Ballykinlar History Hut Roadshow

24 September 2018 | Bethany Reynard

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is gearing up to launch an activity-filled public engagement project relating to the ‘Ballykinlar History Hut’, with a special Roadshow and Launch at Down County Museum between 11am and 4pm on Saturday 29th September.

A project supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) a 60ft by 20ft Armstrong Hut will be recreated in every detail in the Museum in the autumn of 2019. Prior to that the Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis at Queen’s University has been appointed by the Council to involve the local community and record stories about individuals who occupied Ballykinlar Camp during the period 1899-1950, focusing especially on the years 1914-21, now being commemorated as part of the Decade of Centenaries.

The free entry ‘Ballykinlar History Hut’ Roadshow will be a great opportunity for families to explore history, with the chance to handle historic objects and artefacts, and listen to stories about them; also to dress up and have a photograph taken using green-screen technology to transport you back in time, creating a high quality souvenir photo to keep. As well as getting involved in craft activities, visitors will be able to see how cutting-edge 3D and virtual reality technologies are generated, and will be able to try out a 3D walkthrough experience.

Between 1pm and 2pm there will be light refreshments, and at 2pm the Chairman of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Mark Murnin, will officially launch the project, followed by three 20 minute talks about different aspects of the project for those who wish to learn more. The project coordinators are looking for stories relating to soldiers, internees and refugees in particular, who are known to have been in the Camp in the first half of the 20th century, and hope to make new connections on the day.

The project coordinators are also encouraging people to sign up on the day to join in the project and participate in a whole range of free activities and trips, which will take place between November 2018 and June 2019. These will include visits to Ballykinlar Camp, the Somme Centre, Cavan County Museum, the Curragh and Kilmainham Gaol. It will be possible to get more information and sign up to join in at the Roadshow on 29th September.

Chairman of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Mark Murnin, explained: ‘The strong community engagement programme to be delivered by our project partners at Queen’s University Belfast, Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis & Living Legacies 1914-18, Public Engagement Centre, will be key to providing opportunities for sustained, meaningful and purposeful connections between individuals and groups of different backgrounds, on a cross border basis. The activities planned for the participants at the Roadshow and during the coming months are going to be an exciting experience, and who knows what incredible human stories will be unlocked by the ‘History Hut’ project.’

Match-funding for this project has been provided by The Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department for Rural and Community Development in Ireland.