1965-1967 – Too Little, Too Late

Part A

Download 1968 History Resource PDF

3. Museum-related activities

Pre-visit activities

For this section, students should watch the two short films below.

  • Film 1 “Introduction”
  • Film 2 “Spirit of the Times”


After these have been shown, the teacher should start a discussion to ascertain what students have learned from each film. Suggestions for themes to explore include:

  • the role of the media (television, radio and newspapers)
  • the role of university students in the Northern Ireland after 1965
  • the impact of music
  • the effects of wider cultural changes, such as fashion trends.

Students should then be split into groups and asked to work more closely on the following questions:

  1. How important was the role of the media, in changing opinions in Northern Ireland?
  2. How were new political movements and social trends, outside Northern Ireland, affecting events within the region?
  3. How great was the role of young people in challenging long-held opinions in Northern Ireland?
  4. To what extent had new ideas reduced traditional divisions in Northern Ireland by the end of 1967?

Some of the points should be used for class-based discussions, in order to prepare students for visits to the Museum.


Visit activities

The first gallery which students should visit is entitled Living on a Divided Island, 1923-1968. Studentscan look for the following items, which are displayed there, and try to answer related questions. (PS)Students should keep written and visual records of their responses during visits. (WO, UICT)

Picture A: Photo of Terence O’Neill with Sean Lemass (taken on 14 January 1965)

  • Why was the meeting between the then Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and the thenTaoiseach of the Republic of Ireland significant?
  • Who led public opposition to the meeting?
  • What was O’Neill trying to achieve, by holding the meeting?


Picture B: Unionist Party poster from the Stormont general-election campaign (poll held on 25 November 1965)

  • What were Unionist voters promised?
  • In what ways were such promises connectedwith O’Neill’s economic objectives?
  • Why had a few of O’Neill’s economicdecisions made some nationalists angry?


Picture C: Northern Ireland Labour Party (NILP) poster from the same election campaign

  • What was the central message of this poster?
  • Why was the NILP important in 1965?
  • At that time, what were the main aims of the NILP and what sort of people supported it?

3-Northern Ireland_Labour_Party_poster

Picture D: A Patrick Pearse medal issued in 1966

  • Why was Pearse an important figure to some northern nationalists?
  • What was the inscription on the reverse side of the medal and why did that matter?
  • Which two anniversaries were marked in 1966 (one by unionists and the other bynationalists)?
  • In the opinion of some historians, what longer-term effects did the commemorationshave?

4-Patrick_Pearse medal_issued_in_1966

Post-visit activities

Students have now studied the main political events in Northern Ireland between 1965 and 1967. In order to consolidate their knowledge and develop their understanding of the period, they can undertake some of the following exercises, in the classroom, after visiting the Museum.

Exercise A – Timeline: Students to create and draw up a personal timeline of the key dates/events between 1965 and 1967 (SM)

Exercise B – Leaflet: Students to draw up and produce their own leaflet (must include images and text) for the Ministry of Development to attract businesses and industry to invest in N. Ireland in 1965 (UICT, SM)

Exercise C – Group research task: Students to work in class groups to draw up information on the following groups and issues in 1965: NI Labour party. Nationalist party, Ulster Unionist party, housing, jobs and gerrymandering (UICT, WO, COMM)

Exercise D – Individual research task: Students to work on their own to research and use a small number of contemporary sources to explain how and why O’Neill attempted to improve community relations between 1965 and 1967 (SM, WO, COMM)

Exercise E – Hot-seat task: The teacher could prepare students for a hot-seating task on the political problems facing O’Neill and his Unionist Government by December 1967. What were the different options for O’Neill to tackle the growing demands for political and social reform by 1969, the strengths and weaknesses of each option should be explored. Teachers could provide role-play characters such as; a Nationalist leader, a Unionist supporter of O’Neill, a Unionist opposed to O’Neill, a Republican leader, a member of the British Government and a member of the Dublin Government (PS, WO COMM)

Exercise F – Government gains: Students to draw up two lists for the Dublin Government and the Stormont Government. In each list, they will explain what they gained from attempts to improve relations between both Irish states between 1965 and 1965 (PS)