First World War soldiers honoured


ALMOST 50,000 Irish soldiers who died in the first World War were commemorated at a wreath-laying ceremony in Dublin at the weekend.

Ex-servicemen and families of former soldiers from North and South were among some 300 people who gathered at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, for the ecumenical service to remember all Irish soldiers.

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the war's end. "The question 90 years ago is still the question today - what meaning attaches to the lives and experiences of those who go to war, caught up in huge impersonal forces over which they have so little control? And especially, what meaning attaches to their deaths?" asked the Archdeacon of Ferns, the Ven Christopher Long, in his address.

Prayers of remembrance were read by the Army head chaplain, Msgr Eoin Thynne, for peace makers and peacekeepers, for civilians whose lives are disfigured by war or terror and for members of the armed forces who are in present danger. The Last Post was performed by the Army's band of the First Southern Brigade shortly before the wreaths were laid.

The first wreath was laid by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, councillor Eibhlin Byrne. Representatives of branches of the Royal British Legion also laid wreaths, along with dozens of old comrade associations including the Dublin Fusiliers, the Munster and Leinster Regiment Associations, the Royal Irish Regiment and the Irish UN Veterans Association.

Delegates from the Grand Lodge, Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Dublin Society also laid wreaths.

The ceremony ended with the national anthem and a flag ceremony by former servicemen. The memorial gardens were built by ex-Irish and ex-British soldiers in the late 1930s.