The Somme Association was formed to educate the public and commemorate, on a cross-community basis, the role played by Irishmen and women in the First World War.
Vision Statement To help bring an end to the enmity between peoples on the island of Ireland through commemoration of those who have followed the Irish military tradition in defending their freedom and heritage during the international armed conflict, and to educate succeeding generations in the contribution and sacrifice made by them to establish international peace and security.
Projects and Activities
The Association has three major programmes:
The Ulster Memorial Tower and Thiepval Wood - The Somme Association administers the Ulster Memorial Tower on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland, and in 1994 opened a visitors centre at the site. In 2003 with the assistance of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, the Association purchased Thiepval Wood, which is located beside the Tower and was the Ulster Division's base prior to the Battle of the Somme. The Association hopes to create a memorial park and excavate some of the original trenches.
Craigavon House - located in East Belfast, was the home of Sir James Craig - the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland - and was the scene of much activity during the Home Rule Crisis just prior to the First World War. It was here for example the UVF and Ulster Division were formed. The house is presently undergoing renovation, and will reopen with office space and a heritage/interpretative element.
Somme Heritage Centre - is a registered museum located near Newtownards. It examines Irish participation in the First World War and other modern international conflicts. It has a strong cross-community focus throughout its programmes.