The Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation was originally constructed by the British Army as a barracks in 1806. They were built in response to the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and the French Wars of 1793 – 1815 (which gravely threatened the security of the British and Irish establishment), as the British believed that the mountains held many United Irishmen who would side with the French. In 1815, at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the building was vacated by the British Army. In 1858 the buildings were then converted into St Kevin’s Reformatory School which was operated by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) until 1940. During WWI (1914-18) it was used to house German prisoners of war and during the WWII, (1939–45) ,when Ireland was neutral, Glencree housed German air force pilots who crashed in Ireland as well as German agents who were captured trying to plan anti-British activities with the IRA. Under Operation Shamrock the Irish Red Cross and the French Sisters of Charity cared for German and Polish war orphans from 1945 to 1950. Beside the centre is the interesting Glencree German War Cemetery where 134 graves are located. The ‘Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation’ was opened in 1975 to foster better relations between the two communities in Northern Ireland. It currently runs a broad range of programmes aimed at bringing various actors from global conflict zones to the valley.

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