Posted by: John McGerr | March 24, 2009

A sense of place5


2007 was the bi-centennial of the death of the Abbé Edgeworth. Born Henry Essex Edgeworth in 1745 in the Rectory in Edgeworthtsown, he emigrated with his family to France(following his father’s conversion to Catholicism) and eventually was ordained as a priest, serving in Paris just prior to the French Revolution. He became confessor to the Royal Household and ended up accompanying LouisXVI to his execution on the scaffold. The Abbé was forced to flee into exile, after a brief spell in England, followed the survivors of the French Royal family to Poland and Latvia. Napoleaon was invading Russia at this time, and the Abbé helped minister to sick and injured soldiers, catching a fever himself and he died in 1807. He was buried in the town of Jelgava. To celebrate the bi-centennial a committee was formed to organise a weekend celebration of the Abbé’s life and times. The Latvian Ambassador to Ireland opened the celebrations and there were a number of events including a tree planting in the Green and a special Latin Mass said by the Bishop) and lectures. Gita Grase from the Academia Petrina Museum in Jelgave also attended.

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