Belfast Telegraph

Exhibition highlights shared experience of WW1 conflict by Northern Ireland communities

By Donna Deeney

An exhibition that sheds light on the shared experience of the unionist and nationalist communities from the north west during the First World War has opened in Londonderry.

The event coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Messines.

The unionist community in Derry has long recognised and remembered the war, but local historian Seamus Breslin said that more nationalists are acknowledging their community's role.

"The First World War changed the world and Derry was greatly impacted, over 1,000 people associated with the city died and thousands more were injured," he said.

"Over time, the experiences, sacrifices and memories of the First World War gradually became absorbed into the unionist community in Derry, but times have changed and a shared story is emerging and gaining acceptance.

"This exhibition aims to promote peace and reconciliation, shed some light on a history frequently avoided and hasten the day when all sides can join in inclusive commemoration of the sacrifices made by so many," he added.

The exhibition entitled 'Orange and Green' began its life in 1996 as 'The Sure Confusing Drum', named after a Seamus Heaney poem that explored the nationalist community's role in the First World War.

It focused on the dilemma many Irish nationalists faced about whether to serve in the global conflict.

The exhibition has evolved and its current form reflects on the two traditions going to war side by side and their motivations and allegiances.

Further information on the project is now available at www.ghpress.com/wwi, the Derry City Nationalists and the First World War Facebook page and on the Youtube channel Nationalist Derry World War One Gavin Patton Films.

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