Drumkeelan Sandstone

340 million years ago – during the complex geological history of south Donegal – a short scarp of golden-yellow carboniferous sandstone was formed.

Drumkeelan quarry

I head off to the mines in Drumkeelan, which were in operation up until the 1950s

mine entrance with winch

mine entrance with winch

The twenty-foot deep stone mine roof is supported by waste stone packed into pillars

mine entrance

Going underground

I’m with Brian Kerrigan, family quarryman.

Brian Kerriagan in Drumkeelan mines

Brian Kerrigan in Drumkeelan mines

He shows me ‘free stone’ – stone free from cracks and clefts – the fare of these mines for many centuries, supplying famous buildings such as The National Museum of Ireland, The Dail and Stormont.

inside Drumkeelan minesA carved sandstone lamp found here suggests mining started in the middle ages, by Cistercian monks who had Abbeys to build.

would make a nice homeToday, despite all mechanisation, it isn’t easy running a quarry. As Brian says, a simple life is hard to find – due to ever increasing government regulation.

standing stonesHere is Brian’s donation of a truckload of finest Drumkeelan stone for The Gathering of Stones

lovely sandstone          Thanks a million – from everyone at The Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland.

Kerrigan and Meehan

Quarryman Brian Kerrigan & haulier Padraig Meehan

     Off to the center of Ireland with these Donegal stones  – and a circle we shall build.

loading stone

10 thoughts on “Drumkeelan Sandstone

    1. The great stone cutter James McGroarty and his family are at the bottom of the Barney Arack, the hairpin bend that leads from the Drumkeelan mines back to Mountcharles. He had a very large family in the 70s and I believe that at least two of the sons carry on the skills.

  1. Hiya…. my GGF Hugh Boyle worked with the Drumkeelan stone. Would anyone have any information or stories relating to him ?

    1. James this is excellent quality stone for carving and sculpting – the best – because of its fine grain. Highly recommended by our craftsmen
      If you are thinking of looking here and are unfamiliar with the area drop me an email and I’ll help you find it. seapink66@gmail.com

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