We are attending the North of Ireland Family History Society’s Open Day this Saturday. Please come along to support it if you can.
We are attending the North of Ireland Family History Society’s Open Day this Saturday. Please come along to support it if you can.
Castleton 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.
The 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.
…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.
The 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.
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
At 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: http://www.1418now.org.uk/lights-out/
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:
Guest post: Liam Hogan – Limerick City Library
Website Address: limerickww1.wordpress.com
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.
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.
Commemoration: 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.
Extra 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
The First World War Centenary is commemorated in dramatic fashion at the Lyric Theatre with a stirring adaptation of Jennifer Johnston’s novel How Many Miles to Babylon? this Spring.
Rehearsals are well underway with an impressive line-up of Irish and English actors bringing the Londonderry author’s “brilliant masterpiece” to the stage for the first time in Northern Ireland.
How Many Miles to Babylon? tells the heart-rending story of two young Irish boys from very different backgrounds who end up fighting in Flanders. Alec and Jerry are divided by class but united in friendship. One is the only child of Anglo-Irish landowners; the other is from a large family of Irish workers. Brought together by a shared love of horses, the pair enjoy an idyllic childhood on the same estate in County Wicklow.
As war breaks out at the end of 1914, both enlist in the army – and find themselves standing together, yet divided once more by rank. In the fields of Flanders, they must not only endure the horrors of the battlefield, but also face an ordeal that will test their friendship and their loyalty to breaking point. The dramatic tale has been adapted by Irish actor and current Artistic Director of the PICT theatre in Pittsburgh, Alan Stanford.
Philip Wilson directs an impressive cast with Good Vibrations star Ryan McParland taking on the role of the charismatic Jerry and Anthony Delaney (Liola, The Kingdom) as Alec. Lyric audiences may also remember Ryan from Tim Loane’s The Civilisation Game in 2012 as well as the BBC series, 6 Degrees set in Belfast.
Catherine Cusack, part of the Irish acting dynasty of Cusacks, plays the cold mother, Alicia Moore opposite Michael James Ford (Becoming Jane; Michael Collins) as her husband. The rest of the cast are Richard Teverson (Brideshead Revisited; Downton Abbey) as Major Glendinning, Jeremy Lloyd (The Iron Lady) as Bennett and Charlie De Bromhead (How to Lose Friends and Alienate People).
“I came across Jennifer Johnston’s novel some years back, when I was researching another First World War story, and her delicate yet heartbreaking account of how young Irish men faced the unimaginable in the trenches has stayed with me ever since,” said the director, Philip Wilson.
“So I leapt at the chance to stage Alan Stanford’s poignant and richly evocative adaptation of this classic novel. Alec and Jerry’s friendship – which transcends education, class and religion – is a wonderfully compelling one, and the journey they go on together is truly remarkable.”
How Many Miles to Babylon? runs on the Danske Bank Stage, Lyric Theatre, from Wed 30 April to Sat 24 May (Previews Sun 27 April 2.30pm; Tues 29 April 1pm & 7.45pm).
For more information and to book tickets click here.
Image credits: Brian Morrison
There will also be an illustrated talk by Museum Photographer Bryan Rutledge who will explore the role of photography during the First World War both at home and at the front. Bryan will also include a look at some of the enduring Castleton Lanterns images made by renowned Belfast Photographer Alex R Hogg. Hogg was commissioned by the Castleton Presbyterian Church committee to put together a lantern slide presentation of ‘our men at the front’ on 16th December 1918.
The talk will be at 7.30pm on 1st May and repeated again at 12.30pm on 8th May. Space is limited and admission is free of charge. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a place.
Find out more information by clicking here.
Are any of your ancestors buried in these three graveyards? Were they Killed in Action? The men are from all areas of Belfast and further, not just East Belfast.
Whether you have information or would like to be involved in the project, please get in touch. Laganvillage Somme Society would like to hear from you.
You can find the Society on Facebook, email the Co-ordinator of the project at email@example.com or call Thomas on 079 2018 6314
The names the Society are researching are: