Southern Ireland honours the three and a half thousand men who lost their lives at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. This was the first time that commemorations of the lives lost took place in the Republic of Ireland.

Ceremonies took place in Dublin and across Europe to mark the ninetieth anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. This was the largest ever Defence Forces involvement in ceremonies marking World War One. President McAleese and the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern joined relatives of the dead and dignitaries at a wreath-laying ceremony at the War Memorial at Islandbridge in Dublin to honour those who died in the battle. 

A tribute to his Irish fighters by the Allied Commander, Marshall Foch was read.

We shall try to ensure that the generations that come after us shall never forget the heroic dead of Ireland.

President McAleese and eight ambassadors laid wreaths, as did the British Legion and the head of the Northern Ireland civil service.

RTÉ News spoke to some of those present who said there was a sense of history about the occasion, with one woman commenting

They certainly didn't deserve to be forgotten.

The full ceremony was transmitted live on RTÉ One.

An RTÉ News report by Joe O'Brien broadcast on 1 July 2006.