Members of the Richmond Barracks advisory committee, Liam O’Meara and David McFarlane-Johnson welcomed the new British Defence Attaché, Colonel Max Walker to Richmond Barracks recently.New British Defence Attaché visits Richmond Barracks

Liam presented Max with a copy of his history of the barracks which includes a definitive list of the regiments that spent time in the barracks. We all had a very interesting discussion on Francis Ledwidge and his important legacy, the poet of Janeville in Meath. During his time at Richmond Barracks, Ledwidge wrote many new poems and he spent much of his time in the Recreation Rooms where he sometimes entertained his comrades with readings of his compositions. The Inniskillings left Richmond Barracks in May 1915 for Basingstoke and Gallipoli.

Two years later, Ledwidge was killed at Ypres in Belgium.

  • Ledwidge’s connections with Richmond Barracks are interesting for us:

Ledwidge was known to have strong nationalist feelings and had written a number of poems in sympathy with the Easter 1916 leaders, [….] and yet he had chosen to join the British army. Because of this he is often claimed by both sides of the Irish political divide. Moreover, of the 49,000 Irishmen who perished in the Great War he is the one Irishman whom everyone knows and has come to represent all of the Irish war dead.  He is therefore a significant figure at this present time when we are trying to bring the different strands of public opinion together and to heal divisions North and South.

(O’Meara 2014)