Northern Ireland Centenary – Hope and Reflection

Thursday 21st October 2021

A service was held on Thursday 21st October to mark the formation of Northern Ireland at Saint Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh. Those in attendance shared in a service of reflection where speakers recognised the impact of the past, as well as looking outward to the future.

In attendance, amongst the 150 guests were The Prime Minister of The United Kingdom, Mr. Boris Johnston; Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence in Irish Government, Simon Coveney; DUP leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson; and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, to name a few.

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II was unable to attend following medical advice. On behalf of everyone, best wishes to Her Majesty were conveyed by The Dean of Armagh, Rev Shane Forster. We would like to echo these well wishes to Her Majesty.

Head Girl, Lucy Addis composed and delivered a thought-provoking speech during the service that emphasised the importance of togetherness and foresight so that we can move forward into the next 100 years and beyond.

Head Girl, Lucy Addis, delivers a message of Hope and Reflection during the service.

Lucy’s speech

“It is my hope that the bridges built by individuals on this small piece of earth will continue to strengthen into the future, and that the diverse patchwork of cultures for whom this place is home will continue to grow in mutual respect and understanding for one another. My generation has only ever known peace, and we should all aspire to learn more about our cultures in order to form harmonious friendships that will last for the next 100 years and beyond.

I hope that we can focus on moving forward, striving towards crafting a future that offers more opportunities for young people than ever before, as we continue to push the boundaries of our achievements. This future must amplify our values of inclusivity and tolerance, encompassing the young, the old and everyone in between.

We all breathe the same air, we all walk under the same trees, we all marvel at the majestic mountains and coastal landscapes we are so privileged to call our own – now, more than ever, we need to come together to ensure our little corner and indeed the whole planet is conserved for future generations.”

Lucy was also interviewed by BBC Journalist, Tara Mills.

Lucy Addis being interviewed for The BBC.

After the service, Lucy shared her thoughts:

“I feel very strongly about the importance of promoting a positive message of togetherness, so it was a great honour to be asked to speak at The Service of Reflection and Hope. The experience has given me memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.”

The leaders of Ireland’s main churches, including the Chairman of The Board of Governors of The Royal School, The Most Reverend John McDowell, delivered their personal reflections during the centenary service and children from various other schools provided hope and ambitions for their futures.

The Headmaster. Mr. G. G. W. Montgomery commented:

“Yesterday’s service was a lovely way to mark a significant event in history in a way which provided space to worship, reflect and dedicate ourselves to a future of respect and understanding. We are so pleased that Lucy Addis was able to participate in such a meaningful way. Her piece on aspirations for the future, which she composed herself, captured perfectly the hopes of young people for the future.”

Also representing The Royal School was AS Music student, Laura Lau, who performed as part of the EA Music Service’s Celtic Group. 

AS Music Student, Laura Lu performed the violin.

The Order of Service from the Centenary Service

The significance of the event has been well reported throughout mainstream media and was live on BBC One. The two-hour-long coverage can be watched on the BBC iPlayer for 1 year from the date that it was aired and can be accessed by clicking here.