To compliment all of the ongoing work of the Messines Peace Projects the story of Messines and its historical value towards our reconciliation work has been told in a play about the 16th Irish and 36th Ulster Divisions and the battle of Messines. In addition, a fabulous new piece of music has been produced by Richard Laird, Sam Starrett and Tracey McRory telling the story of 14 year old John Condon from Waterford who was the youngest person to die in the 1st World War.
Sam Starrett, a local playwright and musician, was commissioned to write a drama entitled ‘Flowers of the Forest', to be produced by Bighouse Productions. This production company was established in 1997 to support the work of established entities in the area of community relations and peace and reconciliation, using artistic media, especially music and drama. It has already produced a musical based on the ‘Siege of Derry' and a musical drama entitled ‘Home for Christmas' about four local soldiers at the Battle of the Somme and the heartbreak felt by their families and local communities in Ireland.
‘Flowers of the Forest' is a dramatic performance featuring a collection of new and existing music and song; it pays tribute to the 16th Irish, the 36th Ulster Division and the people of Mesen/Messines. The performance will culminate in a re-enactment of the death of Willie Redmond (brother of the leader of the largest Nationalist party in Ireland, prior to ‘The Rising'), and his being carried from the battlefield by a Protestant from Ballymoney, who was a member of the 36th Ulster Division.
The musical score written by Tracey McRory, an Irish Champion violinist, who's granduncle was Chaplain to the 16th Irish Division in 1917; she has already written the score for another drama based on a relatively recent disaster in Scotland.