24/06/17

Minister McEntee lays wreath at special Francis Ledwidge commemorative event in Slane

The Minister for European Affairs, Helen Mc Entee TD, will today (Saturday) lead the official representation at a special State commemoration of the centenary of the death of Lance Corporal Francis Ledwidge, the poet, Irish Volunteer and soldier, who died in the Battle of Passchendaele on 31st July 1917.

The event has been arranged in partnership with Meath County Council and the Francis Ledwidge Museum Committee and comprises a significant cultural element, incorporating poetry, music and readings.  The ceremony will culminate in the formal State commemoration and wreath-laying ceremony, with participation by members of the Defence Forces.

Speaking today, Minister Mc Entee said:

“Francis Ledwidge was a poet, a patriot and first and foremost a proud Meath man. His poetry brought to vivid life the beautiful County Meath countryside which so inspired him as a young man. I am honoured to gather with members of the local community today to pay tribute to his life and his contribution to this country, 100 years after his death.

“Ledwidge lived through some of the most transformative events that shaped the history of Ireland and the modern world; it was a period of immense political, social and cultural change.  Active in labour and public affairs, as an Irish nationalist, Ledwidge was a founder member of the Irish Volunteers in Slane.  He enlisted with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers regiment of the British Army during World War One because, in his own words: ‘she stood between Ireland and an enemy common to our civilisation’.

“His life reminds us of the complex and interwoven narratives surrounding Ireland’s participation in World War One.  Today’s event is important in the context of the Decade of Centenaries, which has allowed us to remember each event as they recurred 100 years ago, and reflect on how each event impacted on the next. Throughout this period of historical reflection, we have expanded our understanding of our tumultuous past.

“I would like to thank Meath County Council and the Francis Ledwidge Museum Committee for their ongoing commitment to the preservation of the legacy of Francis Ledwidge, and for working with the Department of Arts and the Defence Forces in organising today’s event.” 

ENDS

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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