Daily Archives: March 2, 2013

Photographing the Alphabet ~ D

D ~ Dry Stone Walls

A traditional skill in Ireland dating back thousands of years and still very evident today throughout the island of Ireland.

Drystone walling involves the construction of a wall, entirely made of stone. No bonding agent is used to stick the stones together, the “bonding” comes from the skill used to lay the stones. It’s a very labour-intensive work but rewarding in the end.

Unlike a fence that can be blown over in a gale, the gaps in the stones allows the wind to blow through, yet at the same time gives shelter to any livestock grazing in the fields.

Dry stone wall patchwork at the foot of Slemish.

The Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland (DSWAI) was founded in 2009.
They are a non-profit organisation which is run entirely by volunteers. The current committee is mixture of professional stonemasons and those with an interest/background in the area.

In the D.S.W.A.I.  our aim is create an awareness of the need for preserving the craft of ‘dry’ stone building in Ireland.

In doing so the association hopes to advance the education of the public and professionals in the knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the craft of building with stone, particularly the craft of ‘dry’ stone construction (i.e. without the use of mortars).

One of our goals is the formation and growth of a community of members (both amateur and professional), which involves itself in dry stone projects.

With these aims in mind the D.S.W.A.I. intends to promote the study and appreciation of dry stone construction by means of lectures, discussions, exhibitions, workshops, training and certification programs.

The Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland (DSWAI) in collaboration with The International Stone Foundation have been working on creating a big dry stone walling event to join in the nation wide celebrations of The Gathering Ireland 2013.

You are invited. The invitation includes the opportunity to bring a rock/stone from home and it you attend the event it will be added to the wall.
Click on the D.S.W.A.I link above for more information and a video ( best viewed on a large screen).

My Maternal Great Grandfather William Coughlan, was a Stonemason. His life began in Skibbereen, on the south west coast of Ireland, in 1852. It was the final year of the Irish Potato Famine. Family history tells us that William worked his way to Dublin, where with the eventuality of gradualness he met and married Catherine D’Arcy on 12 June 1879. My Granny was the third of their eight children.