The Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the Duke of Cambridge, and Princess Astrid of Belgium will jointly attend commemorations for the Battle of Messines Ridge in Belgium today (Wednesday). The visit marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the historic battle, which was hugely symbolic as it was the first time that the 16th (Irish) and 36th (Ulster) Divisions fought alongside each other during the First World War.
The Taoiseach will first visit the grave of Major William Redmond, who was MP for East Clare, in Locre. Following this, Mr Kenny will then join the Duke of Cambridge and Princess Astrid at the Island of Ireland Peace Park for a commemorative ceremony, jointly organised by the Irish and UK Governments, in partnership with the Mayor of Messines. The Park is a memorial to the 50,000 Irish war dead.
This commemorative event will include a wreath laying ceremony, readings by members of the Irish Defence Forces and British Army representatives as well as musical contributions by the Royal Band of the Belgian Navy. The Taoiseach, the Duke and Princess Astrid will lay wreaths at the Round Tower in the Park before meeting invited guests, including descendants of those who fought at the Battle.