Junior Cert (Ordinary Level): Q.2 - Documents

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The last half of your source paper, after the pictures, is taken up with Documents. You will have two documents which could relate to any part of the course that you have studied. They might be old newspaper reports, diary entries, letters, or pieces from books.

Unlike in Higher Level, Document questions in Ordinary Level aren't as much about topics as they are about different types of sources. You will be asked questions about the source, not just about the information it contains.

Answering a Document Question
  • Study the documents carefully 
  • Don't just glance at them. Read them very carefully before looking at the questions. Underline key points. Quote from the document if you want, (as long its relevant) but keep your answers short. A 2-mark question requires just one piece of information. 
  • Timekeeping:
  • The Document Questions are worth 35 marks altogether. They can be an easy source for marks, but you must not spend too much time on them. Other parts of the paper carry much more marks with them. You should spend only about 20 minutes on the Document Question.

 Sample Document Questions

These are lines from a song about an event in Irish history. James Carey had given evidence that led to men being hanged by the British. The British then tried to move him out of the country but he was killed on board ship by Pat O'Donnell.

My name is Pat O'Donnell and I come from Donegal,
I am, you know, a dangerous foe to traitors one and all;
For the shooting of James Carey I've been tried in London town,
And now, upon the gallows high, my life I must lay down.

I sailed aboard the Montrose, in August eighty-three,
And on my voyage to Capetown he was made known to me.
When I heard he was James Carey, we had angry words and blows,
And the villain he strove to take my life on board of the Montrose.

Source: "The First Book of Irish Ballads", Daniel O'Keeffe, Mercier, Cork, 1955.

1.   Pat O'Donnell was from what county? (2)

2.   O'Donnell and Carey were on board what ship? (2)

3.   Where was the ship bound when the killing took place? (2)

4.   How did O'Donnell kill Carey? (2)

5.   Was O'Donnell found guilty or not guilty of the killing? (2)

6.   Why do you think that songs like this were written? (4)

7.   Why would the words of songs like these be of interest to historians? (4)

Tommy Hamilton recalls his career as a footballer and the reason he left Manchester United in 1955 to come back to Ireland.

Every year, all the Irish footballers in England got papers to go and register for conscription into the army, but all you'd do was hand the papers in to the club secretary and you'd get word back that it had been deferred for another year.

Anyway, I went back for my third year at United and we all got the forms as usual and handed them to the secretary as normal. Everyone else was deferred for a year, but I got word that I was to go and register for the British Army. I went to the manager, Matt Busby, and he said "We'll look after that". That was July 1955. It got to October and he came back to me and said, "Look, I've contacted Everton and Arsenal where there are other Irish lads and there's nothing we can do, you'll have to go into the army."

I said, "Well, I'm not going into the army". He said, "I don't know what we're going to do so." In the end, he came back and said the directors had agreed that, "If you go back home to Ireland, whatever club you sign for there, if they agree that if you're ever transferred back to England, United will get 50 per cent of the transfer fee, then you can leave." They were the conditions on which I could leave. I was delighted just to go.

Source: "Gods versus Mortals", Paul Keane, ISP, Kells, 2010.

1.   What did the Irish footballers do each year to avoid conscription into the British army? (2)

2.   What did the Manchester United manager say to Tommy Hamilton when he was called up for
       army service in July 1955? (2)

3.   Who was the Manchester United manager in July 1955? (2)

4.   What, if anything, did the Manchester United manager do to help Hamilton avoid army service
       in 1955? (3)

5.   What was agreed between Manchester United and Hamilton to allow him to return to
      Ireland? (4)

6.   Explain the term primary source. Give one example. (4)