Ulster Tower Tours
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Also known as Helen’s Tower, Ulster Tower is a memorial dedicated to the Irishmen who lost their lives on the Somme battlefields in France in World War I. Built in 1921 thanks to funds collected by public subscription, Ulster Tower is an exact replica of the famous white-washed, 70 feet (21 metres) high stone memorial on the 36th Division's training ground in Belfast, where many soldiers of the Ulster Division trained before moving to France in order to attack a German strongpoint named Schwaben Redoubt, just a little further north-east of where Ulster Tower stands today. The battle site was a triangle of trenches of 500–600 yards (460–550 meters) long and 200 yards (180 meters) wide; the Ulster men captured the redoubt on July 1, 1916, suffering casualties of roughly 5,000.
Designed in neo-Gothic style, the memorial site features a plaque commemorating the names of the men who won the Victoria Cross during the Somme battles. Ulster Tower contains a small memorial room, with plaques of remembrance from regiments and public authorities in Northern Ireland as well as a Book of Remembrance for visitors to sign. A visitor center opened next to the Tower in the 1990s, providing insightful and contextual information to World War I buffs.The inscription on the memorial reads: "This Memorial is Dedicated to the Men and Women of the Orange Institution Worldwide, who at the call of King and country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of the sight of man by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in Freedom. Let those who come after see to it that their names be not forgotten."
Ulster Tower is located in Thiepval, France. It can be reached by car from Lille in just over an hour via routes A1and D929. Entry is free of charge and there is ample parking on-site.
Address: Route de Saint Pierre-Divion, Thiepval, France
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