Wednesday 19 February 2014

Monaghan seeks descendants of Belgian WW1 refugees

Clogher Historical Society is trying to find the descendants of 15 Belgian WW1 refugees who found safety and a welcome in Monaghan Town in 1914.

The group, which included one child, arrived at Monaghan train station on 30 October of that year and were housed in the town's recently converted military barracks.

They were the first residents of what became known as Belgian Square; furniture, clothing and money was donated by local people to help them adjust to their temporary home. They lived there for four years, many of them working in the town as embroiderers, before returning to Belgium when hostilities ended.

Their exact place of origin is not known, although it is thought they were from the Mechelen (Malines) area to the south of Antwerp.

Clogher Historical Society is planning to mark the 100th anniversary of the refugees' arrival by inviting their descendants to the Town later this year.

If you have any connection to the Belgian refugees, or have any details that may help the Society to identify and locate the families, please make contact via the Society's website.

You can find out a bit more in this RTE piece.