School visits to historic places

Bring your teaching to life and inspire your students at one of the many historic monuments in Northern Ireland. Your pupils can explore historic spaces, discover their heritage and learn about the events and stories that form their local history.

Places classes can visit

State Care Monuments are located throughout Northern Ireland and range from prehistoric stone circles to medieval castles. Examples of the sites include Beaghmore Stone Circles, Carrickfergus Castle, Devenish Monastic Site, Grey Point Fort, Dunluce Castle, Tullaghoge Fort and Grey Abbey. For a full list of monuments, go to:

Book before you visit Dunluce Castle and Carrickfergus Castle. For any of the other sites email scmenquiries@communities-ni.gov.uk or phone 028 9082 3207 to check availability. Schools will receive a permit if the visit is ok to go ahead.

All school visits are free of charge.

At Dunluce Castle, Carrickfergus Castle and Dundrum Castle, experienced tour guides can provide you with a hands on guided tour tailored to your class’s needs.

Teaching and learning resources

To make sure that you and you your students get the most from your visit, there are a range of free resources to support teachers and school groups before, during and after their visits to a selection of State Care Monuments.

Let's explore life in early times (KS2)

This booklet, provides an opportunity for students to travel through time and explore the impact people have had on the Northern Ireland landscape over 9000 years. Pupils can discover how new ideas and inventions have changed how people lived and worked. It also introduces some of the places that can be visited since the arrival of the first people in Ireland, around 7000BC. The booklet references a range of State Care Monuments as examples.

The Anglo-Normans in Ireland (KS2)

This booklet introduces students to the architectural elements of castles.  It also includes specific exercises that support a school trip to Carrickfergus Castle.

Let’s explore Carrickfergus Castle (KS2/KS3)

This booklet provides your pupils with the information needed to learn about the history of Carrickfergus Castle.  It can be used alongside the Let’s explore Carrickfergus Castle activity book below, which is full of curriculum based activities for students to complete during or after their visit.

Let’s explore Carrickfergus Castle – activity book (KS2/KS3)

This booklet can be used alongside the Let’s explore Carrickfergus Castle information booklet. It provides a range of activities linked to the curriculum which can be used as a follow up activity after a visit to the Castle. It encourages good language skills, understanding of historical sources and the concept of change and continuity. A section is included on essay writing.

Grey Abbey - information for teachers (KS2/KS3)

This booklet provides you with the information you need to lead a class visit to Grey Abbey. The information encourages cross curricular approaches to maximise the educational value of a school trip to the abbey.

Inch Abbey - information for teachers 

This booklet provides you with the information you need to lead a class visit to Inch Abbey.  The information allows for cross curricular approaches to maximise the educational value of a school trip to the site.

Our visit to Inch Abbey (KS2/KS3)

This worksheet supports a school trip to Inch Abbey. It encourages pupils to use the on-site information panels to understand and record the history of the monument.

Dundrum Castle - information for teachers (KS3) 

This booklet provides you with the information you need to guide a school trip to Dundrum Castle. It also encourages cross curricular approaches to maximise the educational value of a visit to the site.

Carrickfergus Castle story book (Nursery/KS1) 

This story book is written to engage nursery children with the castle. Key Stage 1 children can also be encouraged to read the book once they have sufficient literacy skills. It is loosely based on facts, but its aim is to introduce the nursery children to the medieval period rather than provide an accurate history of the castle. 

Download: Carrickfergus Castle story book for nursery age

Carrickfergus Castle – Can you spot? (KS2) 

A simple exercise in observation and counting that can be used on its own in the classroom.

Carrickfergus Castle: I can colour the castle (KS1) 

This simple Key Stage 1 colouring and writing book introduces children to castles, including the myths and legends associated with them. The content combines historical elements with fantasy and is loosely based on John de Courcy and his wife Affrecca.

Download: I can colour the castle colouring and writing book 

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