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Ledwidge Cottage & Museum

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Address: Janeville , Slane, Co. Meath
Telephone: 041-9824544

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Francis Ledwidge was born on 19th August at Slane, Co. Meath, which is about 10km west of Drogheda on the N51. The cottage which was his birthplace has been turned into a museum. Ledwidge has been described as one of the greatest of the Irish poets. Despite having organised the Irish Volunteers in Slane he joined the Royal Enniskillen Fusiliers of the British army in 1914 at the outbreak of World War 1.

His first volume entitled "Songs of the Field", containing 50 poems, was published in 1915. Most of his poetry is focused on nature. Of over 200 poems which he wrote only 9 mention the War. He was very sympathetic with the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising and wrote, perhaps his best known poem, on the death by execution of one of the leaders, Tomás MacDonagh. A plaque in memory of Ledwidge, by the great Cork sculptor, Seamus Murphy, set into a parapet of Slane Bridge.

A verse from the MacDonagh poem is engraved on the plaque.

He shall not hear the bittern cry
In the wild sky, where he is lain,
Nor the voices of the sweeter birds,
Above the wailing of the rain.

The Ledwidge Cottage Museum contains manuscript copies of some of his poems, some original letters, his war medals and other memorabilia. A guide service at the museum is available. Ledwidge was killed at the third battle of Ypres in Belgium on 31st July 1917 and is buried in Paschendale.

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