Festival and pageant planned to mark both Somme and Easter Rising

Maureen Hetherington (front row, second from left), from The Junction, and Angela Askin, with Derry City & Strabane District Councils Good Relations team, with facilitators, at the schools centenaries conference, held in The Meldron hotel.  0916-2466MT.

Maureen Hetherington (front row, second from left), from The Junction, and Angela Askin, with Derry City & Strabane District Councils Good Relations team, with facilitators, at the schools centenaries conference, held in The Meldron hotel. 0916-2466MT.

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A community festival in St Columb’s Park commemorating the Battle of the Somme and an outdoor pageant in Guildhall Square marking the Easter Rising are part of the local Council’s plans to mark this most significant of centenary years.

An extensive programme of events to mark the centenaries of the 1916 Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme has been newly launched by the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Elisha McCallion.

The centenary programme of activities is one of a number of Mayoral initiatives aimed at reaching out to local communities and actively engaging with them by encouraging them to tell their own stories on this significant era of our history.

Among the events planned are a series of exhibitions at the Tower Museum looking at the personal stories of those involved in these historic events and a Mayoral Family Free Activity Programme which will provide free access for local people from March 30 to April 1, to Council leisure facilities including sports camps for children and free swimming facilities and free access to the Tower Museum.

The programme also includes an outdoor Pageant in Guildhall Square commemorating 1916 and a two-day remembrance and community festival in St Columb’s Park to mark the Battle of the Somme.

Details of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Grant Aid scheme, which provides over £90,000 of funding to 16 groups to support community activity and larger scale events, was also unveiled at the launch.

The Mayor says the Centenary celebrations are important not only to mark a series of important chapters in our local history but to engage with the whole community and get them involved in the celebrations.

She said: “This year sees the anniversary of two of the most significant events in modern history, and it is only fitting that we mark the occasion here in the city and district with a number of events which appropriately reflect their impact on the island of Ireland.

“It is our opportunity to recognise the diverse narratives of the decade from 1913–1923, and to engage with our communities through the grant aid scheme that allows them to tell their own stories and remember this influential era of our history.”

For more information on the Mayor’s Centenaries Programme visit www.derrystrabane.com/centenaries