As a non-historian, I come to understand the past fairly late in any cycle of commemoration. My school English teacher wrote a well-regarded book about the Somme and we had a signed copy at home, but I've never read it. Philip Orr is a member of the History Hub Ulster's advisory panel.
The Cenotaph at Belfast City Hall will be the venue for the annual wreath laying ceremony at 11am on Friday 1 July, remembering the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division and the 16th (Irish) Division who lost their lives.
Saturday 2 July / HMS Caroline have a family open day with Creative Centenaries and their green screen allowing you to go back in time on board the ship / Normal admission fee applies
Monday 4 July at 6.30pm / Training Kitchener’s New Army in Ireland – What Can Archaeology Reveal? is a lecture by Heather Montgomery in Belfast Central Library / Free to register
Tuesday 5 July at 12.30pm / 1916 Walking Tour of Belfast Merchant Companies led by Nigel Henderson, starting at the front gates of Belfast City Hall and focussing on the Somme stories of the sons and daughters of some of Belfast’s most famous merchant families. / Free to register
Wednesday 6 July at 3pm / 1916 Sources Tour - join Catherine Morrow as she opens the archives of the Newspaper Library in Belfast Central Library / Free to register
Lots of partners are running events too ...
Until 18 September five zones in the Ulster Museum will feature extensive photographic and video archive material from leading heritage organisations including the Imperial War Museum, National Museums Northern Ireland, National Library of Ireland, and Public Records Office NI. Creative Centenaries - led by the Nerve Centre - have brought together diaries, graphic novels and even a drone war rug. / Free admission
Between Tuesday 5 to Saturday 16 / Frank McGuinness' play Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme will be performed in the Lyric Theatre.
Between 3 and 14 August, Féile an Phobail will host a series of talks around the Battle of the Somme anniversary.
Until 19 December, an exhibition highlighting the contribution of Orangemen at the Battle of the Somme - The Lily and the Poppy - is running in the Museum of Orange Heritage in Schomberg House.