Join Jason Burke (co-ordinator of the East Belfast & the Great War Research Project) on BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY 28th AUGUST 2017 for a Battle of the Somme themed walking tour of inner East Belfast.
East Belfast made a colossal contribution to the Great War, both in terms of manpower and industrial prowess. To this day the Battle of the Somme (1916) is a focal point of East Belfast’s Great War memory. The 36th (Ulster) Division played a key role in the opening day of the Somme offensive, among them were the 8th Bn. Royal Irish Rifles, affectionately known as ‘Ballymacarrett’s Own’. The 8th suffered heavy casualties on 1st/2nd July 1916 and are remembered with pride by the people of East Belfast.
However, this is only a small portion of the story. East Belfast men served in a range of units besides the 8th Rifles at the Somme and, indeed, many of them served until the end of the battle in July 1916.
This Battle of the Somme walking tour of East Belfast will include the nationalist Short Strand where you will hear of a man from Madrid Street who (allegedly) wore his Orange sash as he went over the top, and the story of the Rooney brothers; two Catholic lads who served in the 36th (Ulster) Division.
Tim McGarry had this to say about the tour: “Jason Burke’s Somme Tour of East Belfast is a hugely entertaining mix of political, social and personal history. The 2 hour walking tour is packed full of fascinating stories ranging from the role of CS Lewis to the often tragic tales of ordinary men from all parts of East Belfast who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances in July 1916. You get a superb and authoritative guide in Jason Burke and you also get a free cup of tea. If this was Tripadvisor I’d give it 5 out of 5.”