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Francis Ledwidge was born outside the village of Slane, Co. Meath in 1887. Born into poverty and hardship he began writing poetry as a schoolboy but as his talent emerged he was taken under the patronage of Lord Dunsany, a local aristocrat. Lord Dunsany introduced him to the Irish Literary Circle which included, amongst others, W.B. Yeats. Francis enlisted in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers during the Great War and went down in that vast maelstrom of Passchendaele on 31 July 1917. Accompanying his verse are images of Ledwidge’s simple birds taken from Birds of Great Britain and Ireland by A.G. Butler and My Ireland, in which Lord Dunsany wrote a chapter about Francis Ledwidge. To find out more about his life and work visit Libraries NI JSTOR Ireland Collection - a digital library of academic journals, books and other material. It includes the contents of over 70 journals of Irish interest from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. This fully searchable resource is available from the Libraries NI network - click here to use JSTOR.
The two images from My Ireland by Lord Dunsany have been reproduced with kind permission by Curtis Brown.