About the Event

Sun 30  ‘A Bridge to the Past’.  Cleenish Island, Bellanaleck.   1.30-5.30 pm

Free event organised by Bellanaleck History Group.

The event will enable the members to showcase their findings in relation to a piece of hidden World War I

Heritage – ie 11 houses once lived in my soldiers returning from the Great War.  Visitors will learn about these

men’s lives during the war and afterwards on Cleenish Island and take a step back in time to get a flavour of

country life in the 1920s and 30s.  The road to Cleenish is narrow and parking on the island severely restricted,

access for the public will be by a shuttle bus service which will operate from McCullagh’s Farm Machinery

Car Park, Bellanaleck.   The first buses will depart at 1.30 pm and thereafter at regular intervals over the

Afternoon.  Visitors will be given an introductory commentary as they drive to the island and past the

Ex-servicemen’s houses.  They will then be welcome to spend time at the marquee area exploring the historical

display, seeing some old farming implements and machinery, finding out how it felt for a WW1 soldier to carry

a 60lb pack on his back, having a go at making a hay rope, seeing some old breeds of poultry or watching

and listening as Flo Creighton makes butter and tells about domestic life in the old days. There will also be the

opportunity for those who wish to take a walk to explore the old graveyard which marks the siet of

Cleenish Island’s famous monastery, the place where Columbanus went to school under Sinnell

who was regarded in his time as ‘the wisest man in Ireland’.

As well as these ongoing activities, there will be some timetabled elements:

2.30-3.30 pm (repeated again between 3.30-4.30 pm)  Music by Letterbreen Silver Band joined by children from

St Mary’s Mullymesker and Jones Memorial, followed by Tracey McRory,  musician and storyteller from

Donegal.  Complimentary tea and scones available throughout the afternoon.

Culminating event will be a commemorative tree planting at 5 pm. Signalled by the playing of WW1 lament on

Pipes, people will make their way back to the bridge to watch the guest of honour, Flemish diplomat,

Mr Nic van der Marliere, will present a bag of soil from the battlefield at Messines Ridge and will invite

Representatives of each of the 11 ex-servicemen’s families to assist in the ceremony.  Tracey McRory

Will play a plaintive composition and the Last Post will be sounded to bring the event to a fitting end.cleenish island


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