Celebrating 50 Years of Peacebuilding & Reconciliation work at Glencree

 

Founders, Volunteers, Board & Staff Gather at Glencree For A Re-Union

08/7/24: A special re-union weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation (Glencree) and acknowledge the contribution of the many volunteers who were part of Glencree’s history took place from 5 – 7 July 2024.

Over 60 volunteers who contributed to the work of Glencree throughout the 1970’s, 80's and 90's joined founder members, Glencree Board members and the staff team to mark five decades of peace and reconciliation work. This first in a series of celebratory events focused primarily on the founding and early decades of Glencree.

Highlights of the weekend included reflections by founders of the Glencree community, led by Ian White, Geoffrey Corry and Charles Greenstead. Together with the volunteers, they shared memories and stories from the 1970’s on how the Centre started, it's early years as a multi-denominational centre and the programme projects and peace education work that took place in that time. Volunteers from the 1980’s remembered the work in developing Glencree as an environmental farm that welcomed visiting school groups. Reflecting on the revitalisation of the Centre in the 1990’s, the group also talked about the key role Glencree played in the lead up to the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement and throughout the peace process, as well as the development of Glencree’s facilitated dialogue programmes.

Other key highlights included a gathering that was facilitated by Glencree resident artist Margaret Fitzgibbon to repair the heart mosaic on the grass bank at the Centre. This artwork, which was the genesis of the Glencree logo, was first created by Glencree staff, volunteers and friends over a three-year period from 2002-05 as part of the ‘Lets Involve the Victims Experience’ (LIVE) programme. CEO Naoimh McNamee remarked: "It was very moving and symbolic that so many people from the past and present came together and worked alongside each other to repair the Glencree heart. The stories and conversations flowed, there was a great sense of solidarity and shared purpose, and despite the rain showers, it was clear to see how much Glencree means to so many - then, now and for the future."

A tree-planting ceremony was held in memory of the many Glencree friends, colleagues and volunteers over the years, including James McLoughlin, who together with his wife Sarah, contributed so much to Glencree throughout the 1980's. Reflecting the spirit of hospitality that has always been a hallmark of the Glencree experience and celebrating the unique setting and environment, the weekend included music and song, walks on the grounds and surrounds, and meals provided by the on-site Armoury Café.

Further events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Glencree will continue throughout the year.

Ends.

#glencree4peace #glencree50