You may have thought Rhode’s upcoming “Rock the Boat” world record attempt would be the stand out Gathering event in Offaly. However this week news of another attention-grabbing event has reached the Offaly Independent - a Gathering of Stones!
The Gathering of Stones, which is part of this year’s Gathering celebrations, will see stones from far and wide brought to the Lough Boora Parklands in Offaly on the invitation of the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland and The Stone Foundation USA.
Over four days those stones will be moulded into a large dry stone structure as a permanent monument to The Gathering 2013. Stones featured are to include those from the four provinces of Ireland, while visitors from overseas are also being encouraged to bring a stone home with them to incorporate into the piece.
A small number of granite blocks form the old immigrant docks in New York, which millions of emigrants would have walked over after registering at Ellis Island, have also been offered to the project.
A video clip promoting the event that runs from June 20 until June 23 applauds Ireland’s tradition of dry stonewalling, which goes back to the early Neolithic period.
“The dry stone walls that bind Ireland’s iconic landscape and heritage together are a familiar sight on many postcards and posters of home,” it says. “These walls, some of which are hundreds of years old, have been built by men who have long since emigrated from our shores, taking with them the skills of the craft that were handed down to them by their forefathers. In turn many of these men have spread the craft and the passion for stone across many parts of the world.”
The planned celebration aims to not just celebrate The Gathering, but also Ireland’s dry stone heritage. “In the unique settings of Lough Boora Parklands in Co Offaly The Gathering of Stones will be an event where people with an interest in Irish dry stone walls will come together and under the instruction and guidance of The Dry Stone Wall Association build an attractive communal stone installation.
More information on the Gathering of Stones is available at and http://dswaireland.ning.com/page/the-gathering-of-stones.