The 36th (Ulster) Division
The 36th Ulster Division was formed in September 1914 to create a home for men of the Ulster Volunteer Force. Although not everyone who joined was an Ulster Volunteer the ethos was deeply Unionist. In July 1916 the division fought and died in great numbers at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme.
The memory of this slaughter came to have deep significance for Unionists in the new Northern Ireland state, symbolising loyalty to Britain and standing in contrast to the Easter Rebellion which had taken place in Dublin just a few weeks before the Somme campaign began. Remembering the 36th Division’s exploits is still seen as important today by many Ulster Protestants.
Philip Orr, WW1 historian will give a presentation on the birth of the Ulster Division and the political circumstances around that period.
The 16th Irish Division and the Sixth Connaught Rangers
The 6th Connaught Rangers was a unique battalion of the British Army made up mainly of members of the Irish National Volunteers from the Falls Rd and other Catholic areas of Belfast. They went to the front in W.W.1 at the behest of their local M.P the charismatic Joe Devlin of the Irish Parliamentary Party. They were confident that Home Rule would be granted at the end of the war which most people then believed would be “over by Christmas”.
So in gratitude to the Westminster Government and in defence of Catholic Belgium they went off to war. The suffered heavy casualties and on their return found an entirely different political situation in Ireland especially in their own area. There were no flags or banners to welcome them as they slipped quietly home. Their story was to disappear from the memory of both communities in Belfast.
Sean O Hare, author of the Sixth Connaught Rangers will give a presentation on the events surrounding involvement of so many northern nationalists in the Connaught Rangers.
DateWednesday, May 7, 2014 - 19:00
Tickets and further information
World War One: Political Divisions. The Ulster Division and the Sixth Connaught Rangers