City Hall left in darkness as start of conflict remembered

Abi McGreevy, 10, from Belfast at the 'lights out' artwork illumination at Belfast City Hall
Abi McGreevy, 10, from Belfast at the 'lights out' artwork illumination at Belfast City Hall

Crowds gathered tonight at Belfast Cenotaph as wreaths were laid to mark the centenary of the First World War.

The ceremony took place at 10pm, with City Hall purposely put into darkness as similar events tooks place across the UK.

A candlelit procession took place to the Cenotaph in the grounds of City Hall, where Deputy Lord Mayor Maire Hendron laid a wreath on behalf of the city. First Minister Peter Robinson also attended.

The public event was attended by people from all walks of life and by people of all religions and none.

Alderman Jim Rodgers, who attended the event, said: “It was only right and proper that this should be commemorated.

“It was a very sad occasion and we must remember all those who lost their lives in World War One.

“This was supposed to be the last war, but sadly this has not been the case.

“It was a very moving occasion with some people clearly having tears in their eyes.

“Belfast suffered in both world wars and it is only right that this vigil was held at City Hall.”

The ceremony was televised by the BBC alongside similar events at the same time across the UK.

Also yesterday, thousands of wellwishers cheered the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as the Royals stepped out to greet them from a balcony in Belgium where they marked 100 years since Britain’s entry into the First World War.

Crowds thronged Mons town square as they were met at the 15th century town hall by the country’s prime minister Elio di Rupo and local mayor Nicolas Martin.

Outside stood a monument to locals who died.