For generations, artists, makers, producers, and dreamers have been inspired by the stone that forms West Cork’s coastline.
This March the West Cork Stone Symposium (24-26th March) is giving everyone a chance to learn the traditional and timeless skills of carving, lettering and dry stone walling against the backdrop of West Cork’s rugged peninsulas, valleys, and islands.
Some of the world’s best dry stone wallers and stone carvers will be gathering on the Sheep’s Head peninsula to take part in what is set to be a fun and collaborative celebration of stonecraft and creativity. Over three days, the peninsula and its neighbouring islands will be home to hands-on workshops, a photography course, walks, exhibitions, and even a whiskey tour on Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay.
Workshop-goers will work beside some of the most skilled craftspeople in Ireland at the symposium which is supported by the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland. The symposium’s workshops on dry stone walling and stone carving are open to people of all abilities, and the level of interest so far from beginners and experienced craftspeople alike means this creative and collaborative weekend is set to become a regular feature on the Sheep’s Head event calendar.
“We’re delighted to be passing on traditional skills”, says Victor Daly, a sculptor and stone carver based in Ahakista who is the West Cork Stone Symposium’s creative director. “Dry stone walling and stone carving are really ancient crafts, and the work we do is so much part of the landscape of the west of Ireland that people almost see it as part of nature.”
“Dry stone walling and stone carving have helped to shape the identity of the Wild Atlantic Way, and they reflect the character and creativity of our communities too. We’re looking forward to welcoming people to our gathering so that they can immerse themselves in West Cork life and play a part in carrying ancient skills and traditions into the future.”