2015 Tír Chonaill Stone Festival – Glencolmcille

We pulled off a mighty celebration for stone lovers in Glencolmcille 19th-21st June

photo by Martin Cunningham

Largely this success was due to hard work and preparation on the ground in the months prior


When Festival day arrived – the weather was damp – but two hoots we did not give!

Instruction got underway for keen wallers

Photo by Jacqui Reed

Rónan Crehan instructs wallers : photo by Jacqui Reed

wet schist

Paul Phaid Cunningham - highly skilled with his native schist

Glencolmcille man Paul ‘Phaid’ Cunningham – highly skilled with his native schist: photo by Jacqui Reed


Festival goers work on restoring a retaining wall in the ancient Cashel area of Glen

Our local crafts men had previously erected their standing stones, which they’d carved over winter

North Star granite feature - by Michael Mc Groarty

North Star feature stone  – carved by Michael Mc Groarty from Barnsmore granite

Essence of Glencolmcille - carved by Paul 'Phaid' Cunningham from Drumkeelan Sandstone

The story of Glencolmcille – carved by Paul ‘Phaid’ Cunningham from Drumkeelan Sandstone

Meantime, mason Christian Helling had been busy with this..

Tipperary sandstone 'chair'

Tipperary sandstone ‘chair’

The chair arrived on site the night before the Festival & was installed into the bay we’d gotten ready


Through the mists of the Glen many locals appeared to admire the stones

Local interest


Andrew Waters

Michael Mc Groarty teaches letter cutting

Michael Mc Groarty (Mountcharles) teaches letter cutting

Victor Daly from Cork teaches scuplture

Victor Daly (Cork) teaches scuplture


  Our extremely popular carving  workshops ran at maximum capacity.

   With letter cutting and sculpting on offer, the Mart resounded with the sound of chisels and hammers.

 Master carvers worked flat-out to teach students of all ages and abilities

Going strong on the Festival Wall

Going strong on the Festival Wall

Attendees from the Heritage Department’s Seminar on Dry Stone Walls arrived to take part on Saturday afternoon

photo by Jacqui Reed

photo by Jacqui Reed




‘Nuair is gá dom fháil bhaile Is tú mo Réalt eolais’ : ‘When I need to get home you are my guiding light.’


Pat Mc Affee with festival goers

Pat Mc Affee with festival goers

phaidtshirtOur good friend Padraig Poil couldn’t make it but gave us this beautiful stone

Padraig Poil gets ready to ship his contribution of limestone

Ready to ship the Motherstone to Donegal: photo by NC Britton

A testimony to our bond with Inis Oírr it rests in Glen forevermore


photo by Kathryn Daily


Just a few of our volenteer stonemasons (from left)  Jamie Mc Nern; Kieran Keeney; Paul ‘Phaid’ Cunninham

Our recently deceased friend Martin Mc Brearty is remembered



Stonemason Christian Helling with his chair to honour the much missed Martin Mc Brearty



photo by Kathryn Daily


photo by Karl Kennedy

To complete the experience we toured the wonderful Glencolmcille Folk Village

folkvillageAnd delved down into the monastic souterrain below the church


20150621_141021Then we visited the lovely Tobar Colm Cille 20150621_144302Keeping our traditions alive with unadultertated passion


Behold the finished wall – a credit to entire community


Indeed we believe this is Ireland’s future, community effort to treasure our stone built heritage for all to enjoy


You can read Jacqui Reed’s account of the Festival here and other press coverage here

Photo by Karl Kennedy

Photo by Karl Kennedy

Assisted by Donegal County Council and the Education & Training Board.

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