Shankill Parish to feature in BBC NI programme

Dr Grayson visits a memorial to his Great Uncle in Shankill Parish Church.
Dr Grayson visits a memorial to his Great Uncle in Shankill Parish Church.

This Sunday at 6pm, BBC One NI will feature a new two-part series - Ireland’s Great War, bringing together three of the world’s top experts in the field of Irish history.

Diarmaid Ferriter of University College Dublin, Richard Grayson from University of London and Timothy Bowman from the University of Kent will re-examine the full story of Ireland and the Great War.

The first programme features Shankhill Parish Church in Lurgan, which is visited by Dr Richard Grayson, whose Great Uncle James Powell is remembered in a memorial to the Fallen in the church.

James Powell died in battle in Belgium fighting with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles in 1915.

The two-part series looks at some of those who fought and died abroad while at home Ireland was breaking apart. Since the Peace Process, new voices are shedding light on that history.

In the first programme, at the outset of the Great War, Ireland is still part of the British Empire, but is on the verge of a civil war between Nationalists and Unionists. When Britain declares war on Germany, both sides find a unified cause and join up to fight.

Three Irish Divisions are formed, with the first seeing action during the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.

While Irish soldiers fight and die abroad, a little-known Republican minority sparks Dublin’s Easter Rising, forcing Britain to allocate much-needed troops, to Ireland.

The series is part of the BBC’s World War One Season, the biggest and most ambitious ever commissioned. Comprising over 130 new commissions and over 2,500 hours of programming across four years, the Season will offer a unique way to understand a war that changed our world.