Pictured (left to right): Brian Mackey, Ciaran Toal, Alan Carlisle and Pat Catney at the launch.

On February 2 2015 the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum launched its latest research project at St Joseph’s Parish Hall, St Patrick’s, Chapel Hill, Lisburn.  The project, ‘Lisburn Catholics and the Great War’, aims to explore the untold story of Catholic parishioners from the parish of Blaris.  The project was launched in front of an audience that included parish members who lost relatives in the Great War, researchers, authors as well as local Councillor Pat Catney, a facilitator on the project, and Councillor Alan Carlisle.

Curator Brian Mackey and Research Officer Dr Ciaran Toal delivered a talk that examined the political context of pre-war Ireland and Irishmen’s motives for joining the British Army, before analysing recruitment levels for Catholics in Lisburn.   Catholics made up approximately 25% of the population of the town and contributed a quarter of all volunteers in Lisburn that joined the war effort, although little is known of these men.  Following the talk, audience members shared their WWI stories, pictures and objects, and agreement was made to setup a working group to research and explore further the Catholic community’s involvement in the war.

If you have a local or family story to tell, or are interested in exploring this topic then the museum would be delighted to hear from you.

To register interest, or for more information, visit our dedicated mini-site here.