Francis Ledwidge Museum:
The Francis Ledwidge Museum was established in 1982 in the very cottage were Francis Ledwidge was born, in August of 1887. The modest house sits in Janeville, just outside the village of Slane, a few miles west of Drogheda.
Francis Ledwidge was known as the ‘poet of the blackbirds’. He was prolific from before the age of fourteen, even scribbling poems on fences or gate posts when no paper was available, and his passion for the Boyne Valley was noted by those that published his poetry in the Drogheda Independent newspaper.
After enlisting in the 5th battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1914 and shipping out to fight in the Great War, he began to write the war poetry that he would be best known for. His work was well and widely received, continuing to be published even after he was killed in 1917, while preparing for the Third Battle of Ypres.
Lord Dunsany, his patron since 1912 and commander of Ledwidge’s regiment, had introduced him around Dublin, including to W. B. Yeats, and had become close friends with the poet. After his death, Dunsany arranged for more of Ledwidge’s work to be published up until 1919. In 1920, some of his poetry was set to music by song-writer and composer Michael Head.
His birthplace, the cottage itself, has been restored to an authentic example of a 19th century farm labourer’s home and exhibits some of the poet’s possessions from World War I, along with his complete works and various memorabilia from the time. There is also a millennium exhibition that shows many important details from Ledwidge’s life in words and pictures.