Ballymoney is set to host one of the biggest commemoration events in Northern Ireland over the weekend 1st and 2nd August to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.
Officers of the Irish Guards, PSNI, representatives from participating Regiments joined members of Ballymoney & District Cultural & Heritage Society, Ballymoney Borough Council and the Royal British Legion to settle arrangements for the delivery of the event which is set to attract visitors from across Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and further afield. “Donal” The Irish Guards loveable Mascot travelled to Ballymoney to join the distinguished guests.
The weekend event has attracted funding of over £30,000 from Ballymoney District & Cultural Heritage Society, Ballymoney Borough Council, Heritage Lottery Fund Awards for All, Community Relations Council and Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Dublin.
Updating the meeting on the events and activities over the commemoration weekend Sammy McClements from the local Cultural & Historical Society told the meeting “More than 16 million people died during the first world war.
“Many people from our community enlisted or were called up. Many kissed their mothers goodbye and many never came home. Through our event we want to uncover their stories and help people remember and understand.”
Already a number of groups have made arrangements to travel and to stay in Ballymoney for the weekend and the event group has set to roll out its marketing plan to communicate information about the range of activities in the town to mark this historic occasion.
Over the commemoration weekend events and displays will be staged in Ballymoney Showgrounds and in the town centre. There is much to engage the attention of people of all ages – WWI vehicles and memobralia, military displays, recruitment stands, Irish Regiments of the Great War, family fun activities. There is opportunities to experience the life and times of the war period with re-enactments, the trenches, field hospital, wartime kitchen, mounted horses in the streets, wartime ladies on bicycles and a nostalgic dance. The Chamber of Commerce has come on board to dress the town, with themed windows, wartime tunes, films and dress.
The commemoration weekend concludes with a Memorial Service on the Saturday at 3pm to remember the fallen. This will be followed by a parade of the town, led by the Standards of the Royal British Legion, representatives of Regiments, Ex-Service Men & Women, Cadet Band and Guest Bands.
In addition to the main public events there are workshops for local primary school children in the run up to the commemoration weekend, with the key focus on those from this area who gave their lives.
Two exhibitions will be on display at Ballymoney Museum to commemorate the centenary A touring exhibition – “On The Brink – The Politics of Conflict 1914-1916”, focusing on the outbreak of WWI and activities at home. The second exhibition “In Time of War: Ballymoney 1914-1916 commemorates the centenary of the beginning of the WWI and the men from the district who went to war and never returned. The exhibitions are hosted by Causeway and Mid Antrim Museum Services, funded by Peace III and Ballymoney Museum.
For details of all events www.ballymoney.gov.uk and www.bdchs.co.uk visitors are being encouraged to car share and travel by public transport. Details of car parking and travel will be added to the websites.