On Thursday 13th December we were delighted to visit Glasnevin Cemetery Museum in Dublin, to award certificates to pupils from across the Island of Ireland who have taken part in commemorating the First World War through the Never Such Innocence poetry, art, and song competition.
The largest cemetery in Ireland, where many significant figures of Irish history are buried, provided a poignant setting to mark the centenary and also to look to the future.
Children travelled from far and wide to receive their Certificates of Commendation for taking part in the special joint project from the Chairman of Glasnevin Trust, John Green, and the Chief Executive George McCullough. Never Such Innocence Founder and CEO Lady Lucy French spoke at the event and was honoured to also visit the grave of her own Great Aunt, Charlotte Despard, who is buried in the cemetery.
The extended Island of Ireland bonus competition culminated in the creation of a special booklet, to commemorate all those from the Island who lost their lives or were affected by the First World War. This booklet contained the top entries from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland for each age category as selected by our panel of judges, and was presented to several VIPs on Armistice Day at Glasnevin. We were delighted to present a copy of this booklet to all attendees on the 13th December.
On the day, everyone had the opportunity to look around the museum and view the brilliant exhibitions on offer. We then began proceedings with the striking backdrop of the cemetery visible through the window, as a reminder of the reason for our commemoration. John Green, Chairman of Glasnevin Trust, spoke about the First World War in Ireland and the tragic loss of life and division that it entailed.
Throughout the event, children and young people shared the incredible work that they had produced in response to learning about this conflict. Some of the brilliant poetry and artwork that was showcased at the event can be viewed here.
Every young person at the event received a personalised Certificate of Commendation, a well-deserved reward for their brilliant creative work to mark the centenary of the First World War.
Dalkey School Project National School and Kilrossanty National School both attended as groups, and ahead of the event both classes worked hard in workshops with Never Such Innocence Artist in Residence Marty Longstaff. Marty visited both schools in the week before the event to provide a free songwriting workshop and facilitate the groups to write
songs that expressed their reflections on the First World War, and on conflict more widely.
A land full of dreams, by Kilrossanty National School
They built a land full of dreams
They built a land bathed in light
Because of them here we stand
We will keep their dreams alive
Burn Bright, by Dalkey School Project
We are standing here together
Through lonely nights, and stormy weather
Although the future may seem dark
The fire of hope needs just a spark
And it will burn bright forever
We would like to say a huge thank you to the Glasnevin Trust for kindly hosting the event and for partnering with us on the extension of the competition, and to the schools and young people who took part in the competition and attended the event!
In September 2019 Never Such Innocence will be launching a new project, Giving Children and Young People a Voice on War. Building on our four years of commemorating the First World War, this new phase of the project will give children and young people an opportunity to process, respond to and reflect on war and conflict throughout the ages including violence of all forms today. We will invite young people to create a poem, song or piece of art reflecting on something they feel strongly about within their local community, or wider society. If you would like to be involved please do let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or signing up to our education newsletter.