UK government unveils €1m plan to mark North’s centenary

Cultural programme and history fund among events celebrating 100th anniversary

A programme of events to mark the centenary of the creation of Northern Ireland has been unveiled by the UK government.

The plans include a £1 million (€1.16 million) shared history fund for community groups, an interdenominational church service and a programme which encourages young people to explore what the next 100 years might look like.

There will also be a business showcase event in London, a tree for every school in Northern Ireland, and an event hosted by Belfast City Council in June marking the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Northern Ireland parliament by King George V.

A cultural programme entitled Born in Northern Ireland will run from May to September as part of the Our Story in the Making: NI Beyond 100 campaign, which will culminate in a VIP reception and a public centenary concert.


A special postmark will be launched by Royal Mail, and a centenary rose will be planted in the gardens of Hillsborough Castle and presented to Queen Elizabeth for her own garden.

Academic events which reflect on the historical context of the centenary will also be held in partnership with the expert Historical Advisory Panel, with details to be announced shortly.

British prime minister Boris Johnson said 2021 marked 100 years since the creation of Northern Ireland, which "paved the way for the formation of the United Kingdom as we know it".

“Our centenary programme will reflect on the past and on the people and developments that make Northern Ireland the great place it is today,” he said.

Northern Secretary Brandon Lewis said the programme of events "provides an opportunity for us all to reflect on the history of Northern Ireland and to take pride in all this fantastic place has to offer the UK and the world".

“In its 100th year, the people of Northern Ireland can build on their spirit of togetherness and recognise their enormous achievements over past decades,” he said.

Freya McClements

Freya McClements

Freya McClements is Northern Editor of The Irish Times