Thursday 19 April 2018

Larne marks centenary of UVF gun-running

John King

Thousands of people yesterday took part in a commemoration in Co Antrim to mark the centenary of the Larne gun-running episode of 1914.

Exactly 100 years ago, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) imported tonnes of guns and ammunition to arm the UVF which had vowed to fight English plans to devolve home rule to Ireland.

Estimates vary, but some 25,000 rifles and more than three million rounds of ammunition were landed on April 24 and April 25 1914 – principally from the SS Clyde Valley at Larne, but also though two ports in north Down, Bangor and Donaghadee. The guns and ammunition originated in Germany.

At the time unionists passionately opposed any transfer of powers from Westminster to Dublin – a move which they felt threatened to undermine their way of life.

The introduction of weapons to mainstream Irish politics was quickly echoed throughout the country, with the formation of the Irish Volunteers and a steady acceptance of militarism.

A parade organised by Orange Order Larne District Lodge was held on Thursday – exactly 100 years after the guns were landed. A number of vintage vehicles from the era accompanied the parade with many participants donning period costume. Many of those taking part had come from all parts of Northern Ireland for the event.

Organisers said they felt it was important that an event which shaped part of the region's future was commemorated 100 years on.

Sunday Independent

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