands-on time with the added bonus of having a completed project at the end that the children can look at to remember our time spent learning about it. The unit study is suggested to be done in a week, but we took it slow and made it a two-week study.
Photo credit: mamarussell
Below you will find a helpful listing of links, videos, and book recommendations to help you in your own study of Ireland. *Please note that I do not have the time to look at each link, video, or book to ensure complete family-friendliness.*
Here are a few books I recommend if you just want to catch up on Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day. I found most of these just by browsing on my local library’s shelves. There were a plethora of resources that I didn’t check out because this was only a short study, and I did not want to overload my children.
St. Patrick’s Day Crafts – this is a GREAT list of 40 crafts to do with your kids
St. Patrick’s Day Card – I don’t know if I have the patience to try something like this, but it sure is purty!
Make a Shamrock T-Shirt – The shamrock pattern is also good for other crafts
Irish Culture, Food and Heritage
Cooking Traditional Irish Foods – This site also has lots of great historical information on Ireland
St. Patrick’s Day Specific Info
The “Official” St. Patrick’s Day Website – Look here to find parades and other Irish events
St. Patrick’s Day “Unofficial” Website – This site lists St. Patrick’s Day “Fun Runs”
St. Patrick’s Day Recipes – Their Colcannon looks so yummy!
Discover Ireland – Want to visit Ireland? This is a good place to start!
Fifty Tips for Planning an Affordable Trip to Ireland – this information is a little old (2004) but still useful!
Irish Step Dancing (Video)
Do you and your family plan on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in a special way? Tell us about it in the comments!