Thanks to your support, Glasgow can finally be counted among the diaspora cities with a dedicated memorial to our ancestors who died and were displaced by An Gorta Mór.
Hundreds of supporters enjoyed glorious sunshine as Jane McCulloch, Consul General of Ireland, and Eddie Marley, representing the parish of St Mary’s where the monument stands, unveiled the memorial yesterday.
Created by Donegal sculptor John McCarron, ‘The Tower of Silence’ combines a stainless steel column representing the industrial city of Glasgow with steel patchwork echoing the stone cabins the rural Irish were forced to leave. Semi-abstract steel figures on top of the column show the desperation of those who fled to these shores, often carrying nothing but themselves and their children. The column contains the final verse of the poem ‘The Stricken Land’ written in 1847 by Lady Jane Wilde under the name ‘Speranza’.
The memorial is in the grounds of St Mary’s church in Abercromby Street, Glasgow and can be seen from the pavement whether the church is open or closed. When the church is open, the last remaining programmes will be on sale.
This is your memorial. You have built it
None of this – not the moving occasion of the unveiling or the permanent memorial to honour our ancestors – would have been possible without your support.
You have ensured long overdue recognition for the dead, the displaced, the desperate. And for the contributions of their descendants.
From Coiste Cuimhneachain An Gorta Mór, thank you.
The committee are delighted to announce that we’ve received
final planning permission for the installation of the memorial in St Mary’s in
While the installation of the sculpture will be delayed until
it’s safe to bring our community together in celebration and commemoration,
this planning permission is final confirmation that Glasgow will finally be
home to a memorial to the dead and displaced of An Gorta Mór.
Since you pushed the appeal over our fundraising target late
last year, the committee have been working on plans for the installation and
unveiling of the memorial.
Our final planning application is in and we had hoped to
make an announcement soon about an unveiling celebration in May.
Sadly, due to the risks posed by the current coronavirus pandemic,
it will not be possible for us to hold this celebration as soon as we would have
liked. Work on the memorial is progressing and as soon as it’s safe to do so,
we intend to hold a community celebration marking this significant milestone
for Scotland’s Irish community.
More than five hundred people turned out to dance, sing and
celebrate community at our fundraising dinner dance at Celtic Park in November.
Members and friends of Scotland’s Irish community were
treated to a great set from Boolavogue, scooped match-worn Celtic shirts and hospitality
packages in our raffle, and made generous bids on our one of a kind auction
items, including a coin collection depicting all signatories of the 1916 Proclamation
of the Irish Republic. As Committee Chair Jeanette Findlay said on the night,
“the excitement around this memorial project is palpable, and it clearly fills
a genuinely felt need of our community to have our history and our existence
Thanks to your incredible support, the night raised £21,475,
taking us past our £80,000 fundraising target.
Not only does this secure the installation, maintenance and
insurance of Scotland’s first permanent memorial to the tragedy of An Gorta Mór,
it will also allow the committee to look at options to enhance the memorial
site, such as lighting, information boards and bench seating.
None of this would have been possible without the generosity
of the suppliers and performers who supported the fundraiser, those who donated
raffle and auction prizes, everyone who attended on the night and each and
every single person who has donated along the way.
With fundraising complete, we’ll now focus on planning the
installation and unveiling of this long-awaited memorial. Sign up for email updates and follow us on Facebook
and Twitter to ensure you stay up
Donegal sculptor John McCarron has commenced work on “The
Tower of Silence”, the design chosen in our public
consultation to be the first permanent memorial in Glasgow to the dead and
displaced of An Gorta Mór.
John’s design made a strong impression on those who viewed
the model. Made of steel to reflect Glasgow’s shipbuilding industry it depicts
three unclothed, emaciated figures, representing the 100,000 who fled here in
desperation. The plinth underneath the figures will be engraved with a verse
from “The Stricken Land” by Lade Wilde which conveys the injustice of the
suffering they were forced to endure. The memorial will stand in the grounds of
St Mary’s in the Calton, a church
and an area with deep roots in Glasgow’s Irish community.
The memorial wouldn’t be reaching this significant milestone
without your fantastic support.
Over £52,000 has now been raised, which takes us to 65% of our fundraising target, and donations continue to come in. The pre-match bucket collection at Celtic Park in March 2019 generated £20,100 and we’ve been overwhelmed by the level of support you’ve given to the cause.
A grand total of £5,000 has been donated by Celtic fans from
all over Ireland who attended the Ballymena Shamrock CSC dinner dance on
21/6/19 while a fantastic £868 was donated
in one night of fundraising in the parish of St Maria Goretti in Glasgow. Over
€480 has been raised so far in the Badass Café in Dublin, while countless other
people are holding events, collecting change and donating online.
There’s a lot more to come and we need your continued help to
raise the rest of the money required to create a fitting tribute to the memory
of our ancestors. Stay tuned for news on future fundraisers, including details
of song downloads and how you could own a match worn shirt from Jozo Simunovic
or Scott Sinclair featuring the National Famine Day Memorial logo.
How you can help:
Follow us on Facebook
and Twitter for details of
progress on the memorial and our current fundraising efforts
Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org if
you’d like to hold a fundraising event or donate part of your proceeds from existing
We are delighted to announce that this award-winning choir from Cork will be playing in St Mary’s Church, Abercromby Street, Glasgow on Saturday 16th March, 7.30 till 9pm. There is no entry charge but there will be a collection to support the An Gorta Mór memorial fund. Please come and join us in what looks like a great night and in aid of a fantastic cause!
We are looking for people to help us with this collection – the more collectors the more money we hope to raise. If you are interested in helping us please email us on email@example.com. We are Building it!
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.
Around 200 people gathered last night in the heart of the Barras at the Barras Art and Design Centre to see, for the first time, the vision of the three finalists in the design competition to produce a fitting and lasting monument to An Gorta Mór and to the memory of those who died and those who came to Glasgow and elsewhere. The multi-generational Irish community gathered together to see the designs and to hear from the artists. There was a fantastic atmosphere as people went between the three models debating, deciding, changing their minds and going round again! For those who missed their chance, the models will be on display at St Mary’s on Sunday (13th) during the day but, in the meantime, here are the designs as introduced by the individual sculptors. The winning entry will be decided by 21 November so please email us your views by the first week in November. Then it will be full steam ahead to raise the necessary funds. Donations can be made via PayPal or by sending a cheque. Anyone who wishes to organise a fundraiser in their local area please let us know and we can provide merchandise or a speaker and help to publicise it. We are Building It!
On Wednesday 10th October between 7 and 9pm the community is invited to come along to the Barras Art and Design complex at 54 Calton Entry, Glasgow G40 2SB to see models/maquettes of the three final designs for the memorial to An Gorta Mór which will be erected in front of St Mary of the Assumption Church in Abercromby Street, Calton. These are the final three designs from which the final design will be chosen.
The models will be available to view over the two hours and the sculptors will be there to discuss their work. The three sculptors will be saying a few words around 7.30pm so come along by then if you want to hear their views on the concept/vision they have tried to incorporate in their design.
There will be an opportunity to indicate your views/preferences in the form of a closed container in front of each sculpture in which you can put a card with either a few words or just blank to indicate that it is your preferred model. The committee will take the views of the community into account when making the final selection. The selection will be made and announced in November.
This is a very exciting time in the project and we want as many people as possible to have their say.
Thank you for all your support so far and remember We are Building It!
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