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Blue plaque in memory of war poet to be unveiled in Derry

A commemorative blue plaque to the memory of war poet, Francis Ledwidge will be unveiled in Derry.
Seamus McKinney

A blue plaque in memory of Irish war poet, Francis Ledwidge will be unveiled in Derry later this week.

A native of County Meath, Ledwidge was killed during the Battle of Passchendaele on July 31 1917. The centenary of his death will be marked in Derry on Friday with the unveiling of a blue plaque at the former Ebrington Barracks where he served for a period as a soldier.

One of Ireland's foremost poets, Ledwidge is sometimes referred to as the “poet of the blackbird.” One of his best-known works is a lament for his friend and executed Easter Rising leader, Thomas McDonagh. Following his death, his patron and friend, Lord Dunsany published further collections of his work under the titles “Songs of Peace” and “Last Songs.”

Injured in early 1916, the Irish poet was sent to Ebrington Barracks in Derry for a period before being sent back to France and ultimately his death.

Chairman of the Ulster History Circle, Chris Spurr said the decision to erect a blue commemorative plaque in Ledwidge's honour at Building Number 46 in Ebrington came through a partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council.

“He displayed integrity towards all that he undertook and he continues to be an inspiration to our age and into the future,” Mr Spurr said.

Derry and Strabane mayor, Maolíosa McHugh said it was important that people who made a positive contribution be remembered.

“Last month we celebrated archaeologist Mabel Colhoun with a blue plaque now stationed at the Tower Museum and this month we celebrate Irish war poet, Francis Ledwidge whose work is highly respected and admired around the world,” Mr McHugh said.

It is believed Ledwidge wrote some of his most famous poems while stationed in Derry.

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