The Somme and the Rising – the Focus of Co-operation Ireland’s Entwined Histories Programme

The Somme and the Rising – the Focus of Co-operation Ireland’s Entwined Histories Programme

The Somme and the Rising – the Focus of Co-operation Ireland’s Entwined Histories Programme

On 8 November, Co-operation Ireland celebrated the latest installment of the Entwined Histories programme series – Entwined Histories 7 (EH7), which was themed around the 1916 Commemorations of the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme. More than 80 young people from Ashfield Girls’ High School, The Wallace High School, St Patrick’s College Bearnageeha and Lagan College, their teachers, parents and special guests participated in a showcase event at the fabulous Andrews Gallery in the Titanic Centre, Belfast.

Co-operation Ireland’s Entwined Histories programme gives young people from these schools, opportunities to explore the significance of historical events in Irish history. Previous installments examined the Great War, the Dublin Lockout and the Ulster Covenant. This latest theme of 1916 allowed the participants to explore different viewpoints of our shared history.

Key historical events were brought to life with the Nerve Centre assisting the pupils in making exciting film productions about 1916. Insightful visits to the GPO in Dublin and the Somme Centre in Newtownards, provided background knowledge for the young people to increase their learning about historical facts. The residentials provided opportunities for them to progress with their own personal development by engaging in a series of activities, which enabled them to maximise their creative potential and self-confidence, through team working and leadership skills.

Furthermore, the cross-community aspect of the project enabled the students to get to know one another and make friends with pupils from other backgrounds, who perhaps have a different understanding of these events.

Junior Minister, Megan Fearon, who attended the showcase said:

“1916 was an important year in our history.  Programmes like this can challenge or take us out of our comfort zones but they help us understand how history has shaped us all today.  It’s so important we learn from the past if we want to build a better future. 

“The Executive is committed to building a united community and improving relations within our society.  We recognise the journey towards a truly united community is one that requires patience and perseverance, and improved community relations can only come about when there is mutual respect, tolerance, understanding and an acknowledgement of individual and community memory.

“I commend all those involved in the Entwined History programme and I hope the new friendships you’ve made will last long into the future.”

Peter Sheridan, CEO Co-operation Ireland commented,

“The Entwined Histories project is an integral part of Co-operation Ireland’s work and it perfectly fits our ethos of bringing people from different traditions together so they can come together and develop positive relationships with each other. By enabling young people to jointly learn about our shared history in an exciting and interactive way, we are creating the basis for sustained positive interaction between these young people.”

In delivering the Entwined Histories programme Co-operation Ireland works with a number of partners, including Queens University Belfast and a range of creative arts and history-based organisations.  These collaborations have allowed us to provide an energetic learning environment for the young people.