Back to the beautiful Lough Boora Parklands in Offaly!
You may recall The Gathering of Stones project which we began here in 2013
The final push took place last weekend during a Status Red storm warning no less!
It has been a steady, but long slog for DSWAI members thus far – which has
involved thirteen weekends of labour between 2013 and the present day – all voluntary!
‘Built by the People of Ireland for the People of Ireland all over the world’
Amongst others, Christian Helling is back on site.
His signature ‘sunburst’ finish adorns his complex arch – now set perfectly into the central valette.
The form is good – and why wouldn’t it be – when you’re on the home stretch..
We build a second parameter wall which shall be shored up with earth, creating a bi-vallate enclosure, reflective of our ring fort heritage
The inner valette houses carved crests which belong to Ireland’s four provinces
The inner valette represents Ireland’s long-lost former fifth Province – which was known as Mide – or Middle Kingdom.
Mide was said to be the original seat of the High Kings of Ireland.
Not far from here is the sacred site called the Hill of Uisneach
596 ft above sea level, the summit of Uisneach commands extensive panoramic views over the central plain, with twenty counties visible.
In ancient times, to usher in Spring a great fire was lit here – the tradition continues today.
Here can be found a thirty tonne glacial erratic – the ‘Catstone’ or ‘Stone of Divisions’ – the mystical navel of Ireland.
It symbolises Ireland united in its divisions, as it was here that the four provinces met.
The goddess Eiru, after whom Ireland is named, is buried beneath the Catstone.
Meanwhile back in our ‘middle kingdom’ the scaffolding is being cut down..
The ‘Emigrant Stones’ from Battery Park have resettled well
”Our greatest tribute can be in the manner in which we carry ourselves for the next fifty years. We are not to die for Ireland; but to live for Ireland”
(Father Mc Dyer 1966)
A happy crew – we look forward to the grand opening of this wonderful project hopefully in spring 2016
Please explore the concept of the Gathering of Stones here.
8 thoughts on “The Gathering of Stones: A final push”
Brilliant article and very impressive creations.
Full marks to all involved and especially to Helling for that sunburst motif. I’d not heard of MIDE previously and like the thought of a hidden, invisible entity encompassing all.
The Erratics would be a perfect name for such dedicated & skillful people, especially in the drear, deracinated daze ahead.
Well done & a koala stamp
Thank you A – great suggestion for the Erratics. Helling’s arch is something else in the flesh – a true artisan. As for Uisneach – good luck to their application for Unesco world heritage site status. There is no other site in Europe which has its central stone in situ as most have been carted off to mueseums. Also no other country exists in Europe with original province boundaries AS WERE in pre Christian era.
A brilliant idea beautifully executed. Lots of lovely, thought-provoking details. I especially like the quotation in the text from Father McDyer. He too was a visionary and has changed this land. I love the concept of Mide, the rather subversive notion of a real, if intangible, place where all people on this island are one people, forever.
Thank you for this insightful comment. Indeed I often feel that we are so richly furnished with figures like Mc Dyer; and at the same time bolstered by an abiding legacy of a justice driven ancestry; our collective unconscious can’t but be shaped by these forces, no matter what.
Two simple words to you on your beautiful documentary account of the Gathering of Stones – Artistic and Thanks.
For the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland, four words – Your Footprint for Posterity.
Happy Christmas to everyone, keep safe and enjoy. Eddie.
It is a fantastic achievement by you lads who persevered over those 13 weekends. Hats off. We had a nice conversation with Mary remembering the craic we had around the Egan table yon night!
I hope you enjoyed Edinburgh and please give my best to your Louise.
Seasonal Greetings & look forward to seeing you when the days grow longer!
lovely write up and photos.was great to be part of it . well done to every body…mal
lovely write up and photos.well done to every who was part of it.nice to be part of it ..mal