One of the most unique Gathering 2013 events has today commenced in Lough Boora Parklands.
The Gathering of Stones involves masons using stones specially transported to Lough Boora from Ellis Island in New York as well as stones gathering from each of the four provinces of Ireland to build a communal stone installation at the park.
The installation will act as a permanent monument to Ireland’s diaspora.
Speaking at the launch of the Gathering of Stones this morning Laois Offaly TD Charlie Flanagan said the installation is appropriate.
“It is incredibly fitting that stones from Ellis Island, which was a vital gateway for so many of our diaspora, have been brought together with stones from the four provinces of Ireland,” he said.
“There are four provinces in Ireland but the Irish word for province is ‘cuige’ meaning fifth. The Irish diaspora should consider themselves the fifth province of Ireland. I think this monument will provide a fitting tribute to these five provinces permanently gathered here to be remembered in this wonderful location.”
Also speaking this morning was Pat Ring of Bord na Mona, the organisation hosting the weekend event. He pointed out that Lough Boor Parklands is a valuable tourism resource for the midlands and people across Ireland.
“We are very proud that we were chosen to host this installation here just as we look forward to receiving all the thousands of visitors in the future who will come to enjoy it here in the geographical centre of Ireland,” he said.
Mr Ring also commended the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland and the International Stone Foundation for their inspired and beautiful craftsmanship.