Ireland commemorates the Battle of the Somme

NewsBy Jamie McDowell
Ireland commemorates the Battle of the Somme

Commemorative ceremonies to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme are taking place across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland today.

On July 1, 1016, men from all over Ireland, alongside British and French troops, moved on the village of Thiepval, northern France, attacking German forces.

Within 24 hours 19,240 British troops had died. The 36th Ulster Division accounted for almost 2,000 of those losses.

Today, members of the Royal family are attending a ceremony at the Ulster Memorial Tower in the village of Thiepval.

The 70ft tower was built as a monument to the sacrifice of the Ulster soldiers who fought bravely during the battle.

A ceremony at the Thiepval Memorial remembers the 72,000 soldiers who went missing at the Somme.

Irish President Michael D Higgins and Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster have traveled to France to attend commemorations.

 Prince Harry, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge attend a service to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the battle of the Somme at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Memorial in Thiepval, France, where 70,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers with no known grave are commemorated. 

Ceremonies are taking place across Northern Ireland in Hillsborough, Enniskillen, Lisburn, Belfast and Derry.

At 7.30am this morning a single artillery round was fired by the 206 Ulster Battery Royal Artillery at Hillsborough Castle.

Soldiers based at Thiepval barracks in Lisburn gathered for a remembrance service. 

A wreath laying process took place at the Cenotaph in Belfast to remember the 36th Ulster Division and 16th Irish Division and in Enniskillen a commemoration service was held at Enniskillen Castle.

In Derry, a WW1 memorial was unveiled at St Columb's Cathedral. 

In Dublin, a ceremony took place at the Irish National War Memorial Garden to remember almost 50,000 Irishmen who died during the First World War.