Pages of the Sea

Pages of the Sea

Sunday 11 Nov 2018 - 8:30am to 10:30am

On November 11, 2018, the public is invited to Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea. The commission for 14-18 NOW will see communities gather on beaches across the UK to say thank you and goodbye to the millions of men and women who left their shores during the war, many never to return.

Murlough Beach, 8.30am onwards

On Murlough Beach, County Down from 8.30am the portrait of John McCance from Dundrum, a casualty from the First World War will emerge from the sand. And then, as the tide rises at 10.30am, be washed away as the public take a moment to say a collective goodbye.

Rifleman John McCance was born in Dundrum, enlisted in Downpatrick and died at Passchendaele. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial, along with 35,000 others.

Music will be provided by Mourne Community Choir and the public will be asked to join in by creating silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict.

The National Trust is offering free parking will be available at the main visitor car park at Murlough National Nature Reserve, adjacent to the start of the boardwalk which leads to the beach. The cafe will also be open for hot drinks and refreshments.

Portstewart Strand, 12pm-3.30pm

Between 12pm and 3.30pm, Big Telly Theatre Company are inviting people onto Portstewart Strand to help them create an artwork in the sand using stencils of portraits.  Actors dressed as First World War soldiers can be spotted around the town and a free shuttle bus service will run every 20 minutes from the Promenade in Portstewart town centre to the Strand. The National Trust is offering free car parking on the beach with hot drinks and refreshments available from Harry’s Shack.

Port Bán, Dunree Beach, 2pm-4pm

Port Bán, Dunree beach will also unveil a stunning large scale portrait of Seaman John Buckley from County Cork who lost his life, along with 353 others, on the SS Laurentic after it sank at the mouth of Lough Swilly in 1917.  Built in Belfast, the liner was used by the government to transport gold during the War and sank after she struck mines laid by a German U-Boat. John is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon

Attendees can get involved in stencilling and have the opportunity to hear some of the poems written by the community and view the artwork created by local school children. A free shuttle bus will run every 20 minutes, from Dunree Fort to the beach.

Downhill Beach, 2pm-6pm

The day will finish on Downhill Beach with a large 30m square portrait of First World War Nurse, Rachel Ferguson being completed at 2pm. Rachel was the daughter of John Stewart Ferguson and Annie Ferguson, of Lanebrooke House, Moneymore, County Derry. She died on 26th June 1918 at Bordighera, Italy whilst working for Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. She is buried in Bordighera British Cemetery, Italy.

Members of the public will have a spectacular view of the portrait from Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne with Stendhal Festival and Live Music Now providing music from 2.00 to 4.00pm in the Temple.

Free car parking is available on Downhill Beach with free admission to Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple. A shuttle bus service will run every 15 minutes, from Downhill Beach to the Lion’s Gate at Downhill Demesne, just a ten minute walk from Mussenden Temple.

Poet Carol Ann Duffy has been invited by Boyle to write a new poem, which will be read by individuals, families and communities as they gather on the beaches on November 11. Copies of the poem are available online and will be available at the beaches for those who wish to come together or to offer their own personal contribution.

Get involved and find out more at

Commissioned by 14-18 NOW in partnership with National Trust, Activate Performing Arts, Creative Foundation, Eden Project, National Theatre Scotland, Nerve Centre, Sunderland Culture and Swansea Council.

Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

With additional support from Backstage Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and National Rail.