A century-old chessboard once belonging to the uncle of Hollywood actor Martin Sheen is to go on display for the first time in Northern Ireland. Michael Phelan was a member of the IRA who fought in the Irish War of Independence a century ago and was interned at Ballykinlar camp near Belfast. His name was inscribed on the chess set along with a description linking it to the remote beachside spot. It was donated to historians who plan to open a restored and recreated camp hut next year.Mike King, heritage manager at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, said: “It was a desolate place, it was called the world’s end camp, and it was difficult for whoever was there.” The chess set was given by a benefactor from Cork to a major Northern Irish history project run by Mr King.After he was incarcerated, Mr Phelan’s sister, Sheen’s mother, was sent by her parents to stay with some relatives in the US for safety from the British Black and Tans forces. Sheen was born in 1940 and went on to act in television political drama The West Wing and war film Apocalypse Now.Historians are researching the legacy of the Co Down Army base and prison, which would have been covered in barbed wire to keep the prisoners in during the War of Independence in 1920-21. Inmates included future Irish taoiseach Sean Lemass. Internees smuggled a camera in inside a cake. They took Irish lessons, played Gaelic Games and had violin classes. The huts were built in 1914 during World War One for 36th Ulster Division soldiers training for the Western Front. Mr King said: “They had no light in their huts, and they had very simple wooden beds made of planks, it was bad weather, it was muddy.” In 2012, one of the Armstrong huts was taken down and artefacts were found below the structure. The work is funded by the Special European Union Programmes Body through its Peace IV Programme, and the board and the hut will be on display at Down County Museum in April 2020.