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DIFP and second-level history

11 October 2018


PDF icon The Emergency, 1939-45: documentary teaching resource PDF icon Documents relating to the Treaty, 1920-22 PDF icon The Treaty negotiations, 1921

Explore how DIFP can be used in the classrom through both our online archive and dedicated educational resources

Documents on Irish Foreign Policy is a public resource that publishes selected documents from the archives of the Department of Foreign Affairs from 1919 onwards. Every two years we publish a hard-copy edition of documents. but we also place the contents of the volumes online. Our online archive currently runs from 1919 up to 1948 and is free to access; we are hoping to make more volumes available online soon, and to make the online archive more user-friendly for teachers and students as a resource for exploring and teaching history at second-level.

The contents of the archive are far more diverse then one might think. At the core of it are diplomatic despatches and reports from a wide range of countries – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the US – that contain accounts of what they heard and saw in their various postings, including the only English language diplomatic reports from Nazi Germany during the Second World War. There are accounts of meetings with key figures such as Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, and the documents in the archives cover topics as diverse as the Irish revolution, the Versailles Peace Conference, the Boundary Commission, Anglo-Irish relations, the unravelling of the Treaty, the Economic War, the rise of fascism and Nazism in the 1930s, the Irish overseas, neutrality and the ‘Emergency’, and much more in the way of political, military and social history. All of the material in the online archive is open access and freely available and downloadable at The website also contains supporting material, such as biographies and glossaries.

The documents in the DIFP archive aren’t just about Ireland; they have a lot to say about the wider world, so could be used to teach international as well as Irish history, and there is plenty of material that could also be used for the Leaving Cert history Research Study Report.

We currently have bespoke resources for two subjects of study for second-level history.

The first relates to the Aglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, and are relevent to the This is relevant to the Treaty case study in 'The pursuit of sovereignty and the impact of partition, 1912-1949'. Our introductory overview of the Treaty negotiations can be downloaded here, while the documents relating to negotiations with the British and the Anglo-Irish Treaty between 1920 and 1922, originally published in the DIFP series, are available online here. A pdf download of these documents can also be downloaded here.

The second subject is Ireland and the Second World War (the 'Emergency'), for which we have created documentary teaching resource for Junior Cert and Transition Year covering the period between 1939 and 1945. This has been developed in collaboration with the RIA's Dictionary of Irish Biography, and consists of a selection of documents drawn from the DIFP archive, arranged thematically and augmented with contextual material (including material from the DIB) and a short guide to how the material in the module can be used for Junior Cert history. Find out more and download the module here.

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