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Francis Edward Ledwidge (1887–1917) was a poet from County Meath in Ireland. Despite his support for Irish Home Rule, Ledwidge enlisted in the British army in October 1914 and was killed at Passchendaele on 31 July 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres, having previously served at Gallipoli and in Serbia. The centenary of his death has been widely marked in Ireland, particularly in Ledwidge’s home county. The Lit & Phil are hosting this event to make a small contribution to celebrating the life and work of this Irish war poet one hundred years on. The event will begin with a short talk by Dr James McConnel (Northumbria University) on Ireland’s complex history in relation to the First World War and a brief introduction to Ledwidge by Dr Ann-Marie Einhaus (Northumbria University). These will be followed by readings from Ledwidge’s poetry and some tribute poems, including Seamus Heaney’s ‘In Memoriam Francis Ledwidge’ and several shorter poems written by school children in Ledwidge’s home town of Slane to mark the centenary of his death, courtesy of Dr Laura O’Brien (Northumbria University). Please join us for a glass of wine or juice to appreciate this fascinating lesser known poet of the war.
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