Taoiseach unveils memorial plaque on the site of the Sacred Heart Hospital

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has unveiled a memorial plaque on the site of the Sacred Heart Hospital in Castlebar in memory of the people who lived and now rest on the site of the hospital. The dedicated plaque has been erected in honour of the people who were laid to rest on the site from the time of the Famine up to as recently as the 1950s.

Padraic Carolan, senior administration officer, HSE Mayo, and chair of the organising committee, said: “We thought it would be appropriate and a sign of respect to erect a memorial plaque on the site of the Sacred Heart Hospital where people could come and remember and acknowledge those people who have lived and are now buried here. It is a place where people can come to pay their respects and remember those who have gone before.”

The wording on the memorial plaque is from a poem written by Belfast-born poet Derek Mahon entitled “Kinsale”, and was selected to symbolise going from darkness into light.

The Sacred Heart Hospital operated as a workhouse from 1842 until 1921, and from 1921 until 1973 the building was known as the County Home. In 1973 the current building was opened as the Sacred Heart Hospital.

The wording on the memorial plaque is as follows:

The kind of rain we knew is a thing of the past -

deep-delving, dark, deliberate you would say,

browsing on spire and bogland; but today

our sky-blue slates are steaming in the sun,

our yachts tinkling and dancing in the bay

like race-horses. We contemplate at last

shining windows, a future forbidden to no-one.

-Derek Mahon (born Belfast 1941 )

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