Exhibition Brings War Poet Francis Ledwidge Back to Former Derry Barracks

New artworks created to mark 100 years since the Irish soldier's death go on display at Ebrington site where he was once stationed

A new contemporary visual arts exhibition exploring the life and work of poet Francis Ledwidge has opened at the Nerve Visual Gallery, Ebrington, in Derry~Londonderry.

A Name Unmade: Francis Ledwidge (1887-1917) features work by six contemporary visual artists presented in response to the Meath poet in the centenary year of his death.

Famously remembered as Ireland’s soldier poet, Francis Ledwidge was stationed at Ebrington Barracks for a period in 1916 before being posted back to the Western Front in January 1917. During his time in Derry~Londonderry, he wrote some of his most famous poems about the events of the Easter Rising. He died on July 31 1917 during the third battle of Ypres in Belgium.

The exhibition, curated by Sabina Mac Mahon and Declan Sheehan, travels to Nerve Visual following its launch at the Solstice Arts Centre in Navan earlier this year. Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation Fund, it aims to re-introduce Ledwidge, his life story and poetry to the public by exploring the conjoined themes of love and loss that were central to his work.


A mix of paintings, photography and sculpture will be on display from artists Patricia Burns, David Farrell, Clare Langan, Mick O’Dea, Niamh O’Malley and Sasha Sykes. There is also a Creative Centenaries interactive zone with animations, graphic novels, an interactive exhibition and multi-screen projection of archive footage.

David Lewis, Director of Communications at the Nerve Centre, said: 'Nerve Visual is delighted to be hosting an exhibition exploring the life and legacy of Francis Ledwidge in Derry~Londonderry in the centenary year of his death and at a location where Ledwidge was once stationed.

'The exhibition is also a unique opportunity for the public and young people to engage with the Creative Centenaries project including an interactive version of the #MakingHistory exhibition that ran at the Ulster Museum during 2016.'

A Name Unmade: Francis Ledwidge (1887-1917) is open from July 5 at Nerve Visual Gallery in Ebrington and is free to attend. Pop-up family activities will take place in the Creative Centenaries exhibition space every weekend. For more information visit www.creativecentenaries.org.

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Ledwidge, standing on left, aged 15, with staff at Slane Castle

Meanwhile on Thursday July 20, a celebratory concert in Enniskillen will reflect on Ledwidge’s life and death as a soldier through readings of his poetry and recitals of music inspired by his words.

Commencing at 7.30pm in St Macartin’s Cathedral, the two-part concert will feature descendants of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers with whom Ledwidge served, and will conclude with a reading of Seamus Heaney's emotive poem ‘In Memoriam – Francis Ledwidge’ by renowned actor Adrian Dunbar.

Though the event is free, numbers are limited and it is advised to book in advance by contacting Inniskillings Museum at info@inniskillingsmuseum.com or 028 6632 3142.