Activities of the Somme Association
The Somme Association, a registered charity, was formed in 1990 to co-ordinate research into Ireland’s part in the First World War and to ensure that the sacrifices of all those from Ireland who served in the War - and those of their families - would continue to be honoured and remembered. Our President was until her death in October 2004, at the age of 102, HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester and her son HRH The Duke of Gloucester agreed in July 2005 to become the Association’s current President.
The Association owns Craigavon House, Circular Road, Belfast, formerly the home of Sir James Craig, Northern Ireland’s first Prime Minister and a UVF hospital until 1989. Craigavon House is a B+ listed building.
The Somme Museum, between Newtownards and Bangor in Co. Down, is an institution for the study and interpretation of Ireland’s contribution to the First World War, with particular reference to the Battle of the Somme. The Museum opened in 1994 and became a fully accredited, independent museum in 2002. It has increasingly focused upon the community relations potential of this shared history as a vehicle to further cross-community and cross-border contact, mutual understanding and reconciliation. Built with the help of grants to commemorate the involvement of the 36th (Ulster) Division, 16th (Irish) Division and 10th (Irish) Division, it provides displays and information. Parties of school children as well as ordinary members of the public and their families visit it regularly and learn of the sacrifices made by others in the past for the freedom they enjoy today. The Museum has an extensive collection of material from the First World War period and in the last number of years a growing collection from World War Two.
The “Friends of the Somme” is the organisation that supports the work we carry out. Our “Friends” come from as far afield as Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong and Australia. We now have membership of around 700