Monday, June 29, 2015

Arrival and welcome to Swinford!

The Spirit of Place team arrived at Dublin airport on Sunday morning, with half the group traveling from Washington, and the other half meeting us in Dublin after spending a few days with family and friends exploring the city.  The latter half already had the advantage of adjustment to the local time zone (not fair!)

As has become our custom when bringing newcomers to County Mayo, we first made a visit to Turlough House and the National Museum of Ireland, Museum of Country Life, which offers insightful exhibits about the history, lifeways, crafts, traditions, and folklore of the Irish countryside. It is particularly relevant to the research we conducted for our project on the Great Famine, in telling the story of both the landlords as well as the resilient country people who created their homes in the face of strenuous conditions and hardship. Irish building and crafts entail an inventive use a limited palette of materials for building and design--making use of the elements of earth, clay for the walls of houses, and turf for the hearth, grasses and twigs for roof thatch, and woven basketry for multiple purposes for furnishings, tools, clothing, and ceremonial objects, a simultaneous reflection of necessity, function, and cultural tradition and meaning.

The design of the museum is also an outstanding example of the addition of modern architecture that beautifully complements a well-preserved historic house and landscape.

Fish baskets and lobster pots!

interior clay walls and hearth of thatched cottage

A warm and wonderful welcome awaited Spirit of Place students on arrival to the Gateway Hotel in Swinford.  Our friends and project supporters from the Mayo County Council joined us for a wonderful huge dinner with local lamb and salmon, followed by words of welcome, and traditional Irish music and dance performed by talented Swinford kids and townspeople. A perfect start!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The adventure commences tomorrow, as we head to Swinford County Mayo, Ireland to build our 2015 project, "The Procession of the Souls"!  Watch this space for daily updates on our projects, and features on the students, our team, Swinford, and beautiful County Mayo!

Meantime, check out this awesome article on Spirit of Place-Spirit of Design, and founder, architect Travis Price, FAIA in the June 2015 issue of Dwell Magazine!