WW1 battlefields and Kilmainham Gaol ‘journey’ for Antrim and Newtownabbey teens

Somme Heritage  Centre.
Somme Heritage Centre.

A dozen Antrim and Newtownabbey teenagers will have the opportunity to take part in a study visit to World War I battlefields and Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, later this year.

The ‘Journey of Remembering’ study visits for 16 to 18-year-olds are being organised by the borough council focusing on the Great War and Easter Rising.

Participants will visit battlefields, cemeteries and other places of historical interest relating to WW1,  commencing with a three-week “Introduction to people’s history course” which will be delivered by an external facilitator.

The group will have the opportunity to explore the Battle of the Somme and the Easter Rising which will include study visits to The Somme Heritage Centre in Newtownards and Kilmainham Gaol in the Irish capital.

DUP Antrim Councillor Paul Dunlop requested that Cavan County Museum is added to the itinerary.

He said that the initiative is “something young people could benefit from”.

Glengormley Alliance representative, Alderman Julian McGrath, who seconded the proposal, said that it was a “terrific opportunity for young people”.

The £14,000 Good Relations programme will conclude with an information evening for parents which will include a short presentation from each participant on a WW1 casualty whom they have researched.

During the visit to France and Belgium, participants will have the opportunity to visit this soldier’s grave/memorial.

At the end of the programme, it is hoped that participants will have gained a “valuable understanding and appreciation of the events which took place in the lead up to and during World War I”, focusing particularly on Ulster’s contribution at the Battle of the Somme and Easter Rising and gained an understanding of the “dynamics of international conflict and  human cost”.

Meanwhile, Antrim and Newtownabbey’s Community Planning Committee has approved VE Day 75 celebrations on May 8 at a cost of £37,500 with a total budget of £50,000 approved for a street party at Antrim Castle Gardens.

It is proposed to allocate £10,000 from the VE Day 75 remaining

budget to a Community Small Grants Programme for community groups to run VE Day 75 events and activities.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter