Pages of the Sea - Murlough

Aerial shot of a beach featuring sand art of a soldier

To mark the centenary of Armistice Day on Sunday 11 November 2018, visitors are invited to gather on Murlough Beach for an informal gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during the First World War.

Part of Danny Boyle's vision for 14-18 NOW, Pages of the Sea is being delivered by the Nerve Centre and National Trust, in partnership with Big Telly Theatre Company, Stendhal Festival, UV Arts, Artlink and Live Music Now.

From 8.30am the portrait of John McCance from Dundrum, a casualty from the First World War will emerge from the sand on Murlough Beach. As the tide rises, the public will take a moment to say a collective goodbye as the portrait is lost to the sea. At 10.30am the reading of a new poem by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy will take place. The poem will be available on the day for visitors to join in and can be downloaded in English, Welsh and Gaelic.

Accompanying music will be provided by the Mourne Community Choir at 8.30 and 10am. Visitors are welcome to create their own portraits in the sand with stencils supplied to remember the millions of lives lost.

John McCance

Sand in Your Eye will create the portrait of John McCance on Murlough Beach
John McCance, a casualty of WWI whose portrait will be created in the sand at Murlough
Sand in Your Eye will create the portrait of John McCance on Murlough Beach

John was a local man, born in Dundrum in 1895. He's believed to have enlisted with the 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, in Downpatrick in September 1914.

On 16 August 1917 he was one of many local men to perish at Passchendaele at Ypres, the site of one of the war's most costly battles. There, he faced some of the harshest conditions of the war. He was 22.

John has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial in Belgium and recorded on the war memorial in Castlewellan.

Please help us say goodbye to John and the many lives lost on Sunday 11 November.

Parking will be available on site from 8am at Murlough National Nature Reserve main car-park. This event will take place in poor weather conditions so please ensure to wear weather appropriate clothing and footwear. Please be aware no drone usage will be permitted at this event.