Thursday, July 9, 2015

Dedication Ceremony Tomorrow, July 10th!

From the local newspaper, The Western People.  We'll be ready to show off the project to the community starting at 5:45 pm!  Ya'll come!

Long Day!

Wednesday, July 10th was a long but productive day:  there was much landscaping to be done on the site, laying sod, and planting shrubs, painting a new fence so that it blends with the walls, capping the walls with stone slabs, and beginning to lay the paving stone.  The glass roof was delivered with masking for the 'Procession of Souls' poetic imagery, and the surrounding glass was sandblasted so that it would appear opaque, with imagery clear for light to reflect through, and to reflect passers-by.  

A cheer as the walls were finally topped out! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Rain and Muck!

It wouldn't be an authentic Irish experience without some rain and muck, but the novelty has now worn off.  The rain slows everything down, weighing down the mortar, diminishing its strength and causing walls to sag, and sagging spirits too.  We had some much needed new help arrive--two students from Swinford School and also a first-year architecture student from University College Dublin, who has family connections to Dr. Henry!

Speaking of Dr Henry, his gravestone marker had been broken, and as part of the project, Declan McNamara is making a repair.  

See this video for Declan's explanation of how he is repairing the headstone.

Monday, July 6, 2015

French Fry Wall by Veronica Perez

How do you know when you are obsessed with stone wall construction?  When you build a wall of chips, complete with cornerstones, proper coursing, crossed joints, ketchup 'mortar' and broccoli 'shrubbery' as Veronica Perez (who happens not even to be an architecture student!) did at dinner the other night...Travis inspects the model.

2 more videos

2 more new videos:

Sara Gordon: crack stonemason

Alan Boland: sweeper

Photos by Sara Gordon

Fourth of July in Swinford

Swinford really rolled out the red, white, and blue for us on the Fourth of July! 

We celebrated the holiday with a long lunch break to visit the monthly Swinford market in the Community Centre with booths decked out with balloons, streamers, and live bluegrass music!  We enjoyed tea and tasty scones, and made a few purchases from the vendors.  

We had a special July 4th dinner complete with burgers and apple pie, at the Gateway Hotel with a number of our Swinford friends joining us.  There were American flags all over town!

Special thanks in particular to Joanne Grehan, Mary Cronolly, and Cathal Kelly for getting into the spirit!

Work-in-Progress Photos by Brendan Roche

See this link to daily photos of the work in progress by Brendan Roche!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Swinford Community Design: Public Presentation by Travis Price and Students on Tuesday, July 7

All in the Swinford community are cordially invited to attend a presentation by Travis Price, Architect and students from the Catholic University of America School of Architecture & Planning who will present exciting new design proposals for Swinford.  The presentation and exhibit will be held at Swinford Cultural Centre on Tuesday, July 7 at 7:30pm.

The programme for the semester-long graduate design studio included three aspects: the first is the redesign and improvement of Main Street; the second is 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; the third is a proposed new dance school.

Travis Price and four of his students, Geraldine Munnelly, Emily O'Loughlin, Brendan Roche, and Victoria Wallace, will present these 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.

The design programme was developed alongside the Spirit of Place memorial,“Procession of the Souls” that Price and the students are currently building in Swinford. 

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.”

Tear Down This Wall!

More craic on the Spirit of Place site in this video:  Travis invokes kung fu and Ronald Reagan and "tears down this wall" barehanded!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Day 5: Breaking Rocks in the Hot Sun

A gorgeous day today, and more progress, with about half the walls built! We still have alot to do to finish in time for the opening dedication festivities just a week from today, next Friday, July 10. The public is invited, and we hope to have the whole community out to take part.  (more on that soon.)

Besides our usual chocolate breaks, Declan delivered ice cream and cold Coke which kept everyone going through the long hot afternoon.  We had to work quickly so the mortar wouldn't dry out, but we all still ended up with mortar dust in our hair, ears, and nose!

chocolate break!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Day 4 Photos

Images of Day 4, courtesy of Brendan Roche:  

The Craic...

When you're working this hard you need some moments of humor...

Here is Travis's impression of Gus's rapid fire Irish accent that sometimes sounds like another language to American ears...

Days 2 and 3

The stone walls are rising with a steady rhythm of mallets and chisels.  Our master craftsmen crew of Danny, Eugene, Gus, Declan and Alan are patiently demonstrating the techniques of placing corner stones, chiseling and shaping stone, mixing mortar, keeping the walls level and plumb. The students are working in teams led by the craftsmen who help and give encouragement and pointers.  We get an early start with a hearty Irish breakfast at 7am and are onsite by 7:30, and work until 7pm. The rains come, we put raingear on, the rain stops, we take the raingear off, and the sun comes out for a few hour 'scorcher' (as they say here, meaning 65 degrees F) --and repeat!  Such is our rhythm and we're making great progress!