West Cork Stone Symposium takes place this month

West Cork Stone Symposium takes place this month
West Cork Stone Symposium, Victor Daly, Stone Carver. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

CRAFTSPEOPLE, from beginners to experienced, will have the chance to learn and develop skills in the areas of stone carving and dry stone walling at the West Cork Stone Symposium later this March.

The event, which takes place from March 20 to 22 on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula, will be a creative celebration of stonecraft and its place in Irish life, and the hands-on workshops give people a chance to learn or develop skills that have been handed down from generation to generation.

Those in attendance will have the chance to learn time-honoured skills from world-renowned carvers and wallers who’ll lead a series of creative and collaborative workshops at the event.

Sculptor Martha Quinn is one of this year’s tutors. Her work explores the relationship between sculpture and landscape, and her recent public commissions have included a sculpture and landscape project for the Royal Hospital Donnybrook.

People can sign up for one, two or three days, while members of the public can also benefit from talks and demonstrations from other craftspeople such as local blacksmith JJ Bowen.

Victor Daly, a sculptor and stone carver who is the West Cork Stone Symposium’s creative director said: “We’re delighted to be helping keep traditional skills alive. Dry stone walling and stone carving have helped to shape the identity of the Wild Atlantic Way.

“So, when people take up those skills and put them to use, they’re helping us carry those ancient skills and traditions into the future. That’s a great outcome from a small and friendly festival on the Sheep’s Head.” The festival has made an impressive mark on the landscape of the area already, as in previous years visitors have created walls, seating, and hand-carved signs in Ahakista and Kilcrohane, and this year they will continuing work on a wall at the Muintir Bháire GAA grounds that has added to the attractiveness of Durrus village.

The weekend’s walling workshops, which are supported by The Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland, will get through 100 tons of stone over the three days of the symposium.

To book, visit westcorksymposium.com or call 086 303 0991.

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