‘Poet of the blackbirds’ — the life and death of Francis Ledwidge

Published in Hedge School Recordings

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@ Richmond Barracks gymnasium, Inchicore, Dublin 8. 7pm Thurs 27 July

‘[I was] astonished by the brilliance of that eye and that had looked at the fields of Meath and seen there all the simple birds and flowers, with a vividness which made those pages like a magnifying glass, through which one looked at familiar things for the first time.’

So wrote Lord Dunsany, patron of the poet, Francis Ledwidge. How had this self-educated labourer, the eighth of nine children, who left school at 13, emerged as one of Ireland’s most notable war poets? What were the contradictions in the life of this trade unionist, Gaelic Leaguer and Irish Volunteer, who ended up joining the Royal Enniskilling Fusiliers and dying in the Third Battle of Ypres on 31 July 1917. To discuss these and related matters History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, was joined for a lively round table discussion with Michael O’Flanagan, Eunan O’Halpin, Miriam O’Gara-Kilmurray, and Liam O’Meara.

Three of Ledwidge’s poems set to music were performed by Mezzo soprano Miram O’Gara-Kilmurry, accompanied by Irish composer and pianist Michael Holohan and Rebecca Draisey-Collishaw on the cor anglais (English Horn).

Supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs

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