Plaques for stargazer, poet and feis founders

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The founders of the famous Derry and Londonderry feiseanna are to be honoured with Ulster History Circle Blue Plaques after councillors approved thousands of pounds towards the memorials.

Mrs E.H. O’Doherty, one of the founders of Feis Dhoíre Cholmcille in 1922 and Brigadier General Ambrose Ricardo (1866 - 1923), who co-founded its counterpart, the Londonderry Feis, a year later, were selected for the accolades as part of plans to commemorate local notables from the Derry and Strabane area between now and 2021.

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee approved £4,000 towards five new plaques over the next five years. Mrs. O’Doherty’s memorial will be erected outside her former home in Francis Street, while Mr. Ricardo’s will be in Sion Mills.

A plaque is also planned for Francis Ledwidge (1887 - 1917), the Irish poet and soldier, who was famously stationed in Ebrington Barracks in 1916 prior to his death in Flanders a year later.

Annie Russell Maunder (1868 - 1947), the Irish astronomer and mathematician, who has a crater on the moon named after her, is going to get a plaque in Strabane. And Dorothy Parke (1904 - 1990), a teacher and composer, whose pieces are still performed at the Derry Feis will also be remembered.

SDLP Councillor John Boyle said he was delighted to support the five year programme of commemorations.

”It’s important to reflect upon and to highlight the contributions local people have made in various fields of endeavour,” he said.

He said he hoped the Ulster History Circle Blue Plaque programme would spur others on to similar achievements.

The committee were told that the Ulster History Circle is also considering shipbuilder Captain William Coppin (1805 - 1895) who lived in Sackville Street, and James Redmond Friel (1907 - 1979), a musician born in Duke Street, as possible future candidates.