Overview of Events

A showcase of Northern Ireland

2021 marks 100 years since the creation of Northern Ireland, which has paved the way for the formation of the United Kingdom as we know it today.

A programme of activity has been designed in consultation with historians, cultural experts and the people of Northern Ireland to mark the centenary with respect and inclusivity.

Elements will reflect on the past, on the people and developments that make Northern Ireland the great place it is today, but the programme will also focus on the present and the future.

Through a series of engaging events and activities the contribution of people from all communities, at home and elsewhere in the world, to the modern day Northern Ireland will be recognised. This includes the significant contribution of all those who have worked to support Northern Ireland throughout the COVID pandemic.

The centenary will also highlight the benefits of the Union to Northern Ireland - one which embraces the diverse perspectives and identities within the four nations of the UK. Our Story in the Making programme includes:

A Shared History Fund

Working in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, £1m has been awarded to 39 community projects across Northern Ireland, to research and demonstrate what 100 years of Northern Ireland has meant to them and their community. Projects will mark the Centenary in an inclusive way, giving a wide range of people the opportunity to participate and understand the key events and history which made Northern Ireland the place it is today.

Historic Centenary Event

Belfast City Council will host an event marking the hundredth anniversary of the opening of the Northern Ireland Parliament on 22 June 1921, by King George V. This event will take place in the Council Chamber, exactly one hundred years on from this historic occasion.

Building Back Greener

Every school in Northern Ireland will be presented with a native tree, to plant in their grounds. Each school will be encouraged to video their planting ceremony and share with the world, via ourstoryinthemaking.com, their moment in marking the centenary and working towards a greener future. An offer letter and details of how to apply for a tree will be sent to schools in early September.

Our Future Northern Ireland

An extensive young people’s programme exploring what the future will look like in the next 100 years, and how they can shape it to become the nation they want it to be. Working in partnership with Youth Action Northern Ireland across the mediums of live performance, radio and social media the young people of Northern Ireland will engage and showcase their hopes and ambitions for Northern Ireland’s next 100 years.

Launch of the ‘Centenary Rose’

A unique flower of reflection and hope, produced in Northern Ireland for the centenary and planted in the gardens of Hillsborough to flower throughout the summer of 2021 and beyond. A Centenary Rose will be presented to Her Majesty the Queen for her own garden, and there will be a decorative rose pin designed and produced in the UK, to be worn by VIPs at centenary events, and given to programme participants. A small number will also be available to purchase in exchange for a charity donation.


Throughout 2021, buildings across the United Kingdom will be lit during significant events to mark the Centenary Year.

Academic Events

Working in partnership with an expert Historical Advisory Panel and academic institutions including Queens’ University Belfast. A Reflection of the Government of Ireland Act, through further events which seek to explore and deepen our understanding of the historical context of the centenary.

Marking the Centenary

In partnership with Royal Mail and the Post Office, a special postmark reading “Our Story in the Making - Northern Ireland Beyond 100’, will be applied to stamped mail sent around the world. Stamped mail across the UK will receive the postmark from 26 April to 3 May. From 3-29 May, stamped mail originating in NI will have the postmark applied. Promotion of the 2021 Northern Ireland, First and Second Class stamps will be showcased in Post Offices around the UK.

Build Back Better

London will play host to a Northern Ireland 2021 Business Showcase. Companies and organisations from across Northern Ireland will promote their products, services and expertise; networking and meeting with international companies, governments and investors to showcase the very best on offer to boost exports and investment into Northern Ireland.

From Northern Ireland

A dedicated cultural programme showcasing the talents and contribution of those from Northern Ireland. Encompassing communications activity and a series of live and on-line events to promote and highlight the talents and skills of people from Northern Ireland; from doctors and teachers, contributors to the Covid-19 efforts, to writers and artists, actors, singers, poets and dancers. As part of ‘Our Story in the Making: NI Beyond 100’ campaign, this strand will run from May to September, culminating in a VIP reception and public centenary concert.

Hosted by the Churches

An International Service for all denominations in the autumn.