The final of the design competition: winner to be announced 21st November

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In what we hope to be another enjoyable and busy evening, the winning design of the An Gort Mór design competition will be announced on Wednesday 21st November at 7pm in the Barras Art and Design Centre, 54 Calton Entry, Glasgow. This important milestone in the campaign for a fitting and lasting memorial to those who died and those who were displaced, especially our ancestors who came to Glasgow and other parts of Scotland at that time, follows a three and a half year campaign by Coiste Cuimhneachain An Gorta Mór.

The extremely successful public consultation held in the same venue last month elicited a huge and warm response from the multi-generational Irish community in Glasgow. The excitement and engagement with the consultation was very heartening and very moving – this memorial will clearly fill a great need in our community to properly acknowledge and remember our past. The committee examined the feedback on the models derived from the consultation very carefully and, along with the other elements of the submissions the three bids were assessed against a set of pre-specified critera relating to the understanding of the project brief, understanding of the challenges of permanent works; ability to deliver to work with contractors and deliver to budget. Fortunately, the public consultation revealed that while people had particular favourites among the designs, the overwhelming majority also indicated that they were impressed by all three designs. Having worked reasonably closely with all three artists it was a very difficult decision by the committee and we felt the weight of our responsibility very heavily. It was a sad task to inform two artists that they had not been successful but we were able to assure them that their designs were very much appreciated and admired by the whole community albeit that, in the end, only one design could be chosen.

Wednesday’s event will kick off at 7pm and there will be a raffle for those in attendance, and to be drawn on the night, for the team shirt worn by Dublin’s own Jonny Hayes on National Famine Memorial Day in 2017. This will kick-start the fundraising task which is now all that stands between us and this memorial which is so needed and wanted.

During the evening, those in attendance will be treated to the first public performance by Boolavogue of the song specially written for this project by Kevin Smith, entitled, ‘We are Building it’. The committee is hugely grateful to Kevin for his contribution and we will be organising a download campaign of the song to raise funds and to publicise the project in the coming months.

We will be joined by the Irish Consul General in Scotland, Mark Hanniffy; the Chief Executive of Celtic PLC, Peter Lawwell and the Head of Sculpture and Environmental Art at the Glasgow School of Art, Paul Cosgrove who has offered advice and guidance to the committee throughout all the stages of the design competition.

So we look forward to seeing you all there to receive this long-awaited announcement and to enjoy a couple of hours of good company and some great music.

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