When the War is Over

Francis Ledwidge

When the War is Over – first broadcast on Friday 23 June 2017 at 7 pm on RTÉ lyric fm. Re-broadcast on 22 November 2017 and Sunday 25th July 2021.

Available as a Lyric Feature podcast on the usual platforms or to listen back to on the RTÉ lyric fm website: https://www.rte.ie/radio/lyricfm/clips/21986242/

When the War is Over tells the story of the life and poetry of Francis Ledwidge, from his childhood in Slane, County Meath, to his death in Flanders. With contributions from poets, historians and fans of his work, the programme marks the centenary of the death of the poet, who died on the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres on 31 July 1917, just weeks before his 30th birthday. He has left a rich legacy of nature and war poetry, and a sense of the loss of so much more that he might have achieved, had he not died in the horror of World War I.

The contributors to the programme are: Rosemary Yore, Chair of the Francis Ledwidge Museum Committee; Liam O’Meara, co-founder of the Inchicore Ledwidge Society, author of a ‘Francis Ledwidge: Poet, Activist, Soldier’ and editor of ‘The Best of Francis Ledwidge’ and ‘Francis Ledwidge: The Complete Poems’; Piet Chielens, Director of the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, Belgium; Gerald Dawe, poet, editor of ‘Earth Voices Whispering: An Anthology of Irish War Poetry’; Peter Fallon, poet, director of Gallery Press; Miriam O’Gara, author of ‘Eire’s WW1 Poet: F. E. Ledwidge’; and poet and soldier Michael J Whelan.

The programme is richly illustrated with readings of the work of Francis Ledwidge by actor Bryn Coldrick. The programme also contains musical settings of Ledwidge’s work, which continues to inspire composers right up to the present day.

The programme is produced by Claire Cunningham. A Rockfinch production for RTÉ lyric fm funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television Licence Fee.


Mick Heaney, radio reviewer for the Irish Times, chose this programme as providing the ‘Radio Moment of the Week’:


Devotees of poetry may have bittersweet feelings about The Lyric Feature: When the War Is Over (Lyric FM, Friday), but Claire Cunningham’s documentary about Francis Ledwidge, the Co Meath poet killed in the first World War, tells a quietly captivating story. Drawing on contemporary contributors as well as archive interviews with Ledwidge’s brother, the programme traces the poet’s short life, exploring how his verse drew on his rural background, as well as his political sympathies and, of course, his doomed service with the British army in Flanders. With the centenary of his death in July, it’s an eloquent tribute to a writer whose work defies easy definition but still sings.” Irish Times, 24 June 2017.