Ledwidge: Poet, Miner, Soldier At The Source Arts Centre

Meath poet Francis Ledwidge accurately predicted the posthumous fate of the thousands of Irishmen who died in the First World War. He was introduced into our immersion in the poets of the rebellion through his elegy in memory of Thomas McDonagh, with its memorable opening line: “He shall not hear the bittern cry”.


Gerard Humphreys’ play explores the poet’s  personal struggles with war and his early life as a trade union activist in a class ridden society on the eve of revolution. LEDWIDGE presents its subject in the context of his art and politics, bringing to life the adventurous spirit of Ireland’s greatest war poet.

Thurles actor Amy O’Dwyer is cast as Ellie Vaughney, the love interest and muse to the Irish nationalist. Francis Ledwidge was first published in the local newspaper, the Drogheda Independent, and many of his poems were taken to the newspaper office by Ellie.

Ledwidge: Poet, Miner, Soldier At The Source Arts Centre

Ledwidge Production shot with Amy O’Dwyer

In spite of Ellie’s fears, Francis Ledwidge answered the call to arms in 1914. Excelling as a sniper, Ledwidge distinguishes himself at Gallipoli but the poet remained conflicted. Irishmen who served in the war found themselves consigned to a place in history where “honour turns away in shame”: a line censoriously removed from Ledwidge’s poem Soliloquy in its earliest published versions.


When a stray shell killed Ledwidge at the age of 29 at the third Battle of Ypres on July 31st, 1917, (known too as the Battle of Passchendaele), it also left a literary quandary. Had he lived would he have evolved beyond the “peasant poet” image assigned to him and into the better, more accomplished poet that some of his later poems suggested.


This production will celebrate one hundred years since Francis Ledwidge’s death and twenty years presenting new writing by THE NEW THEATRE, DUBLIN.




Cast: Ethan Dillon; Amy O’Dwyer; Katie O’Kelly; Barbara Dempsey; Ian Meehan

Directed by Anthony Fox.

BOX OFFICE 0504 90204


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