Striking image of Dundrum soldier to appear on Murlough Beach

Striking image of Dundrum soldier to appear on Murlough Beach

7 November 2018

THE haunting image of a brave Dundrum soldier who died in the First World War will appear at Murlough Beach this weekend.

Rifleman John McCance was born in Dundrum, enlisted in Downpatrick and died at Passchendaele in 1917.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial in Belgium, along with 35,000 others.

From 8.30am on Sunday his portrait will emerge from the sand at Murlough. As the tide rises at 10.30am, it will be washed away as the public take a moment to say a collective goodbye.

The evocative ceremony is part of the Pages of the Sea project, which is being spearheaded by Hollywood director Danny Boyle — also responsible for the Opening Ceremony at the London Olympics in 2012 — who has been commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War.

Music will be provided by Mourne Community Choir and the public will be asked to join in by creating silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict.

A poem specially written by Carol Ann Duffy will be read out. Copies of the poem are available online and will be available at the beach for those who wish to come together or to offer their own personal contribution.

The National Trust is offering free parking will be available at the main visitor car park at Murlough National Nature Reserve, adjacent to the start of the boardwalk which leads to the beach. The cafe will also be open for hot drinks and refreshments.

Similar events will be taking place at beaches in Portstewart Strand, Downhill Beach in Co Londonderry and Port Ban Beach in Co Donegal.

Mr Boyle said beaches seemed to be the “perfect place to gather and say a final goodbye and thank you to those whose lives were taken or forever changed by the First World War.”

He added: “I’m inviting people to watch as the faces of the fallen are etched in the sand and for communities to come together to remember the sacrifices that were made.”