Group planned as part of Catholic war role project

Pictured at the recent launch of 'Lisburn Catholics and the Great War' are (from left) Brian Mackey, Ciaran Toal, Alan Carlisle and Pat Catney.
Pictured at the recent launch of 'Lisburn Catholics and the Great War' are (from left) Brian Mackey, Ciaran Toal, Alan Carlisle and Pat Catney.

A working group is to be set up as part of a newly launched project to research the part played in World War One by Lisburn’s Catholic community.

As the Star previously reported, the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum research 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 earlier this month at St Joseph’s Parish Hall, St Patrick’s, Chapel Hill, before an audience including parish members who lost relatives in the Great War.

Also on hand were a number of researchers and authors, as well as local SDLP Councillor Pat Catney, a facilitator on the project, and the DUP’s Councillor Alan Carlisle.

Museum Curator Brian Mackey and Research Officer Dr Ciaran Toal spoke at the launch about 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 about 25% of the population of Lisburn and contributed a quarter of all volunteers in the town who joined the war effort, although little is known of the men.

Following the talk, audience members shared their WWI stories, pictures and objects.

There was agreement to set up 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 the topic, the museum wants to hear from you.

To register interest, or for more information, visit http://www.lisburnmuseum.com/lisburn-catholics-and-the-great-war.