Over 100 women from groups across NI took part in a project looking at the lives and roles of women during the First World War; funding for this project was made possible with a grant from Heritage Lottery NI.

The women undertook heritage and research skills to unearth facts about their female ancestors, what their lives were really like, the losses they suffered, the hardships they endured. The women unearthed many interesting and in many cases sad facts, facts they had never known about their relatives.

This project really helped the women from all backgrounds to remember and reminisce about their own heritage whilst also learning more about others and discovering that what affected one community also affected another. The groups are very keen to continue to build upon the relationships formed and continue to work together.

Not only did the women learn so much more about Irish history, they learnt computer skills, dialogue skills, research and heritage skills, they have so much more empathy and understanding of their own heritage.

The culmination of this year long project was the launch of the book and exhibition on 21 September in Brownlow House, Lurgan. This was a fantastic day for everyone in attendance.

Speakers included:

  • David Martin who spoke of Brownlow’ involvement in WW1 and WW2
  • Philip Orr, the author and playwright who spoke of urban and rural women during this point in history
  • Nigel Henderson from History Hub Ulster who spoke of the lives of soldiers from both sides of the community who fought and died together

This was followed by a certificate presentation ceremony to all the women who took part and concluded with a Q&A and official ribbon cutting ceremony of the book and exhibition by Emma Little-Pengelly, MP and Mairead O’Donnell, Belfast City Councillor.

 

Exhibition and book launch at Brownlow House