Over 200,000 Irishmen fought in the Great War. It is estimated that up to 25,000 – 30,000 Irish soldiers from the Irish Divisions and others in British based Divisions died between 1914 and 1918.

The most iconic Battle involving Irish soldiers was the Battle of the Somme, which began on 1 July 1916. By November, there were around one million casualties as a result of this battle. 5,000 casualties of the 36th Ulster Division on 1 July were men drawn almost entirely from one community in the province of Ulster. Nearly 2,000 soldiers from cities, towns, villages and town lands of the North were killed in the first few hours of fighting. In a continuation of the same battle, the 16th Irish Division had 4,330 casualties in September, of whom 1,200 were killed. Added to these were the Irish soldiers who fought in other British based divisions as part of the regular army or in the newly raised battalions. The total number of Irish casualties affected every part of the island.

Nigel Henderson and Philip Orr will deliver a presentation on some of those who lost their lives, focussing on the impact that this had on communities in Belfast. The presentation will also include poetry written in Ulster and in France during the period of the Battle of the Somme. 

The presentation will be followed by a dramatised reading of the Halfway House, which looks at two women who met up in 1966, the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme, hearing of the experiences of their fathers who were on different sides in 1916. 

Light refreshments will be served at 6.30pm.

This event is organised by Belfast City Council.

Event Details


Banqueting Hall, Belfast City Hall
Donegall Square South


Tuesday, June 21, 2016 -
18:30 to 21:00

Centenary Event

Tickets and further information

This is a free event, however booking is required.

To book a place email goodrelations@belfastcity.gov.uk or call 028 90270 663