The Ballykinlar History Hut

A Shared History & Culture Project, Linking the Past to the Future

Down County Museum is pleased to confirm the receipt of EU PEACE IV funding for the development of the ‘Ballykinlar History Hut’, building positive relations project. The project hopes to consider myths and perceptions of past lives lived within Ballykinlar Camp, offering a unique understanding on how this past links to our future; taking wisdom from what went before, and building it into our future learning while developing approaches to culturally clashing situations.

This project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Primary objectives of the project are: The promotion of positive relations characterised by respect, where cultural diversity is celebrated, and people can live, learn and socialise together, free from prejudice, hate and intolerance.

A strong community engagement programme will be key, and working with our project partners at Queen’s University Belfast, Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis & Living Legacies 1914-18, Public Engagement Centre, we will provide opportunities for sustained, meaningful and purposeful connections between individuals and groups of different backgrounds, on a cross border basis. The project will pay particular attention to minority groups and those who traditionally have been marginalised in society, so that opportunities will be created that allow for a greater degree of participation and integration within modern society. It is hoped that strong local partnerships will be forged, an outcome already greatly supported through previous EU PEACE money programmes.

The Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Councillor Mark Murnin explained ‘The Council is very excited to be working with the CDDA at Queen’s University Belfast to create a shared community resource and archive. This EU funded project will focus on the use of Ballykinlar Camp in the first half of the 20th century, particularly during the period 1914-21, by engaging with local people, digitising 2,000 artefacts and creating a virtual experience for the recreated Ballykinlar History Hut at Down County Museum’.

Marking this Decade of Centenaries, Down County Museum will recreate and provide interpretation of a 1900s period timber ‘Armstrong Hut’, based on an example salvaged from Ballykinlar Camp in 2012. The hut will be recreated in the central courtyard of Down County Museum and made open to the public by September 2019. The ‘history hut’ will be a focal point for the community engagement element of the project, and will enable local people to come together to preserve the memories and heritage of those who lived within the Ballykinlar Camp, telling the stories of its occupants throughout its many periods of use.

The ‘Ballykinlar History Hut’ project will provide the repository for much of the collected narratives, photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and keepsakes, providing access to this significant period in the past, and a vivid picture of what life for soldiers, internees and refugees would have been like.