Back to the homepage Program Derived Products Info & reservations About us

(Not) Just A Day In June

"(Not) Just a Day in June" wishes to inspire young Irish people by walking in the footsteps of the Irish soldiers who were here 100 years ago. "(Not) Just a Day in June" is about engaging with their stories and arming ourselves for peace in the future, through the emotion we experience. Therefore we advance from Locre, over the Kemmelberg to Wijtschate and Messines.

Participants in "The Wijtschate-Messines Ridge Experience" will be encouraged to record their impressions along the way by taking notes, sketches or photographs. These materials will be used as the basis for workshops that will help the youngsters to express their experiences through prose, poetry, photography, sketches and drawings, graffiti, music and dance.

War is a Picnic

The experience starts in Locre with thousands of young men, who are eager to advance, as though going to a picnic. However, their cry of "we'll be back before the leaves start to fall!" soon changes into "we'll be back by Christmas." Sadly, most of them never returned; some were shot at dawn.

This is (not) our war

We will pass the grave of Major William Redmond, an Irish nationalist member of parliament, who believed that Irish participation in the war would result in Home Rule for Ireland. Private John Meeke did not agree with that belief and although their convictions were totally different, they both were fighting the same war. We follow them to the battle field and ponder their motives.

Crossing the Kemmelberg

We will cross the Kemmelberg, passing through a fascinating historical landscape, and look upon the valley where both Unionists and Nationalists stood shoulder to shoulder, waiting for the signal to attack.

Zero Hour

The documentary "Zero Hour" will help us learn why the real heroes of Zero Hour were mine- and sewage workers, and we will visit Kemmel Château Cemetery to find out about the hell of Petit Bois.

Wijtschate or what was left of it

We move on to Bayernwald and Croonaert Chapel to have look behind enemy lines and try to imagine what Wijtschate looked like after that infamous day in June. After all, for the German troops, 7 June was to be just another day in the trenches.

Pool of Peace

We will then cross Suicide Road and stop at the columns which commemorate tolerance, and the mutual support given to each other in the heat of battle by Unionists and Nationalists. We will pass Peckham Crater and reflect at the Pool of Peace, a tranquil relic of a chaotic battlefield

Messines and the Christmas Truce

We then move on towards Messines, where we will discover that the soldiers in the trenches did know it was Christmas, and how a couple of football matches took place in a brief moment of peace, and inspired the soldiers.

"From the crest of the Ridge..."

At the border of the Ridge, we finally arrive at the Island of Ireland Peace Park with its round tower. We will then pause and reflect on the peace pledge, which was signed by every county of Ireland

Peace Village

The Peace Village is situated in a unique rural surrounding, marked by World War I. It provides excellent accommodation for youth and school groups, organisations, families and individuals. As a 'peace centre' it also offers a facility to young people from conflict areas in Europe and beyond, who can come to Messines in the framework of peace education and conflict resolution.