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The life and poetry of the Slane poet Francis Ledwidge will be explored at a seminar in Slane Castle next month to mark the centenary of his death - the seminar will take place on Saturday 14th October and tickets are €20 (including lunch and refreshments) - available from Solstice Arts Centre or Francis Ledwidge museum

Date Released: 11 October 2017

 Original Release Date:  21/09/2017


The life and poetry of the Slane poet Francis Ledwidge will be explored at a seminar in Slane Castle next month to mark the centenary of his death.

The seminar on Saturday 14th October – titled Francis Ledwidge: Poetry and the First World War 1917-2017 - is being organised jointly by Meath County Council and the Francis Ledwidge Museum Committee.  The book A Bittern Cry, a testament to Francis Ledwidge the man and poet, edited by Tom French, and with an introduction by Professor Gerald Dawe will be launched. It includes a collection of essays and poetic contributions from 19 writers. The book is published by Meath County Council, Poetry Ireland/Éigse Éireann and the Francis Ledwidge Museum.

Cllr Gerry O’Connor, Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council and Rosemary Yore, Chairperson of the Francis Ledwidge Museum Committee will deliver addresses of welcome to the seminar at 9.45am (registration from 9am) and Eiléan Ni Chuilleanáin, Ireland Professor of Poetry will perform the official opening.

The first session – The Poetry of Francis Ledwidge: Irish and British Contexts – will be chaired by Professor Dawe, Trinity College, and include contributions by Lucy Collins (Ledwidge Country), Jim Haughey (‘The helpless child of circumstance?’ – Ledwidge’s poems about enlistment), Terry Philips (The Experience of War), and Nerys Williams (Poet(s) of the Black Chair: Reading Hedd Wyn with Francis Ledwidge).

Philip Orr will chair a section entitled “Francis Ledwidge’s War” and contributors will include Myles Dungan (Ledwidge the Warrior), Frank Ledwidge (The Attack on Kidney Hill, 15th August 1915).

Author Peter Fallon will chair a reading of Ledwidge’s poems, with contributions by Gerald Dawe, Eiléan Ni Chuilleanáin, Philip Orr and Gerard Smyth. An open forum discussion, chaired by Myles Dungan and including Fran Brearton, Tom French and Frank Ledwidge will take place just before the launch of A Bittern Cry. Violinist Julieanne Forrest will perform at the book launch.

Tickets (priced €20, including lunch and refreshments) are available from Solstice Arts Centre, Railway Street, Navan, Co Meath on 046-9092300, or online at, or alternatively please contact Francis Ledwidge Museum on 041-9824544 or  


Seminar Contributors:

Fran Brearton is a Professor of Modern Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast, and Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre.

Lucy Collins is a lecturer in English Literature at University College Dublin.

Gerald Dawe is an Irish poet and Professor Emeritus and Fellow of Trinity College Dublin.

Myles Dungan is a writer and broadcaster. He presents the RTE Radio 1 programme 'The History Show' and the weekly radio column 'On This Day'.

Tom French’s books are published by The Gallery Press. His awards include the Dermot Healy Prize 2015 and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2002.

Jim Haughey teaches English at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina.

Frank Ledwidge is a barrister and lecturer at Portsmouth University. He is a former Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy Reserve and has served in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Terry Phillips is an honorary research fellow at Liverpool Hope University, where she was formally Dean of Arts and Humanities.

Nerys Williams lectures in American Literature at UCD.

Eiléan Ni Chuilleanáin is an Emeritus Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, and currently Ireland Professor of Poetry (2016-19). 

Philip Orr is based in Carrickfergus, Co.Antrim.  He is a community project worker, specialising in oral history and the role of drama. 

Peter Fallon is a member of Aosdána and Honorary Member of the RHA, he lives in Loughcrew in County Meath where he farmed for many years. 

Gerard Smyth is a member of Aosdána and Poetry Editor of The Irish Times.


For further information please contact:

Heritage Section,

Meath County Council


Tel:     046 9097407


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