August 13th, 2017

Francis Ledwidge: Centenary of death of Irish WW1 poet. One special stamp released by An Post is glad to let our readers know that the centenary of the death in battle of Ireland’s war poet Francis Ledwidge is being marked with a new postage stamp by An Post. Ledwidge was just 29 when killed by an exploding shell in the Third Battle of Ypres in Belgium in World War I on July 31, 1917.

A native of Slane, Co Meath, he was a nationalist who ended up joining the 10th Irish Division in 1914. The stamp features a portrait of the poet and a photograph of a blackbird.

Ledwidge was born in Slane, County Meath in 1887. He began his working life as a young road labourer and in 1912 won the patronage of Lord Dunsany after sending him copybooks filled with his poetry. Dunsany championed his cause in Irish literary society even introducing him to WB Yeats.

At the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914, Ledwidge enlisted in the 5th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, part of the 10th Irish Division, and was killed at the third battle of Ypres in July 1917, just seventeen days before his thirtieth birthday.

Ledwidge had continued writing poetry throughout his time in the army and his first volume of poetry was published in 1915. A second volume ‘Songs of Peace’ appeared just three months after his death. Ledwidge’s complete poems were published in 1919 and his reputation as a poet, and particularly as a leading war poet, has continued to grow.

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