A Tale Of Two Dundalks

Louth museum webcast to engage Maryland students

The history of Dundalk, County Louth, will be aired in the classrooms of two American schools on Monday next as part of an innovative new online project developed by County Museum Dundalk.

Students of Dundalk High School and Dundalk Middle School in Maryland are participating in the first of six live internet webcasts on various aspects of life and work in Louth’s capital town during the 20th century.

The series of hour-long webcasts will focus primarily on the lives of people working in the local brewing, tobacco manufacturing and shoe manufacturing industries, as well the role and nature of education and entertainment in the Dundalk area. 

The decision to involve students from the US forms part of the project’s key objective of assisting schools with respect to local history studies.  Dundalk in Maryland was established in 1856 by Henry McShane, a native of County Louth who established the McShane Bell Foundry on the banks of the Patapsco River on the outskirts of Baltimore.

According to Museum Curator, Brian Walsh: “We are trying to do something novel in the presentation of history to schools not only locally but internationally as well.  By broadcasting through our website, www.dundalkmuseum.ie, we are looking to develop a new audience, to make the museum and the collection interesting in a different way, and most importantly produce a publicly available archive of recorded material for future reference.”

“The programmes are designed to assist schools with respect to local history studies with the preparation of a specialised worksheet dealing with each theme over the course of the broadcasts.  The worksheets, which will be available to download from the museum’s website, will feature photographs of the activity being discussed along with a unique insight into the dramatic changes in local life over the course of a lifetime”, he added.

Commenting on the transatlantic link-up, Michael P. Joyce, a teacher at Dundalk Middle School stated: “After hearing about the project I knew right away that there was a great opportunity to raise the historical awareness of our students. Learning about the past third person does not always induce thought.  As kids we all loved trips outside of school. More importantly those experiences made for strong memories. This project is a brilliant way to inject first person experience into our day to day instruction. Students love what’s new and what they can interact with. This brings the past alive. It’s the new textbook!”

Pam Cline, Librarian and Technology Liaison at Dundalk High School said students were very excited about the connection with their name sake town in Ireland. 

“It will be interesting to see what we have in common with the Irish Dundalk.  Maybe we will do a history of our Dundalk so that they can know what we are like.  We are so looking forward to working with Brian on this project.  Our students are anxious to create a video with their sister city”, added Ms. Cline.

Programme host and local radio broadcaster Harry Lee explained that the show will feature guests with first hand experience of working in local industries, and will provide an entertaining and informative glance at life in Dundalk during the 20th Century. 

Mr. Lee continued: “I believe that internet radio is the future and that this is a great way of making history interesting and relevant to a new generation. We are hoping to generate an atmosphere of a fireside conversation, making it an enjoyable experience for our guests and, of course, our listeners”.

Running order for live webcasts:                                                                                                                                                                 –         Education, 1.30-2.30pm, Monday 26th April

–         Brewing, Monday 10th May

–         Tobacco and cigarette manufacture, Monday 17th May

–         Shoe manufacture, Monday 24th May

–         Printing, Monday 31st May

–         Entertainment, Monday 14th June                                                                                                                                           Further information on the live history project is available from Brian Walsh at 042 9327056, or on the museum website: www.dundalkmuseum.ie.


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