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The Gathering of Stones is a dry stone monument built by the people of Ireland for the people of Ireland across the world.
All of the stone for this project has been donated by the proud people of Ireland and it is being built entirely by volunteers.
This project is has received no funding of any kind. It is a true monument of the people.
The good will of the people.
The Gathering of Stones
Click on above video aboveto watch the story of The Gathering of Stones todate
Back in early 2013 The Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland and the Stone Foundation, USA came together with a vision to invite this international community ‘home’ for a Gathering of Stones in the geographical centre of Ireland.
The Gathering of Stones is an event where people with an interest in Irish dry stone walls came together, and under the instruction and guidance of the Dry Stone Wall Association built an attractive communal dry stone installation that will act as a permanent monument to Ireland and 'all' of it people. A monument that celebrates or dry stone heritage and indeed all events and gatherings that took place during The Gathering 2013.
After months of anticipation, stones, masons and dry-stone enthusiasts from the four corners of Ireland as well as the rest of the world came to a head in the center of Ireland.June 20th 2013 marked the beginning of The Gathering of Stones.Stories were shared, songs were sung (and written) and monuments were built
Just like the cross marked the spot in the posters, the 'Emigrant Stones' mark the centre of our dry stone monument.
To build a dry stone monument, you need a hell of a lot of stone!
The completed structure will consume an estimated 300 tonnes of stone. As you can imagine, the logistics of getting 300 tonnes of stone from the four corners of Ireland and beyond to our central location is no mean feat.
Trying to do this without any funding seemed like an impossible task. After the crushing news that the review board for 'The Gathering' in County Offaly refused to pass our application to be funded as a 'Flagship event', the outlook for our event looked very bleak. However the DSWAI decided to take a leap of faith and call on the people of Ireland to help us make this event happen.
A call for stone was made, and the proud farmers and quarrymen of Ireland answered.
Thomas Egan, Rodger Degan, Mick Connelly and Padraig Larkin (missing from photo Don O’Boyle) collecting local Boora limestone donated to the project by Joe Molloy. Photo Ken Curran.
More about this stone here
Quarryman Brian Kerrigan & haulier Padraig Meehan loading Brian’s donation of a truckload of Drumkeelan stone from Donegal. Photo Louise Price. More about this in Louise's blog post here
Building the Gathering of Stones
Pinpointing the center of the monument. Canadian Stone Foundation member Tom Parkin with three of the GoS organisers, Nick Aitken, Sunny Wieler and Ken Curran. Photo Fran Coady.
Not only was there a great mix of sunshine and showers over the weekend, there was also a great mix of professional stonemasons/drystone wallers and amateur stone enthusiasts. The public too became very captivated by the event with a constant stream of spectators arriving over the weekend, many bringing a stone with them to be incorporated into the monument. This vibrant atmosphere around the site quickly warded off any threatening rain clouds, and kept the morale on site high.
As part of the event, attendees and the public were invited to bring a stone home to Lough Boora, to become part of the monument. It was wonderful to see how the public took to the project, bringing stones and stories with them.
Many people have connections with stones and many of us have taken a stone with us from a place we have made a connection with, be it a pebble from a beach or a stone from a mountaintop.
It is these connections with stones that made the whole event emotionally charged and it is only as these stones and stories began to collect on site that the importance of this monument really started to sink in with those building it.
Read more about some of the amazing stones donated to the project from around the world here
Katherine with her stone from Coolanarney, Blueball, Co.Offaly. "Katherine – who brings a stone from her old home place, now a tumbled memory. As a child she ploughed and thatched alongside her father, and carried stones to pile atop of walls of ancient fields. It means everything – her stone" Photo and quote from Louise Price's blog Limewindow
A wonderful weekend. Thanks to all those who came and gathered stones with us for the weekend.