Archbishops lead centenary pilgrimage to Somme sites

Catholic and Church of Ireland primates to accompany 30 pilgrims to France and Belgium

Church of Ireland Archbishop Richard Clarke said “it will be far more than a purely physical journey”. Photograph: Arthur Allison

Church of Ireland Archbishop Richard Clarke said “it will be far more than a purely physical journey”. Photograph: Arthur Allison

 

The Catholic and Church of Ireland primates will lead a special centenary pilgrimage to significant Battle of the Somme sites this week.

Beginning tomorrow morning Catholic Archbishop Eamon Martin and Church of Ireland Archbishop Richard Clarke will lead about 30 pilgrims in prayers at the new Memorial Wall in Dublin’s Glasnevin cemetery .

The Somme pilgrimage will include young people from across Ireland and will involve visits to the Ulster Tower at Thiepval in France, and wreath laying at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, on Thursday. On Friday they will visit to the Irish Peace Tower at Messines.

Archbishop Clarke said he was “very much looking forward to this journey, which will, I believe, be far more than a purely physical journey for all of us”. Archbishop Martin said: “We go there, 100 years after one of the bloodiest battles in human history, on a pilgrimage of prayer and remembrance.”

More than 3,500 soldiers from Ireland died in the Battle of the Somme with many more wounded. It took place between July 1st 1916 and November 18th 1916.