A special evening of music was held recently at Newry Museum to commemorate the Christmas Truce of 1914, when parties of British and German soldiers laid down their weapons and there were unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front. 

Included from left: Aaron O’Hare (Baritone), Dr Robert Whan (Speaker), Fiona Flynn (Soprano) and Gerry Doherty (Pianist).
Included from left: Aaron O’Hare (Baritone), Dr Robert Whan (Speaker), Fiona Flynn (Soprano) and Gerry Doherty (Pianist).

At the musical event, songs from the period were sung by local opera stars, Fiona Flynn (Soprano with The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow) and Aaron O’Hare (Baritone with The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester), while Gerry Doherty introduced each musical item and provided the piano accompaniment. Songs performed included The Minstrel Boy, Roses of Picardy, We’ll Gather Lilacs, Der Treue Husar, and songs based on the words of Irish war poet Francis Ledwidge which were set to music in Michael Head’s Over The Rim of The Moon, as well as carols Silent Night, Adeste Fideles and O Tannenbaum. 

Interspersed between the songs Dr Robert Whan (Queen’s University, Belfast) spoke about aspects of the war from both local and wider perspectives including events leading up to the war, recruitment, life in the trenches, the Christmas Truce, the impact of the war on the Newry and Mourne area, homecoming and remembrance.

Newry and Mourne Museum will be holding further events on the First World War in the New Year, including a free six-week evening lecture series on “Ireland and the First World War”, beginning on Wednesday 14 January. 

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