History, Heritage, Folklore & Tradition Festival 2019

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Swinford History, Heritage, Culture, Folklore & Tradition Festival 2019

History, Heritage, Folklore & Tradition Festival 2019

Drenched in history Swinford has a rich cultural heritage dating back to 1769 and beyond. This year, in a year-long celebration of its history as a bustling market town in the heart of East Mayo, the people of Swinford are throwing open their arms and inviting anyone with a connection to the town and county to visit and participate in “Swinford 250 & More”.

The objective of this festival was to celebrate our History, Heritage, Culture, and Folklore & Traditions.

It was an opportunity for Swinford town, its people and surrounding communities to showcase everything positive Swinford has to offer. The purpose of the festival was to reconnect with our past and to collect an archive for the benefit of the town, its people, future generations, the Mayo community abroad and the wider Irish Diaspora. With all the events organized, we attracted a wide interest from every corner of the world. Over a hundred members of the Diaspora returned from abroad and many former residence of the Swinford area, living elsewhere in Ireland, also returned to the town for this very special weekend.

Launch of History, Heritage, Folklore & Tradition Festival

This Bank Holiday Festival launch took place in the Cultural Centre on Friday the 31st May. Everyone was welcome.

Swinford History, Heritage,Folklore & Tradition Festival Launch 2019

Pictured at the launch of the History, Heritage, Folklore and Tradition Festival were- Back Row, from left: Frances Ryan, Julie Ryan, Tom Lavin, Jackie O’Rourke, John Kennedy, Mairin Noone, Cathal Kelly and Joe Mellett. From Row, from left, Katie Kelly, Maura Sweeney, Breege Rowley, and Moira Philbin.

Swinford “History & Heritage Guide”

Swinford 250 committee, in association with members of Swinford Historical Society, has compiled a “History & Heritage Guide” on Swinford town and surrounding areas which was launched on the night. This guide provides a brief outline of Swinford’s historical points and places of interest for people to visit.

The booklet is now available to buy in the Swinford 250 office and a number of other locations in Swinford.

“Looking Back Through The Lens” Photographic Exhibition

“Looking Back Through The Lens” was a photographic display of Swinford’s past events, through the decades, which was held in the Swinford 250 & More office in Market Street. The photographs were kindly made available from the Duffy Family archive, who for three generations, were the photographers in the town.

A White House Welcome for Locals, Visitors and Diaspora

This evening welcomed home all visitors to the town for this special weekend and provided returning Diaspora and visitors with a night of music, stories and fun.

June 1st – The Story of Our Town, Gateway Hotel, Swinford

“The Story of Our Town” School’s History Competition. The competition was open to fourth, fifth and sixth class pupils of primary schools located in the district of Swinford. The competition aimed to encourage pupils to delve into the rich historical archive of the last 250 years of their native town. The competition was a huge success with a number of successful projects being awarded prizes.


Barnacogue NS’ Winners: Lucy Gallagher, Sarah Henry, Maríosa Gallagher, Katie Gormley & Róisín Gormley.
Midfield winners: Rhona Brennan, Katie Mullaney, Marvel Brennan, Niall Kennedy, Liam Cunney
Meelick winners: Aoibheann O Rourke, Alice Roughneen, Lesley Lavin, Aoife Mulroy
Kinaffe winner: Robert Reid

Each school was presented with a €250 cheque, to spend as they wish.

June 1st – Remembrance Mass, Our Lady Help Of Christians Church, Swinford

This Mass celebrated everyone past and present from Swinford and the surrounding areas. This Mass was available live around the world through its web link. The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Martin Jennings and music was provide by Francie Campbell Mc Nicholas.

June 1st – “ All Our Yesterdays” Film Screening, Gateway Hotel, Swinford

“All Our Yesterdays” – A preview of film footage and interviews collected over the past three years from every corner of the world was screened and gave us a unique insight into the social and historical story of a community and its culture in Mayo during the 40s, 50s and 60s. This film gave the viewer a “look back” into what life was like and what “community” meant to each family at this time through the visual recording of many elderly characters and through access to their personal photographs and cine film archives. It was a full house with a lot of laughter and nostalgia.

June 2nd – “The American Wake”, White House Bar, Swinford

“The American Wake” – The American wake was a custom that seems to be unique to Ireland. It was most common in the south and west of the country although it had different names. To the Irish speakers of Mayo it was known as “the feast of departure”. If a family could raise only enough money for one passage, the ticket would be bought in the name of the eldest son or daughter. When that son or daughter arrived in America and got a job, money would be sent back to Ireland to help the family pay the rent and eventually to buy another passage for a younger brother or sister.

Our night was an up beat and fun event. It was more of a farewell to our returned visitors and to tie up the weekend with great local traditional music Ceol Agus Craic! We celebrated this night with Stories, Songs, Music and a wee gram of the hard stuff. It was a night, which showcased Swinford’s musical talent. There was a live video link available and people from all over the world joined in with the celebrations. This link for “The American Wake live from The White House, Swinford” is still available to view on https://youtu.be/joPs9EFbX2o – Go to 03:20:00 in the link and just see what Swinford has to offer.

It has been an amazing weekend. This is just evidence of one fabulous event. Click on the following link https://www.swinfordphotography.ie/view/716162 to view all the memories of the weekend.

June 3rd – 5 km Fun Run/Walk, Culmore, Swinford

This was a family day, which everyone enjoyed. People got out and got active. It was a lovely run and well organized with a great showcase of homemade baking by the parents of the school. Josephine from Sheer Fitness had been warming up everyone online in the days leading up to the event and Michelle Malone from The Health Hub took to the stage to lead everyone in the warm up before the run. Everyone is looking forward to next year’s event. Same Time, Same Place.

As part of this community event a defibrillator was unveiled in remembrance of Rosaleen Groarke. This defibrillator was sponsored by Closer to the Heart Project and money raised through local contribution and sponsorships. It was a poignant occasion for the Groarke and Tunney families and indeed the whole community.

Click to view the online album of the Culmore N.S Fun Run – https://www.swinfordphotography.ie/view/716543

Thanks to all the sponsors and partners who supported events.

Author: Swinford Admin

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