Tír Conaill Stone Festival

Following the resounding success of Donegal’s first ever stone festival, here is an overview.

Martin Mc Brearty & Brendan Hurley

Martin Mc Brearty (Kilcar) & Brendan Hurley (Kinsale)

It was fantastic to see faces from the length & breadth of Ireland, as well as to welcome visitors from overseas to Mountcharles

Dierdre O Conner & Sunny Wieler

Sunny Wieler (DSWAI) instructs Deirdre O Conner (Donegal Town) on the dry stone wall workshop

Stone carving workshops were fully booked

carving workshop

Sculptor Brendan Mc Gloin shows how it is done.

Festival weekend was blessed with fine, dry weather


Dave Ryan (Limerick)


A series of public talks were held in Salthill Gardens


Brendan Mc Gloin chats with Thomas Pringle TD beneath a styrofoam replica of the high cross he carved

Nearby at Mountcharles Pier red headed cailíní help with hearting the wall.  Their work shall still be standing when their grandchildren walk here


 We build about forty yards of wall


More than just a wall – its our living heritage


We held demonstrations of age-old skills


The talented Michael Mc Groarty (Mountcharles) at work


Like splitting stone by peg and feather




Making pillars of local sandstone – pure & simple


Nick Aitken (Inverness); Bernard Keane (Bruckless); Jimmy Mc Anaw (Mountcharles) erect a pillar

As was on the original old wall, we used shore stones to cope it



Hard work right late into the third evening – but not too tired to hang a gate


With much to admire, like this step- through stile


Looking very pleased with our work


Sunny Wieler (DSWAI chairperson); Louise Price (festival organiser); Jacob Murray (Amherst Island); Rónán Crehan (Killybegs)

A magical close to the festival weekend was a visit to Drumkeelan sandstone mines.  See Sunny’s blog for a close-up view.


10 thoughts on “Tír Conaill Stone Festival

  1. What county is it ? “Not enough water to drown a man . Not enough trees to hand a man. Not enough soil to bury a man .” Terry Wogan taught me that one .

  2. hi well done louise ,sorry I missed it .love the bit about the caves ,have to see them.well done again. mal

  3. John Cadd – In 1751 Ludlow described the limestone Burren in Co Clare – “…it is a country where there is not water enough to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, not earth enough to bury him…and yet their cattle are very fat; for the grass…growing…between the rocks,… is very sweet and nourishing.”

    Nice presentation Louise, a grand event, lots of fine memories.

  4. Wonderfully organised and carried through, a real credit to you as the organiser.
    Hardly to be wondered at considering what you did with the Thresher project, that was a mighty undertaking indeed.
    And completed with such attention to detail, for something begun in mud and bruised fingers. Well done indeed.
    Absolutely engrossing reportage of the Stone Fest, wonderful photos, both beautiful and very instructive.
    But that last one, of the candle lit entrance into the mine! Truly stunning.

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