Belfast Telegraph

Story retold of Irish war horses

The role Irish horses played in the First World War will be highlighted in a new exhibition in Belfast.

The story of the Irish cavalry units in the conflict will be retold in the 'war horse' display at Belfast City Hall.

It is part of a wider exhibition of artefacts and memorabilia in the landmark building that will show how the war affected local soldiers on the battlefield - and impacted on those left behind on the home front.

The War Years Remembered collection will go on public view at the City Hall through next week.

Its curator David McCallion said the cavalry element was unique.

"The war horse display, telling the story of Irish cavalry, is outstanding and the only one of its kind in Ireland," he said.

"We have mounted mannequins in original uniforms of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers, 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards and the North Irish Horse."

Mr McCallion added: "2015 is such an important year in our history, bringing the 100th anniversary of the start of the Gallipoli campaign and the march past the City Hall of the Ulster Division heading off to war.

"As well as Gallipoli, 1915 witnessed a number of major battles in World War One, including Ypres and Loos, and was also the year when poison gas (chlorine) was used for the first time."

Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Nichola Mallon, said:

"The so-called 'war to end all wars' had a profound impact on families the length and breadth of Ireland, with more than 200,000 Irishmen serving and around 35,000 Irish-based troops dying as a result of the 1914-1918 conflict.

"Representing the war dead and the survivors from all nations involved in the Great War, this exhibition gives everyone a chance to experience what life was like during a period that dramatically shaped the course of history.

"Hopefully, education and understanding of the mistakes made in the past will prevent them from happening again in the future, and this will leave a lasting legacy for future generations."

On the Wednesday and Saturday of next week's exhibition, visitors wishing to research their own relatives' WW1 service can access a free military history search facility.

The exhibition can be viewed in the East Wing of the City Hall from Monday January 19 through to Saturday January 24.

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