In 1931, on Sunday 3rd August, Mercedes Gleitze swam from Inis Meáin to Awleen Bay in Spiddal. The 20-mile (as the crow flies) swim took her 19 hours and she was the first swimmer to make this crossing. The intended destination was Salthill 22km away and a large crowd had gathered to wait for her to swim in. To make amends for not finishing in Salthill and disappointing the crowds Mercedes gave a Demonstration Swim at Salthill the following Tuesday.
Inspired by Mercedes’ demonstration swim in the area, and the importance of music in all her swimming feats, artist Vanessa Daws is creating, ‘Swim Procession’ a new promenade performance in Salthill.
Come to cheer on local swimmers as they start out from Ladies Beach, following the procession from land, along the prom to Blackrock. Live performances from Big Jelly, Landless, Adhoc Choir, Órla McGovern and Laurie Link-Gordon.
Swim Procession is part of the project Swimming a Long Way Together by Vanessa Daws. The project is unfolding as a series of large-scale live events and exhibitions in Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and France. These expansive moments represent the contemporary experience of open water swimming through the legacy of Mercedes Gleitze, a pioneer swimmer from the 20th century.