BY Peter Diamond | October 19 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Three designs proposed for Great Hunger memorial at Glasgow church

A Catholic Church in Glasgow has hosted three designs for a fitting and permanent memorial to those who fled Ireland during the Great Hunger, (An Gorta Mór).

St Mary’s Church in Calton, Glasgow has been open all week exhibiting three finalists (right) in the design competition for a statue, which will be erected on the church grounds in the future.

On Wednesday October 10, around 200 people gathered in the heart of the Barrowlands 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 monument to An Gorta Mór and to the memory of those who died and those who came to Glasgow and other parts of Scotland.

The multi-generational Irish community, many of them Catholic, 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.

The three models were on display at St Mary’s from Sunday October 13 to Friday 19.

Jeanette Findlay, committee member for An Gorta Mor Glasgow, said: “There has been a constant stream of people coming to view the exhibition of the proposed statues at St Mary’s so it’s an important milestone for the committee and a massive step towards a permanent fixture.

“We have received great feedback from those who have gone to view the designs and they’ve all said how happy they are that the memorial for the famine will become a reality.

“When we first set up the committee to start a campaign for a memorial two years ago it was relatively straightforward and once people knew what we were trying to achieve there was real momentum behind it.

“Getting to this stage hasn’t been all plain sailing and there have been times when it seemed more difficult to keep that initial momentum going.

“However, now we have a site established and a number of designs which people have been hugely enthusiastic about.

“What this memorial means to people is truly special because as a largely Catholic, Irish, multi-generational community we know all too well the hardships which our forbearers faced and it’s vital that history is not obliterated.

She added: “It is fitting too that the memorial will be in the grounds of St Mary’s Church, Calton, where practical and spiritual help was first offered to those fleeing the famine.

“When our ancestors had to leave Ireland it was Faith that sustained those men and women and therefore it’s only right that the Church is included in the memorial. They provided a place of safety, and survival where Catholics were nourished tremendously in all ways.

“In a time when the Church has some justifiable criticism for some of its failings over the centuries its worth remembering that the Church was the ‘welfare state’ before anything like that existed.”

The winning entry will be decided by November 21 and the committee is urging people to make their preference to them via email by the first week in November.

Following the decision the committee will resume fundraising campaigns to fund the permanent memorial and donations can be made via PayPal or by sending a cheque



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