Belfast Somme 100 launch five month programme

The Belfast Somme 100 programme has been launched and aims to provide a programme of commemorative events marking the centenary of the battles of the Somme, and the place of the Somme campaign within the First World War.

The project focuses on the personalities and stories associated with the campaign and mark its place in the social and political history of Northern Ireland and pre-partition Ireland. 

Running for 141 days across Belfast, the exact duration of the Somme campaign in 1916, the programme features a range of commemorative events including concerts, film, lectures, walks, exhibitions, poetry, debates, theatre, children and family activities.

Flagship events include the Poppy Parade Project on June 18, the Commemoration Concert with the Irish Guards on June 28, official commemorations at St Anne’s Cathedral and the Cenotaph, a Conference with the Western Front Association, The Great War at Home with the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Artists at the Somme, Castleton Lanterns, and will culminate in November with the Hedge School.  

Community programmes will also be running across all areas of the city.

History Hub Ulster is working with a wide range of partners including the Northern Ireland Museums Council, Young at Art, Linen Hall Library, Queen’s Film Theatre, Creative Centenaries, Kabosh, Museum of Orange Heritage, Belfast Book Festival, Feile, Eastside Arts Festival and the Belfast International Festival.

‘The Somme offensive of 1916 is implanted deeper in the folk-memory than any other First World War battle,' said Karen O'Rawe, Chair of History Hub Ulster.

'The 16th (Irish) and 36th (Ulster) Divisions suffered around 9,000 casualties on the Somme battlefields in 1916, while many more served and died outside these well-known divisions

'The impact of this loss of young men reverberated across Belfast and in every village and town across Ireland.  This programme of events looks specifically at the impact of the Somme, both in France and in Belfast.  The programme will provide alternative routes to education and commemoration, and will reach out to all four corners of the city.’

The objectives of the Somme 100 project are to dispel myths and stereotypes, to promote and encourage dialogue within communities and with other communities and to create a space which allows the development of mutual understanding.

Click here to access the Somme 100 website and programme.