Hedge Schools Beyond the Shrubbery – Episode 1 – Learning in All Weathers


Episode 1 – Learning in All Weathers

On the opening episode we will discuss why Hedge Schools were established, the structures they operated from, and the books and materials used, with Dr Antonia McManus and Dr Thomas Kevin Walsh.

Dr Antonia McManus is author of The Irish Hedge School and its Books, 1695-1831 (FourCourts Press, 2002), Irish Education: The Ministerial Legacy, 1919-1999 (The History Press Ireland, 2014); and a biography of T.J. O’Connell (1882-1969) Labour Party Leader, Trade Unionist and INTO Stalwart, The Best Minister for Education Ireland Never Had (Umiskin Press, 2022).

She is currently researching the multifaceted career of John D. Sheridan (1903-1980), an acclaimed humorous writer, popular Irish Independent columnist, progressive educator who edited the INTO journal, the Irish School Weekly; literary editor and textbook writer for the Educational Company of Ireland Ltd; award winning film script writer and leading lay proponent of Catholic principles; author of The Hungry Sheep: Catholic Doctrine Restated Against Contemporary Attacks (Arlington House, New York, 1974.)

Dr Thomas Walsh is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education in Maynooth University, having previously worked as a primary school teacher, an education researcher and a primary school inspector at the Department of Education and Skills.

His doctoral thesis focused on the development and implementation of successive primary school curricula between 1897 and 1990. His book, Primary Education in Ireland 1897-1990: Curriculum and Context, was published by Peter Lang International Academic Publishers in 2012.

Tom teaches on a range of programmes, including history of education and contemporary education policy developments across all sectors of the education system in Ireland. He is involved in several research projects (e.g., a SCoTENS project on constructions of childhood and a Teaching Council project on team teaching). Tom also supervises the research work of PME, M.Ed, Ed.D and PhD students. He is currently the Chair of the Social Research Ethics Subcommittee and a member of the NCCA Advisory Panel for the redevelopment of the primary school curriculum.

Series devised and produced by Berni Dwan with additional production support from Declan McGlade. Made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.