Blue plaque unveiled for Francis Ledwidge

Mayor Maoliosa McHugh with Catherine Diggett right) and Eileen Ledwidge-Wilson (left)  great nieces, at the unveiling of blue plaque to Francis Ledwidge at Ebrington Square. Also included are Professor Gerard Dawe, TCD and from right, Rosemary Yore and Chris Spurr, UHC. 
(Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)
Mayor Maoliosa McHugh with Catherine Diggett right) and Eileen Ledwidge-Wilson (left)  great nieces, at the unveiling of blue plaque to Francis Ledwidge at Ebrington Square. Also included are Professor Gerard Dawe, TCD and from right, Rosemary Yore and Chris Spurr, UHC. (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)

Relatives of renowned soldier and poet Francis Ledwidge gathered in Derry on Friday to witness the unveiling of a Blue Plaque dedicated to him at Ebrington Square.

Ledwidge, often referred to as the ‘Poet of the Blackbird’, was stationed at Ebrington Barracks in the city in 1916 during his time served with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

He is thought to have written many of his most famous pieces of poetry there, alongside his patron and mentor, Lord Dunsany.

Ledwidge was born in Slane, County Meath in 1887. Best remembered for his lament for Thomas McDonagh, June and Behind the Closed Eye, he had one book published during his lifetime - ‘Songs of the Fields’.

Lord Dunsany arranged that further collections of Ledwidge’s work be published after his death in 1917 in Belgium during the Battle of Passchendaele, including a book titled ‘Songs of Peace’ and ‘Last Songs’.

The new plaque, which marks the 100th anniversary of his death, was unveiled on Friday afternoon at Building 46 in Ebrington.

Mayor of Derry City & Strabane District Council Maoliosa McHugh was joined at the event by Catherine Diggett and Eileen Ledwidge-Wilson, great nieces of the late poet.

The Ulster History Circle and Derry City and Strabane District Council are currently working in partnership on a blue plaque programme to ensure the history and heritage of the city and district are remembered and that figures such as Francis Ledwidge are recognised for their positive contribution to the area.

Speaking ahead of the launch Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle said: “Francis Ledwidge was both a published poet and a seasoned soldier when he arrived at Ebrington in 1916. Throughout his life and in his work, he displayed integrity towards all that he undertook, and he continues to be an inspiration.”

The Ulster History Circle and Derry City and Strabane District Council will launch a further series of Blue Plaques over the next five years dedicated to: Annie Russell Maunder (1868 - 1947), an Irish astronomer and mathematician; Mrs E.H. O’Doherty, founder of the Féis Dhoíre Cholmcílle; Brigadier General Ambrose Ricardo (1866 - 1923) and Dorothy Parke (1904 - 1990), teacher and composer.