On 18 February 2017, six of our shedders joined with members of Friends of the 36th (Ulster Division) Carrickfergus and the Cairncastle Somme Society. We were somewhat concerned as we started out because the weather was miserable. By the time we arrived at the museum it was dry and we had a very memorable day.
On arriving at our destination, we were treated to tea and scones before being taken on the WWI Trench Experience. This is the largest outdoor WWI replica trench open to the public in Ireland and the UK.
We were privileged to have as our guide, Dr Michael Finnegan, Research and Education Officer. He does not usually attend on Saturdays but said he was pleased to do so for our party. Michael gave a thought-provoking introduction about developments in Irish politics in the early 1900s. We were then taken on a tour of the trenches exhibit. This was informative, well presented and the trenches were realistic enough to give both a flavour of trench warfare and pause for thought about the many boys ( some as young as 14 years old) and men who lost their lives in that terrible conflict.
Lunch consisted of soup and sandwiches, both of which were delicious, tempting some of us to overindulge. We had a short time to peruse the other exhibits in the museum before boarding the bus again for our homeward journey.
All six of us who represented the Men’s Shed, agreed that it was a very worthwhile trip.
Our sincerest thanks go to Tommy Kirkham for organising the trip; to the Housing Executive for S.P.O.D. funding – making it free to us; to Dr Michael Finnegan for delivering an excellent tour and to museum staff who fed us so well.