Great War Walking Trail Launched In Killyleagh

A unique walking trail map has been launched in Killyleagh.
A map featuring a trail of sites associated with the First World War has been compiled… the first of its kind in Ireland.
The free colour guide, which features water colour paintings by Killyleagh artist Mrs Wendy Cromie and with funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, was launched at the town’s Library on Friday.
The trail of Killyleagh takes the visitor around the streets of the town, featuring some of the key sites and historic places connected to the Great War. 

Killyleagh artist Wendy Cromie with Ann Fee and Austin Cheevers at the launch of the Great War map of Killyleagh. Included are a number of those who attended the official launch.

The information is based on a series of guided war walks held between 2014 and 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Great War. The information draws on the stories recorded by the guides on those walks – Mr Austin Cheevers, Mrs Ann Fee, Miss Zena McAllister, Mr Dougie Marr and Mr Chris Hagan.

The map was launched by Austin Cheevers and Ann Fee.
Ann Fee paid tribute to the late Martin McCloy who had first generated interested in the lives of the Great War veterans through his annual photographic exhibition and through the Sloane’s History Group. She explained: “Elsie Berner had suggested collecting information and photos of those named on the War Memorial.
“As part of the 100th anniversary of the war, guided walks had been held to tell the stories and explore the places connected to the 242 men and two women from Killyleagh and Shrigley who went to war.
And in paying tribute to artist Wendy Cromie for her work, Ann Fee added: “Mr Cheevers said it had been humbling on the walk to learn of the sacrifices of the soldiers who went to war, many of whom never returned.  Copies of the walking trail will be available at the Ulster Tower at Thiepval on the Somme where many of the local men had lost their lives on the 1st of July 1916.
Austin Cheevers said: “A copy of Wendy Cromie’s water colour of the Killyleagh War Memorial, which features on the cover of the map, is already on display at the observation post at Thiepval.
Chris Hagan, chairman of Killyleagh Remembers the Great War, said: “While many paintings are done of the castle and other Killyleagh scenes, Wendy Cromie had been the first to paint the War Memorial and the group were keen to make it available to a wider audience.”
He also praised the printers Plus 2 Print of Downpatrick for an outstanding design and print work.
The first copy of the war map was presented by Mrs Cromie to Miss McAllister who was unable attend the launch.
Free copies of the map are available from a number of outlets in Killyleagh including the library.
Meanwhile, the war group has organised a special art competition for primary school children in which they are being asked to colour in a war scene drawn by Killyleagh artist Mr Darren `Duxy’ Leahy.
The competition is open to all children in P6 and P7 with special prizes for the winners, thanks to the Heritage Fund. Any children interested in taking part can pick up a copy of the drawing from Killyleagh Library.