Decade of Commemoration Talks and tours

 Cavan County Museum

Fifty persons from both Catholic and Protestant backgrounds travelled to Cavan County Museum which is now home to the largest outdoor WWI replica trench open to the public in Ireland and the UK. The Trench is becoming a must-see attraction for visitors since it opened in August 2014 and includes sound and visual effects to enhance the experience and educate visitors on life in the trenches in World War 1. The trench, built to the specifications and manuals of the Irish Guards and used by the Royal Irish Fusiliers at the Battle of the Somme 1916 is over 350m long and includes frontline, communication, and support trenches. Over 6000 sand bags were used in its construction. Participants on the trip had the opportunity to step inside the chaos and turmoil of Easter 1916 with the exciting 1916 Rising Experience and Exhibition. This immersive experience featured a replica GPO façade and a series of tunnelled-through contemporary building interiors that allowed the group to experience the claustrophobic fighting conditions endured by the rebels. Participants explored the shared theme of loss and its impact. This was physically achieved through both experiences ending in the dedicated reflective space of the museums ‘Peace Garden’.

The second half of the Peace of Mind Trip last Saturday took the group to the Kilmore hotel for a facilitated session on the influences of music in 1916. Group facilitator Martin Kennedy highlighted the plight of the Irish troops returning from the war and also compared the esteem in which the 1916 rebels were held in comparison. This workshop was interspersed with music and song from Seán Ó Roideáin, Aoife Ní Roideáin and David Lambe. This provided an in-depth examination of Irish ballads from this time, and included a sing a long music session.
Many thanks to all who participated in this event and provided feedback on their experience. Clones Family Resource Centre’s Peace of Mind Project is set to continue till December 2017. The next major event will be their Summer Camp which takes place between 17th and 21st of July. Keep an eye on local press and on facebook for registration dates. For any further enquiries contact Dara at 047 52919.

Dan Winter’s Cottage

Fifty people from all over Co. Monaghan thoroughly enjoyed a recent trip organised by Clones Family Resource Centre, Clones. The group visited Dan Winter’s Cottage, Loughgall & Brownlow House, Lurgan, Co. Arrmagh. The trip was a true insight into history, religious traditions and community life on the northern side of the border. The cottage and farmyard dating back over 200 years is ancestral home of the Winter family. Traditionally the birthplace of the Orange Order the cottage contains a vast array of historical material cottage furniture and farmyard memorabilia. From the tenant’s cottage we headed to Lurgan to visit Brownlow House. A tour of the building gave an insight into the Landlord’s lifestyle and the changing fortunes of this majestic house. Here also the group were treated to a presentation on how religious divisions developed historically. Followed by an opportunity to view an Northern Ireland based WW11 Exhibition. Needless to say the food enjoyed in all venues was second to none. Well done to Angela, Dara and all involved for an excellent event.

Cassandra Hand Centre

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Two history talks took place in 2016 in the Cassandra Hand Centre as part of the Peace of Mind IFI Project. The first night in October, looked at the 1916 Rising & local man James Connolly  – Dr. Eamonn Phoenix spoke at this event and music was provided by local musicans. The night featured a talk on The Somme, Slaughter and Sectarianised Memory. Dr. Johnston McMasters delivered a talk on Hideous Slaughter and indescribable Valour ; The Somme in Global Context. This took place on 17th of November and also encompassed the Launch of the Peace of Mind Project – funded by the International Fund for Ireland.  In addition to this we are planning to have two study visits to areas of historical interest that will reflect the differences and similarities between communities. All of these sessions will be cross community and cross border.   Local people will be given an opportunity to discover more about our joint history on this island, leading to more understanding and respect for difference.