The Great War (World War I) has etched its memory into the lives of the people of the Northern Ireland town of Carrickfergus. As a show of appreciation to the local lives lost in the century-old conflict, this mural was commissioned in 2014. It shows a lone soldier standing solemnly beside a single cross raised over a field of poppies as the sun sets beyond. The foreground flowers are made of wood to create a 3D effect, and there are 312 in all, one for each local life lost during the war.
The poppy symbol has become a powerful symbol of remembrance across the United Kingdom and the world, with thousands sold each year to raise money for charities. The poppy was a common sight along the Western Front, as they flourished in the disturbed soil where fighting and shelling occurred. It was popularized as a symbol as a result of Canadian doctor John McCrae’s inspirational poem “In Flanders Fields,” which in wrote while serving in Ypres (Belgium) in 1915. And then in 1921, American humanitarian Moina Michael campaigned successfully to make it a more official symbol of remembrance.
The mural was painted by local artist Gary Orr, who has created many pieces of art and business signs in the local area and beyond. The painting was also sponsored by the local council, as well as many local businesses and the community group known as Dalriada, which helps teach about local heritage and culture.
Know Before You Go
The mural is located in Carrickfergus Town Centre, along North Street, a five-minute walk from Carrickfergus Castle and 10 minutes from the train station.