About Spirit of Place-Swinford County Mayo-Ireland 2015

The Procession of the Souls is a memorial to the history and unsung heroes of the Great Famine in Swinford, County Mayo. The intention is to provide a sacred place to remember the unknown victims of this difficult and tumultuous period.  The memorial also celebrates the unsung heroes: the local individuals, such as Dr. Michael Henry, a local doctor of the time whose compassionate dedication to his patients played a significant role in assisting Swinford and its people overcome the great tragedy of the Famine.

The Procession of the Souls is also dedicated to other figures who played an important role in helping North and East Mayo communities recover in the aftermath of the Famine such as Sisters Aloysius Martyn and De Sales Coppinger of the Sisters of Mercy in Swinford, Michael Davitt, whose legacy of social justice paved the way for Mahatma Gandhi and Rev. Martin Luther King, and Mother Agnes Morrogh-Bernard who founded the nearby Foxford Woollen Mills. 

The staggered stone path and walls of The Procession of the Souls exemplify the struggle through a tragic and turbulent passage. At the culmination of the processional is a light filled structure of illuminating ascension and hope overlooking the graveyard and Dr. Henry’s burial site. A table for annual Masses is stationed under a steel and etched glass roof.  

See a video rendering of the Memorial design.

Trudging midst cradled shadows
Snarled beneath shrouded tumult
Drenched in malevolent deceit
Writhing anguished, scarred and fractured into eroding masses
Echoing glimmers of unsung brilliance beckons
(guiding poetic for project design composed by Spirit of Place students) 

The project was designed and built by students from The Catholic University of America School of Architecture & Planning/Spirit of Place-Spirit of Design and Travis Price Architects in concert with Mayo County Council and is under construction from June 28-July 7, 2015.

A dedication ceremony will be held on Friday, July 10 at 5:45 pm, and the public is welcome to attend.

Catholic University of America School of Architecture & Planning/Spirit of Place-Spirit of Design, Inc./Travis Price Architects
Travis Price, FAIA, Kelly Davies Grace, Assoc. AIA, Amirali Ebadi, Kathleen Lane, Assoc. AIA

Mo Akbar, John Allen*, Paloma Arroyo-Lefebre, Thomas Amato*, Alexandra Barrera-Aguirre*, Gabriella D’Angelo, Sara Gordon*, Megan Gregory*, Stephen Klinges*, Emily O’Loughlin*, Sina Moayedi, Geraldine Munnelly*, Gabrielle Oakes*, Patrick Ottolini*, Alba Quintanilla, Veronica Perez*, Brendan Roche*, Azita Soltanifar, Hanna Tsimmermam, Victoria Wallace*, Michael William Warner*, Caitlin Watson
(*students participating in on-site build project)

Mayo County Council
Peter Hynes, Joanne Grehan, Padraig Philbin, Danny O’Toole, Eugene O’Toole, Gus O’Toole, Councillor Michael Smyth

Other Project Team
Alan Boland, Declan McNamara, Cathal Shevlin

Special Thanks To
Michael Comer, Mary Cronolly, Ronan Foley, Terry Garcia, Tom Hennigan, Alan Johnson, Bishop Brendan Kelly, Cathal Kelly, Denis Lane, Michael Maye, Fr. Dermot Meehan, Joe Mellett, BrĂ­d O’Connell, Laurence Oleniak, Minister Michael Ring, T.D. and the Swinford Community

    Dr. Henry's grave.
    The Workhouse

    Memorial site.

    Existing conditions at memorial site:  a car park adjacent to the vocational school.

Alongside the Memorial project, Travis Price graduate students from the Catholic University of America School of Architecture & Planning engaged in a semester-long graduate design studio to develop new urban design and economic development proposals for Swinford town, which included three aspects: the redesign and improvement of Main Street; the creation of a new emerging enterprise centre under the theme of “film, fish and food” - to support filmmaking, fishing tourism, and local food packaging; and a proposed new dance school.

Travis Price and the students made a visit to Swinford in January, and held a community meeting to hear needs and ideas to develop further during the studio course. While in Swinford, Price and four of his students, Geraldine Munnelly, Emily O'Loughlin, Brendan Roche, and Victoria Wallace, will give a presentation to the community on the final design ideas for Swinford’s future growth, with an exhibit of the student design work, on view in the Swinford Cultural Centre on Tuesday, July 7 at 7.30pm.

Joanne Grehan, Head of Enterprise & Investment at Mayo County Council said “we are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Travis Price and his students from Catholic University in Washington DC over the past months for the benefit of Swinford town and I am encouraging the people of Swinford and surrounding communities to join us on the evening of the 7th to hear first hand from Travis Price of what they envision for Swinford.”

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