Decade of Commemorations

1916 Commemoration

2016 will belong to everyone on this island and to our friends and families overseas – regardless of political or family background, or personal interpretation of our modern history.  The Irish Government is committed to ensuring that 2016 will be a year of rich and diverse activities when the full complexity of the last 100 years on this island can be explored and celebrated.  In addition to the State Ceremonial events each County has a programme of events taking place in 2016. Further details on the plans for 2016 are available from the Ireland 2016 website

Battle of the Somme

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was one of the largest battles of First World War fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire.

It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the River Somme in France and more than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed, making it one of the highest tolls of lives lost in battle in human history.

The allied offensive saw the French Army supported by the Fourth Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).  When the German Army began the Battle of Verdun on the Meuse on 21 February 1916, many French divisions intended for the Somme were diverted and the supporting attack by the British became the principal effort.

The Somme is remembered in Northern Ireland due to the participation of the 36th (Ulster) Division and commemorated by veterans’ groups and by unionist/Protestant groups such as the Orange Order.