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Wednesday, 11th October 2017

Ledwidge statue to be unveiled at Slane

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Slane artist Liam O'Broin who ceated the statue of war poet Francis Ledwidge which is to be unveiled on Saturday evening in Slane. Photo: Andy Spearman.

Poet Francis Ledwidge will take his rightful place in the main street of his home village on Saturday when a statue in his image will be unveiled.

Meath County Council commissioned the art work at the instigation of Cllr Wayne Harding and the Francis Ledwidge Museum Committee and the work has been executed by artist Liam O Broin, who lives beside the Ledwidge Museum at Janeville, just outside the village. The art work, in bronze, depicts Ledwidge sitting down and writing a poem into a notebook with a blackbird sitting on his shoulder.

Cathaoirleach of Meath County County Council Cllr Gerry O'Connor along with Ledwidge's relatives, Joe Ledwidge and Dr Frank Ledwidge will perform the unveiling at the Community Garden in Slane at 6pm.

Francis Ledwidge Museum Committee Chairperson Rosemary Yore said that the unveiling was a big occasion for the village and for the committee. She thanked Meath County Council for its generosity in financing the statue.

"I know we have waited a long time for this but at last it is being done and we are delighted” she said. “The council has also promised us six plaques to be erected in honour of Francis over the next few years. Two of these have already been erected and they really stand out in the village".

A large attendance is expected at the ceremony which will follow a seminar at Slane Castle earlier in the day when the life of the poet will be explored. The seminar - Francis Ledwidge: Poetry and the First World War 1917-2017 - is being organised jointly by Meath County Council and the Ledwidge committee. The seminar is now booked out but members of the public can attend the unveiling of the statue in the village.

A book - The Bittern Cry - a testament to Francis Ledwidge, the man and poet, edited by Tom French and with an introduction by Professor Gerald Dawe will be launched at the castle. It includes a collection of essays and poetic contributions from 19 writers. The book is published by Meath County Council, Poetry Ireland/Eigse Eireann and the Francis Ledwidge Museum.

The Slane Community Garden - the statue of Francis Ledwidge will be installed on a plinth on the raised area at the rear.The mural on the gable wall of the building on the left is by Drogheda artist Ciaran Dunlevy.

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