This study analyses several Irish primary school science textbook sets to evaluate their potential to support Inquiry-based Science Education (IBSE). The study was prompted by the results of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) 2008 survey of Irish primary science which indicated that a 72% of surveyed teachers are using science textbooks within their teaching. The reliance on deductive methodologies, such as the using textbooks, has been attributed to a lack of pedagogical content knowledge. As the Irish primary science curriculum was changed to be more experiential in 2003, it is unlikely that deductive teaching from textbooks aligns with the new aims and objectives of the curriculum. This research analyses three textbook groups through the lens of the 5E model of teaching, a well-known framework for teaching through inquiry. A four-layer framework was developed around the 5E model that would highlight the strengths and weaknesses of textbooks in supporting IBSE. The results indicate that the various textbooks contain different structures, pedagogies and content, which can potentially be used to support the development of IBSE schema however, professional development must be provided as to how best to integrate textbooks into practice.