Northern Ireland news

Final programme of events to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme

The launch of the Belfast Somme 100 programme, from left, Karen O'Rawe, chair of History Hub Ulster and Antoinette Morelli, who stars in the play 'Medal in a Drawer'

A FINAL programme of events has been launched to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

Belfast Somme 100 will run commemorative events until November including exhibitions, concerts, film, lectures, walks, debates, theatre and family activities.

They mark the centenary of the battles of the Somme and the place of the Somme campaign within the First World War.

The Belfast Somme 100 project aims to raise awareness of previously overlooked or submerged stories and personal connections that both the Somme and the events of 1916 had with the broader history and development of Northern Ireland.

The programme runs for 141 days across Belfast - the exact duration of the campaign in 1916.

Karen O'Rawe, chair of History Hub Ulster and Belfast Somme 100 said: "The impact of the Somme on Belfast is remembered in this, our final programme of events.

"The people of our small city heaved with tears of grief as their young men were killed and maimed, no matter what their background.

"Belfast Catholic, Protestant, Jew or Quaker - all served and died together at the Somme

"The close links between people can be seen in our programme of events."

Among the highlights is the play Medal in the Drawer by Brenda Winter Palmer, which follows four volunteers from Belfast on their war-journey, including Rifleman Willie Kerr, a young Catholic man who enlisted in the YCV.

There's also a lecture on local nurses and sisters Charlotte and Mary Ellen Kirkwood from Belfast.

The events draw together all the perspectives of this centennial year and aim to enhance understanding of the impact of the Somme.

For further information, please visit www.belfastsomme100.com, on Facebook and on twitter @belfastsomme100.

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