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Monday, 25th March 2024

Ledwidge Museum Committee thank Cllr Wayne Harding for years of support

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Cllr Wayne Harding with museum Chairperson Terry Wogan, President Rosemary Yore and members of the committee at the museum on Saturday. 

Members of the Ledwidge Museum Committee gathered at the museum at Janeville last Saturday to say a big thank you to Councillor Wayne Harding for his work for the museum over many years.

Museum Chairperson Terry Wogan said the councillor, a son of the village, had been a constant source of good for the museum and its committee. He said Cllr. Harding had been educated in the village and had grown up with the poetry of Francis Ledwidge.

He was one of the members of the County Council who had travelled to Belgium in 2017 with Ledwidge family members and museum supporters to mark the centenary of Ledwidge’s death. That had been a very solemn occasion when people from Ireland were able to hold a wake for the deceased poet.

As part of the centenary celebrations, supported by Meath County Council, Cllr Harding’s family had given permission for the erection of a plaque commemorating the poet on the wall of the family pub The Village Inn.

Mr Wogan said that the councillor had also kindly donated finance from his discretionary fund towards the upkeep of the museum. He had also lobbied for the committee at County Council level and while former chief executives Jackie Maguire and Fiona Lawless had the importance of the museum to the forefront of their minds, they were very generous when it came to tangible supports for the museum.

When it came to formulating grant applications, Cllr Harding had never been found wanting and was always available for advice whenever the committee called on him, he said.

Cllr Harding replied that it was the job of local public representatives to represent the people of their area in every way possible and there was nothing more important in Slane than the Ledwidge Museum. The museum was a stunning and very important place for Meath and he knew that it took real efforts to establish the museum in its early years. He singled out the late Peter and Pearl Baxter (parents of the museum’s current President Rosemary Yore) and Sergeant John Clarke for their work at that time.

“In the celebrations in 2017 there was proper recognition of the poet and all the community workers associated with his name. When the museum was starting off, the Ledwidge family cottage was a rundown shack and was gradually brought to the stunning place it is today. What a lovely place to come to”, he said.

“We knew that we had a nugget in Slane based on the memory of the poet and it grew and grew by a hard slog by community people.”

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