A unique map of Ireland carved from stone native to each of the 32 counties was unveiled at the Tir Chonaill Stone Festival, in Donegal this weekend. There was a great sense of pride and of a job well done in Glencolmcille as the stunning 15-foot stone map of Ireland was finally revealed.
The 15 foot construction has been a year in the making, with stonemasons from across Ireland each asked to sculpt a decorative map of their own county. The 32 individual pieces are being fitted together like a jigsaw to form a new monument at Glencolmcille.
Called Stones Of Ireland, it is being unveiled at the annual Tir Chonaill Stone Festival. Each stone mason was asked to carve their native county using natural stone of that region.
Louise Price, chairwoman of the Tir Chonaill Stone Festival, said: “We are overwhelmed by goodwill. It basically involved getting 32 native Irish stones from quarries across Ireland and then getting 32 volunteer stonemasons from their representative county to apply their expertise in carving. “The logistics of this project was difficult but the whole thing is driven by camaraderie and a love of what we do.”
Embellished with artwork, the various county stones depict myths, legend and emblems symbolic to each county. All work has been carried out on a voluntary basis helped by donations of stone from quarries all over the island.
Stonemason Patsy McInaw, who is president of the festival, said: “The monument celebrates who we are as Irish people and celebrates this ancient art. It reflects a people united in their work not for private gain but for the greater good. I would like to thank our supporters and all the quarries across Ireland for their kind donations of native stone.”