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Je was erbij / You were there


Iers / Irish weekend - Mesen - 11/11/2008

On November, 11th, 1998, the of Irish Peace Park was opened at Mesen (Messines). At the occasion of the 10th anniversary, an Irish weekend is organized at Mesen. On Tuesday, November, 11th, an official ceremony was held at the park to celebrate the 10th anniversary.

Op 11 november 1998 werd in Mesen het Ierse Vredespark geopend. Naar aanleiding van de 10e verjaardag van deze gebeurtenis, werd in Mesen een Iers Weekend georganiseerd. Op dinsdag 11 november vond aan de Vredestoren een plechtigheid plaats.

We herkennen gouverneur Paul Breyne, de vertegenwoordiger van de koning en burgemeester Sandy Evrard.

Dank aan Geert Vanderjeugt voor de foto's.


We Were There
90th Anniversary of the Ceasefire at the Somme - 11th Nov 2008.

We are happy to inform you that an Irish choir, 'The Tipperary Singers', comprising some 35 singers under the direction of Ms Betty Kelly-Lynch, had the honour of participating in the Commemoration Ceremonies on the 90th Anniversary of the First World War Armistice.

On the morning of Tuesday 11th Nov 2008 we sang at the Messines Peace Park, at the foot of the Round Tower, in memory of the many Irish soldiers who died fighting in that terrible war. We sang (in Gaelic) a lovely sad Irish lament entitled 'Pe' nEirinn i'.

Our next stop was at Ploegsteert Wood Memorial where we performed a traditional Irish air called 'Danny Boy' otherwise known as 'The Londonderry Air'.

As dusk was falling, we sang at the Munster Cross and the chosen numbers included the traditional hymn 'Abide with Me' and 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary'. On this occasion we were accompanied by the C J Kickham Brass and Reed Band from Tipperary and also by the Barrow St Band from Cork. Tears were shed as the music awakened sad memories and stirred the emotions of many of those present.

Finally we were very highly honoured to be chosen to sing under the Menin Gate after the Last Post was sounded at 8.00pm on the night of the 11th Nov 2008, just as wreaths were being laid in memory and honour of those who died. The hymn we sang was entitled 'The Clouds Veil' - a beautiful number composed by the Irish priest, Liam Lawton.

During both Monday and Tuesday we sang 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary' and other numbers on many occasions, sometimes while marching with the band in the Main Square in Ypres and also on the way to and from the various ceremonial locations in the town of Mesen.

It is only following the peace that has finally broken out on the island of Ireland in the last few years, that the Irish soldiers who fell in the 1st World War are finally being recognised and honoured both in Ireland and abroad.

This is the first time that an Irish choir has participated in such ceremonies and it was particularly appropriate that the Tipperary Singers were chosen, as our members are drawn mainly from County Tipperary, where many of the fallen Irish soldiers were born.

We were astonished and delighted at the care and respect accorded to those who died fighting for freedom, by both the Belgium Government and Municipal Authorities - and also by every ordinary citizen we encountered.

We have many wonderful memories to treasure in the years ahead and are very proud to have played some little part in these remembrance events.

Paul Monks and Dan Hogan
Tipperary Singers / 22 Nov 2008

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