Loyalist paramilitary mural reimaged

The events of the weekend finished with a Piper's lament beside the new mural in Edgarstown.
The events of the weekend finished with a Piper's lament beside the new mural in Edgarstown.

The last remaining loyalist paramilitary mural in Portadown has been reimaged.

The groundbreaking project, funded by the Housing Executive, saw the removal of the Montague Street mural in Edgarstown before it was reimaged to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Somme.

The new artwork is located opposite the interface along the Corcrain Road and, according to town group Regenerate, is a positive outward sign of a commitment to good relations, positive sustainable change and promotes shared history.

The artwork was officially unveiled at a cross-community event and is a direct copy of a picture which hangs prominently within the Ulster Tower at the Somme - depicting the reality of conflict within the trenches of WW1.

The first memorial built on the Western Front, the Ulster Tower was constructed on the site where many men of the 36th (Ulster) Division lost their lives in July 1916.

The artwork was unveiled as part of a weekend of events which brought to reality life during World War 1. It began on Friday with a ‘Tea Dance’ in Epworth Methodist Hall, where there was music from the era and men in dress uniform adding to the atmosphere. 

The next morning, a ‘living museum’ was installed in front of Epworth Methodist Hall, recreating a World War 1 tented village - complete with a working cook house, trenches, recruiting station and field dressing station. There were displays of artefacts from WW1, a performance by Scottish Dancers together with a bouncy castles and children’s entertainment.

Deirdre Crawford, the Housing Executive’s Community Cohesion Manager, said: “Through remembering the Somme and events of WW1 there is an opportunity to learn more about our shared history. 

“I welcome the community’s commitment to supporting a positive future for Portadown and we were pleased to help by investing time and funding in the new artwork and unveiling event.

“We believe this effort will make a real difference to the people who live there as we help foster and support a strong, vibrant community.”

Keith McCann from Regenerate said,“The Margaret Street Arch has recorded the names of the Edgarstown men, from both communities, who fell at the Somme. The unveiling of the nearby mural and history day will help broaden understanding and build confidence and as we explore and celebrate a shared history.

“This mural is an outward sign of a commitment to good relations and will act as a trigger to help change hearts and minds. I’d like to thank the Housing Executive for their support of this initiative and continuing commitment to the whole area.”