Centenary events launched to mark the death of war poet Francis Ledwidge

National day of commemoration to remember death of poet killed at Passchendaele

A national day of commemoration will be held to mark the centenary of the death of the poet Francis Ledwidge, who was killed in the first World War.

The day, which will be held in late June, is likely to focus on Ledwidge's home village of Slane, in Co Meath. An Post will also launch a stamp in his honour around the same time. The village will see the first statue being erected to the memory of Ledwidge, who was killed on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele, July 31st, 1917. Made by the artist Liam Ó Broin, it will stand in a new community garden opposite the Conyngham Arms Hotel. The chairwoman of the Francis Ledwidge museum committee, Rosemary Yore, said they were thrilled that Meath County Council had agreed to fund the statue. "It's been a wish of ours for many years."

The day of commemoration will not take place on the exact centenary as about 100 people, including 50 from the Slane area, will be at Artillery Wood Cemetery in Ypres, where Ledwidge is buried. The poet was killed by a German shell, along with five other men from his regiment, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, while they were working behind the lines.

His Selected Poems, edited by Dermot Bolger, with an introduction by Seamus Heaney that first appeared in The Irish Times in 1992, has been republished in advance of the centenary, and Meath library service is working with Poetry Ireland to commission a new collection dedicated to Ledwidge by Irish poets who have been inspired by his work.


A Francis Ledwidge bursary scheme will be open to emerging writers from across Ireland, in conjunction with the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, at Annaghmakerrig, Co Monaghan.

Slane Castle is hosting a seminar on Ledwidge, poetry and the first World War on October 14th. There will also be a Ledwidge theme to the Hinterland festival of literature and arts, in Kells, between June 22nd and 25th. Bolger, a long-time champion of the poet, will speak about the spirit of Ledwidge. It will also feature the broadcaster and author Myles Dungan and the academic Nerys Williams.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times