Dry Stone Wall Building
Dry stone walls are synonymous with the Irish rural and upland landscape features. It is estimated that the Irish countryside has over 400,000km of dry stone walls, and 210,000km of stone-earthen banks. Dr Alan M.Hurley gives information on dry stone wall building
Dry stone walls are synonymous with the Irish rural and upland landscape features. It is estimated that the Irish countryside has over 400,000km of dry stone walls, and 210,000km of stone-earthen banks (Georg Müller, Europe’s Field Boundaries, 2012). Ireland has over 60% more stone earthen banks and 25% more dry stone walls than the next nearest countries in Europe (UK 85,340km stone earthen banks and Croatia 300,000km dry stone walls).
Dry stone walling has undergone a resurgence in popularity in Ireland due to the perseverance of a small number of farmers and the re-engagement with it by others. Due also to the teaching of the craft by what was a very small number of dedicated masons.
The building of dry stone walls is a long- standing rural-farming tradition dating back to the Neolithic Period here (5,000 years ago). There was also a time professional dry stone wallers travelled through the country, as well as over and back from Ireland to England, Scotland and Wales. Many walls on estates and larger farms were built by these skilled craft workers as far back as the medieval period. The longest continuous length of dry stone wall in Britain and Ireland, The Mourne Wall (35km) in Co. Down is a good example of this. Common stones used in Ireland include limestone, granite and sandstone.
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