The Gathering of Stones: A final push

Back to the beautiful Lough Boora Parklands in Offaly!


You may recall The Gathering of Stones project which we began here in 2013

P1110879The 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..


                                                                  Karl Kennedy; Sunny Wieler; Damian Williams


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


                    Donegal stonemason Michael Mc Groarty works over the Ulster crest, carved by Alex Panteleynko

The inner valette represents Ireland’s long-lost former fifth Province – which was known as Mide – or Middle Kingdom.

high king flag

Mide was said to be the original seat of the High Kings of Ireland.

20151206_110941Not 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.

20150509_145811Here 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.

20150509_192413The goddess Eiru, after whom Ireland is named, is buried beneath the Catstone.

20150509_165456Meanwhile back in our ‘middle kingdom’ the scaffolding is being cut down..

20151206_150257The ‘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)

20151206_152430A happy crew – we look forward to the grand opening of this wonderful project hopefully in spring 2016

FB_IMG_1449534524526Please explore the concept of the Gathering of Stones here.


8 thoughts on “The Gathering of Stones: A final push

  1. 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

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. Dear Louise,
    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.

    1. Dear 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!

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