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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



26 April 2017

Cadets from 2nd (Northern Ireland) Battalion Army Cadet Force enjoyed a fascinating trip to Dublin recently and Cadet Company Sergeant Major Jones and Cadet Sergeant McAlpine share their experience with us:

We, along with 18 other cadets and adults from 2 nd NI Bn Army Cadet Force had the opportunity to attend a very interesting and enjoyable educational trip to Dublin. We were given the opportunity to visit various historical places around the city and learn more about the events and people that shaped Ireland during the first twenty years of the 20th Century, as well as the role many Irish people played in both WW1 and WW2.

Our trip started with Glasnevin Cemetery, with its exquisite head stones and memorial gardens. We enjoyed a very captivating tour where we learned about several Irishprominent figures that played a huge role in Irish history. Daniel O’Connell is best known for his contributions to Catholic Emancipation and Law as he was a great lawyer and what we would now call a ‘human rights activist.’ We entered a tower in the cemetery where his body lies and we were given the opportunity to touch his coffin. Within the tower there was writing on the walls of Daniel O’Connell’s last words “My Body to Ireland, Heart to Rome, Soul to Heaven”. He died of a stroke aged 72 and, taking his words literally, his heart was sent to Rome. However, when the building it was in was searched, it was not there and still to this day has still not been found.

We also learned about Charles Stewart Parnell, an Irish Nationalist politician and one of the most powerful figures in the British House of Commons in the 1880’s. He wanted to be buried with normal men and women which is what he got as he is buried in a collar pit with 11638 people in the grave with him. We also learnt about more historical figures and events and had the opportunity to see the memorial for all the soldiers that were awarded the VC in WW1.

We were accompanied by our own historians; one a previous Commandant of 2nd Battalion and one from Ireland, who took us through the city where we visited a memorial garden where the Queen laid the wreath to commemorate soldiers who laid down their lives in war. We also enjoyed some free time in the city to do what we wanted before meeting back up to continue our learning. 

We also went to Phoenix Park where we saw the Wellington monument and memorials to commemorate Irish soldiers who fought in WW1 and WW2. The memorial garden was very pretty and we really enjoyed it, and to make it better we got ice cream too!

As part of the trip, we also went on a very interesting and unique history bus tour. It was an old fashioned Army style bus, with the driver and guide both dressed in the uniforms that were worn around the time of the Easter Rising. The bus took us through the city, explaining the different battles and strategy of the Rising and really brought those few days to life. We were taken to buildings that had bullet holes on the walls, given rifles and guns that were used at the time and saw photos and other memorabilia of the time. During this tour we also visited Dublin Castle and were told more about the events which happened there.

Throughout the entire trip we were cared for massively as we were given the opportunity to visit all these places and learn more about the events that still shape our society today, and to learn about the role Irish soldiers played in both World Wars. We had time to think and talk about our experience and what we learned, and enjoyed a really lovely meal together at the Skylon Hotel on the Saturday evening before staying at the youth hostel overnight.

We are all really grateful to have been given the opportunity to enjoy the educational trip to Dublin.

Cadet CSM Jones, Sunnyside Detachment, H company
Cadet Sgt McAlpine, Gransha Detachment, G Company