On 9th November at 10 a.m. in the Belvedere College Chapel, Fr Derek Cassidy SJ will celebrate a Mass to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice, and to remember the 47 former pupils and two teachers from Belvedere who lost their lives in the First World War: to be broadcast live on RTE radio. Some Transition Year students will experience what it must have been like to live in the trenches, as part of a wider commemoration. See report below.
On the 80th anniversary of the Armistice, on the battlefield of Messines where Southern Irish Catholics and Northern Irish Protestants fought side by side for the first time, President McAleese, together with Paola Queen of the Belgians and Queen Elizabeth, met to inaugurate a Peace Village, which includes a round tower built from Mullingar limestone.
This year, on 9 and 10 November, the younger generation will re-enact that coming together of Irish soldiers. Five boys from Belvedere, and five from Banbridge Academy, will leave Ireland on Saturday 8 November. That evening they will lay a wreath of poppies at the Menin Gate, while the local firemen play the Last Post, as they do every evening.
Over three days the Irish students will be part of a fantastic programme, joining with ten boys from the Flemish Huize Godtschalck to re-live the soldier’s life of 1914-1918. They will be kitted out in the uniforms of the time (as privates), carry arms and equipment, and visit several sites. They will sleep a night in the trenches and taste the living conditions (food and accommodation) of the soldiers in 1918. On the evening of 10 November, still in the trenches, they will welcome visitors from the public. History can heal.
For further information, contact Mr Oliver Murphy, Museum Curator, Belvedere College (086 3150542) or Ms Pat Coyle Manager, Jesuit Communication Centre (086 8190029). Or visit Belvedere’s website (click on ‘The Locre Project).