Alexandra Presbyterian Church – 14 November


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Alexandra Remembers. 8th and 9th November. All Welcome.

Final Poster Alex Remembers

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Great European War Memorial at Woodvale Park

10604060_1545940582307058_330038903807976810_oAn imaginative memorial to commemorate the “lost generation” of the Great War will be erected in a north Belfast park later this month.

The Woodvale stone breaks with established tradition in that the loss of life suffered by the German army will also be recognised on the polished granite monument.

Based on the six-sided pillars of the Giant’s Causeway, five of the panels feature tributes to the British Expeditionary Force, the French army and the Belgian army as well as the Kaiser’s troops.

Each panel bears the inscription “Lost Generation” in the respective language of the various armies.

The two other panels contain an image of The Angel of Mons and the City of Belfast coat of arms.

The memorial, commissioned by the Army Benevolent Fund – The Soldiers’ Charity (ABF) – and constructed by Lurgan company Mid Ulster Stone and Granite, will be mounted on a base which allows for the placing of wreaths at each of the panels.

City of Belfast ABF chairman and local historian Bobby Foster said it was fitting that the German losses should be acknowledged on the stone.

“When we studied the First World War, particularly the Irish involvement in and around Mons, we decided then that we could be sure every German soldier didn’t get up one morning and decide to invade Belgium – so when we planned the European war memorial we decided that the Germans should be included,” he said.

Mr Foster added: “They were all combatants and they were all ordinary soldiers so they lost a generation too. It’s about commemorating the lost generation right across Europe.”

The memorial is due to be unveiled on Friday, October 17 at midday by the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast.

A piper from the Royal Irish Regiment and Dame Patricia Windsor Hawkins – the guardian of St George’s Church at Ypres in Belgium – will also be taking part in the unveiling service.

Original Article by Mark Rainey at Belfast Newsletter

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More Than A Flag at #BelFest

East Belfast answered the call to arms in World War One. Dan Gordon and Garth McConaghie work with a group of young East Belfast Bandsmen to find out why and create a special performance with songs, poetry, music and drama to commemorate this vital part of the city’s heritage.

Running from Thurs 23 – Sat 25 Oct at Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

Click to book here.

More than a flag

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North of Ireland Family History Society Open Day

We are attending the North of Ireland Family History Society’s Open Day this Saturday. Please come along to support it if you can.

C4 Open day 2014 A4 2 - Final


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WW1 Commemoration Service at St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast

Image 2 BannerCastleton Lanterns was pleased to receive invitations to attend the Commemoration Service at St Anne’s Cathedral on Monday evening, 4th August 2014, the one hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.  Six of us from Alexandra joined Karen at the service which was very well attended. There were several dignitaries there including the Deputy Mayor of Belfast, TDs, the First Minister, Secretary of State and HRH Duke of York.

Image 3 editThe Dean of Belfast, the Very Reverend John Mann called us to remember the men from all parts of this island who lost their lives whilst being conscious that the striving for peace is still a pressing necessity in our day. Heather Humphreys TD read one of the bible readings, as did the Duke of York.

A poem written by Mrs Susan Adams of Lisburn after her son was killed on 1st July 1916, was read by Jeffrey Donaldson.

Pte. Ralph Adams (17121) …Excerpts….Image 6 crosses

…In a far distant land though his body now rests,
Far from his home and the ones he loved best,
Still deep in our hearts his memory we’ll keep,
Sweet is the place where he now lies asleep…..

…They laid him to rest in the land of a stranger,
Where the guns and the cannon disturb not his sleep,
While his fond loving mother away in old Ireland,
Mourns for her son as her vigil she keeps…..

The hymns included old favourites such as ‘O God, Our Help in Ages Past’, ‘Be Thou my Vision’ and ‘All People That on Earth do Dwell’.  During the service, cadets of the Army, Navy & Air Force and two school children lit 5 candles to represent the 5 years of the First World War.  The Duke of York then lit a single candle beside a book containing the names of the Irish War Dead of World War 1.  Music from the Choir included ‘Dido’s Lament’ by Purcell and Faure’s ‘In Paradisum’.

The sermon itself, delivered by the Most Reverend Dr Richard Clarke, Primate of All Ireland, was thought-provoking, as he spoke of the ‘fusion of emotions over the Great War – sadness at the loss of so much life; pride in the unselfish actions of so many people; and horror at the inhumanity which always accompanies war’.  He also said another emotion should be a determination that if the Great War was not a war to end all wars, people should strive to bring peace and light into the world.

QuoteThe Archbishop also talked of modern day conflicts. ‘We cannot spiritually separate the violence, the carnage, and the suffering of the innocent that is under our gaze today – whether in Gaza, in Israel, in Syria, in Ukraine or in Iraq – from our memorialising of the beginnings of the First World War’ he said. ‘War must always represent the abject failure of the human spirit and of humanity itself. It can never be other and we should never pretend it is other.’

After the singing of ‘St Patrick’s Breastplate’ we all stood for an act of remembrance led by Mervyn Elder, President of the Royal British Legion. Before the service concluded with Bach’s ‘Fugue in E flat (St Anne)’ reflections were brought to us by representatives of the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish communities. Image 5 edit

It’s very difficult to visualise the numbers of men and women who died in the First World War, even the numbers of those from this island who died. We remembered them just the same. We remembered those who came home to a different world, to a world where women had a greater role, where the class system was not as defined, where there was little work and where the political situation had changed and some were ostracised in their own areas. We remembered those who came home and had to live with their memories of comradeship and horror and carnage.

We remembered especially the Castleton Lanterns men who died, those whose faces we know from the photos, whose wives and children we have photographs of, whose regiments and ships we have identified, whose stories we can now tell. We remembered them all at that service and at the Candlelight Vigil at the City Hall later that evening and we will always remember them.

Words: Faye Rice

Photos: Heather McCracken

Image 1 edit

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Lights out for a shared moment of reflection

Lisburn Garrison churchAt the headquarters of 38 (Irish) Brigade in Lisburn, final preparations have been made at the Garrison Church where members of the Armed Forces and their families will gather at 10pm for a service during which the lights will go out one by one until only a candle will remain to light the stained glass window.

Similar services are being held at Palace Barracks in Holywood and at Aldergrove.

The Armed Forces in NI are supporting civic commemorative events being held across Ireland to commemorate the service and sacrifices made by men and women across the services.

One such event is being held in St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, led by Dean of Belfast John Mann.

A candlelit vigil and act of remembrance will be held later tonight at the Cenotaph at Belfast City Hall.

Organiser Jeffrey Donaldson said: “We face a decade of significant centenaries in Northern Ireland and on the island of Ireland and I feel it is important that these should not become divisive.

“The global events that took place during 1914-1918 involved people from across the island and the political divide and had a profound effect on the history of Ireland in the 20th century.

“We owe it to those who sacrificed their lives with such valour to ensure that the centenary is used to promote better understanding between our various traditions on this island.

“The centennial commemorations of the war provide an opportunity to enhance our shared understanding of this history and to promote reconciliation.”

A member of the Royal Family and First Minister Peter Robinson will be present at the commemorative service along with a senior member of the Irish government and other community leaders from across Ireland.

Representatives of the Royal British Legion and regimental associations of the army will also attend.

The candlelit vigil will coincide with a similar event at Westminster Abbey and in other regional capitals across the UK.

It will be open to the public and those planning to attend are encouraged to bring a candle. The ceremony will include a short act of remembrance and wreath laying, with “lights out” in City Hall for a period during the vigil.

For other Lights Out events visit:

Lights Out

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Free event: Historic Screening at Belfast City Hall 8th August

QFT On Film

QFT On Film

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York Street Men Remembered

Alexandra Presbyterian Church is made up of two church communities, that of Castleton and York Street. York Street was destroyed during the Belfast Blitz and the congregations merged.  While the Castleton Lanterns slides feature men who were part of the Castleton congregation of 1914, the York Street men are just as important to Alexandra’s story.

As such here are a few of the York Street men:

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Mapping Limerick’s Casualties during World War One

Guest post: Liam Hogan – Limerick City Library
Website Address:

As part of Limerick City Library’s strategy to improve access to local history resources through digitisation, I launched a Twitter account which tracked life in Limerick 100 years ago (@Limerick1914). As WW1 approached I asked the question, how will I communicate the scale of Limerick’s loss during World War One? This was one of the most traumatic events in Limerick’s history since the Great Famine. Over 1,000 violent deaths, the vast majority occurring out of sight of relatives and friends. I have sought to visually represent the scale of the death toll through a series of interactive maps. I predict the extent of the death toll will shock many people in Limerick. This part of our history has been submerged for so long, that many families may not even be aware that their relatives died during this conflict. heat_map

When I told my father I was working on this project, he suddenly revealed, for the first time, that one of my great-granduncles had died during the war. He did not have any details apart from his name. Michael Maher. After some research I discovered that Michael was from a working class family and toiled as a quarry man near Portroe, Co. Tipperary, was unmarried at 28 and semi-literate. He enlisted with the 1st Battalion Connaught Rangers in Killaloe, Co. Clare. Private Michael Maher died on the 11th July 1917 and is commemorated at the Basra Memorial in Iraq. In contrast to Michael’s absence from family memory, and representative of the arc of Irish history, my other granduncle, Frank McGrath takes centre stage. A Gaelic revivalist, from a middle class background, a member of the IRB and a decorated hurler and Irish dancer, Frank was Commandant of North Tipperary Brigade of the IRA during the War of Independence.

france_belgiumCommemoration: This map shows the location where each Limerick casualty is commemorated. Click on the placemark to identify the casualty. Each placemark is colour coded by age. I have generated individual GPS coordinates for every casualty. These coordinates are not the exact location of their plaque but are instead close to the commemoration site, giving each its own space.

info_windowExtra Features: We have also included a list and scans of the WW1 Obituaries that appeared in the Limerick Chronicle, links to the service records of the hundreds of Limerick men who enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), links to various WW1 articles, heat maps, as well as presenting the source data (including links to the CWGC records and Wills of each casualty where available) that we used to create the various maps, and much more.

Liam Hogan B.Tech ¦ MA ¦ GradDipLIS

Limerick City Library

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