On Wednesday, 20th June 2018, residents of Swinford, and those passionate about North Mayo history, will witness a very special event. A ceremony to commemorate Swinford’s founding Brabazon family, and their central place in the community’s past, will take place in Swinford at 2.30pm on that date. All are welcome to attend this most special occasion in Swinford. A historical talk about Swinford will take place on the evening of 20th June at 8pm in The Gateway Hotel, Main Street, chaired by Bernard O’Hara, author of ‘Exploring Mayo’.
A Brabazon family memorial ceremony will take place in Swinford’s Church of Ireland graveyard on 20th June 2018 at 2.30pm. During the recent restoration of the cemetery by Mayo County Council, a significant discovery relating to the town’s origins was made. The Brabazon family has a central place in Swinford history because the settlement of George Brabazon and wife Sarah on family lands there in the 1700s and the family’s subsequent granting of leases for persons to live here from about 1769 marked the beginnings of a planned society in Swinford. During recent restoration work on the graveyard, six Brabazon family plaques and two Brabazon sarcophagi (in the surviving crypt of the now-demolished St Mary’s church) were discovered. A blessing to commemorate the Brabazon family will be conducted by Canon Andrea Wills of Foxford (Church of Ireland) and Fr Dermot Meehan (Parish Priest of Swinford). The plaques will be wall-mounted and the entrance to the crypt will be cleared.
Swinford town itself owes its origins to the Brabazons in the 1700s. During the Cromwellian settlement a century earlier they had received lands in the parish of Kilconduff, east Mayo among other locations. They came originally from Leicestershire in England to live in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, but political upheaval led to dispossession of their lands in Galway in 1652. Later, a branch of the family, George Brabazon and his wife Sarah Burke from Galway, came to live on land in Kilconduff (Swinford) and they built the Brabazon house and stable in Swinford. From about 1769 the family, as landlords, offered long leases to persons to come to settle on their lands – in effect, this act was the beginning of a planned town in Swinford. The last of the Brabazons left the estate in 1864. In the later 1800s the estate was sold to the Congested District Board, from which the Irish Land Commission obtained it in the twentieth century.
Hosts of this Brabazon family memorial event: Michael Brabazon, his daughter Bridget, his son James, and his grandchildren Max and Bella.
Guests addenting are: the Earl & Countess of Meath (Head of the Brabazon Family); Swinford Brabazons; Mayo historians – Anne Chambers, Bernard O’Hara, Nollaig O Muraile, Bridget Clesham and Eamonn Henry; Mayo County Council representatives; Cllr Michael Smyth of Swinford; leading Swinfordians Joe Mellett, Marie Walsh, Michael Comer, Brendan Cassidy.
All of Swinford welcome you to attend this special event.