Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ledwidge Day Sunday 31 July

The annual celebrations of the life and writings of World War I poet Francis Ledwidge will take place on Sunday 31st July, the ninety fourth anniversary of his death. Two events have just come to my attention and you can actually attend both.

There is a wreath laying ceremony and poetry reading in the National War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, Dublin at 12 noon. The guest speaker is the long time custodian on the War Memorial Park, David McFarlane Johnson. This event is sponsored by the Inchicore Ledwidge Society.

Then at 5.30 in the evening the Meath celebration takes place in Slane Castle on the banks of the River Boyne, home to the Conyngham family since 1701. The event begins with a Reception in the splendid Entrance Hall at 5.30pm. sharp. This will be followed by a short talk on the history of Slane Castle.

The Special Guest is Gerard Smyth, poet, Irish Times journalist and Aosdána member. The title of Gerard’s talk is ‘It must be lovely down in Wilkinstown’. On sharing common ground with Ledwidge, the talk will link Ledwidge’s love of the bog of Wilkinstown, Lizzie Healy and Gerard’s own roots in this rural Meath village. Gerard spent the summers of his childhood and teen years there with his grandmother on the farm, including working on the bog, and wrote his first poems there at age 17.

Frances Mulley, international poetry reader from Belfast will read and also from Limavaddy, Co. Derry, Bobby Forrest will sing and recite some Ledwidge poems. From Drogheda, Michael Holohan, Composer and Aosdána member, together with Miriam St Lawrence mezzo-soprano will perform for the first time Michael’s composition of Lament for Thomas McDonagh. Classical Flautist Julie Maisel-Doyle will perform and poet Susan Connolly will read her poem on Francis Ledwidge. Traditional Irish music will be provided by a very talented group of musicians from North County Dublin.

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