Ulster and Irish WWI dead honoured at new Belfast memorial

A new memorial garden in north Belfast will commemorate soldiers from all over the island of Ireland who fought in the Great War.

Thursday, 9th November 2017, 6:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 6:48 am
A wreath laying ceremony at the new memorial garden on the Shore Road

The memorial garden and adjoining community park was opened on the Shore Road.

Jim Crothers, manager of the Hubb Community Resource Centre, explained how the development came about: “Seaview Royal British Legion had started a campaign to reclaim this bit of land for use as a memorial garden. It’s too steep to develop on and had just lay empty for many years.”

Around two years ago Hubb made a successful bid for funding with Belfast City Council’s Local Investment Fund for £24,000 and the Alpha Fund for £47,500.

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The same Hubb organisation now also owns the land.

There will be two parts to the redevelopment – one is a pocket park called Thiepval Wood Peace Park for children and local residents, and the other is Seaview RBL memorial garden which will include a granite memorial to soldiers from all over Ireland who fought in WWI.

Mr Crothers said: “What is unique about this is – to make it a shared and inclusive space – on the piece of granite there will be the names of the 36th Ulster Division, 10th Irish Division and 16th Irish Division.

“It has brought the whole community together to an area which had previously been unused.”

As the memorial was under construction one media outlet angered residents by implying that it could commemorate loyalist paramilitaries.

Mr Crothers hit back: “This has got nothing at all to do with paramilitaries.

“We’ve done everything by the book to buy the land and develop it.

“We’ve created a shared space for the community and a dignified memorial in honour of all the soldiers involved in the First World War.”

A second plinth is to be added to commemorate WWII soldiers including the home guard.