Members of the Offaly public are this week being asked for help to find a rock. It's not just any rock that has gone missing however, it's one of four cornerstones specially carved as part of last year's Gathering of Stones in Lough Boora.
The Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland (DSWAI) organised one of The Gathering's more unique events last year, with a dry stone sculpture created in the Lough Boora Parklands from stones brought from far and wide by participants including carvers Victor Daly, Julia Gebel, Christian Helling and Alex Panteleyenko.
The sculpture was to be completed this summer with four cornerstones representing the four provinces of Ireland. However now one of those stones - the Munster crest - has gone missing from a nearby storage yard, putting in doubt a grand unveiling planned for Heritage Week in August.
"It remains at large and we desperately hope that whoever it was that decided to take it may decide to find it in their conscience to return it," DSWAI secretary and project manager Ken Curran explained.
The stolen cornerstone took up to 40 hours to create, and was donated to the Gathering of Stones free of charge by carver Victor Daly.
"This is why it pains me to have to write these words and to think of the mindset that one would have to have been in to take something like this," Ken continued. "This piece of stone is so much more than a carving. It's someone's art. It's a little piece of the maker's soul. It's a part of their life given freely to an idea larger than all of us. It's a part of a sculpture dedicated to all the people of Ireland at home and abroad."
Anyone with information on the stone is asked to contact either Victor Daly via www.thestonecarver.com or the DSWAI at firstname.lastname@example.org.