The famous Soldiers’ Christmas Truce of 1914, between German troops and the Allied troops, happened exactly, 100 years ago this year, it was by any standards an extraordinary event. That unique and historic event will be recalled and commemorated in the Mayo Peace Park, at 2.30pm, on Christmas Eve.
It will start with a novel football game at 2.30pm, between teams representing the German troops and Allied troops, similar to the game that was played on Christmas Eve 1914. The German and Allied troops’ teams on this occasion will be drawn from the ranks of the Castlebar Men’s Shed. The wonderful Castlebar Town Marching Band will be on hand to provide some festive musical entertainment. The legendary piper Pat Conlon will play some lively tunes of the period. A prayer will be recited in memory of the dead, followed by some relevant poetry readings. The Last Post will be sounded in memory of all who served and died during World War I. The Castlebar Men’s Shed Choir will then sing a selection of Christmas carols and songs. The powerful and evocative song ‘A Silent Night 1914’ will feature on the programme. Everyone is heartily welcome to join in or just listen to the Christmas carols, music, and song, around the specially constructed wartime bunker, for what will be a unique and memorable remembrance of the Christmas truce and Silent Night of 1914. The organisers express their sincere thanks to Horkans Garden Centre, for sponsoring the lovely Christmas tree and lighting for the occasion; the great grandfather of the current owners of the firm, the famous Patrick “Paddy” Horkan, served with great distinction during World War I, he was wounded on no fewer than three occasions. Paddy Horkan was awarded the military medal for bravery in the field as a result of his heroic actions. After the war, he went on to play a prominent role with the Old IRA during the Irish War of Independence.