Stacking Stones, an Irish Pastime

I think Ireland has more rocks than any other place in the world.

With so many rocks they have come up with inventive ways to use them, and this includes a long history of stacking them into dwellings.

A dwelling for the dead at Carrowkeel, a Megalithic Bronze Age tomb site, famous for its ‘passage’ tombs. These tombs are more piled than stacked, and date from around 3500 -2900 BC. A 'passage' tomb in Carrowkeel, a Neolithic burial site in IrelandNearby Carrowkeel is Carrowmore, another Megalithic site, with some tricky balancing stone stacking done by these ancient peoples.Megalithic tombs at Carrowmore, one of the four major passage tomb complexes in IrelandJust outside of Port Magee we stopped at ‘Kerry’s Most Spectacular Cliffs’ which had reproductions of the old stone buildings called ‘Beehive Huts’ or Clochans, dating from 2000 BC.Sign explaining the 'Beehive' hutsDue to an ingenious method of stacking, these stone huts were waterproof, and were used for habitation up until the Early Middle Ages.Old stone farm buildings at to 'Kerry's Most Spectacular Cliffs' in IrelandIn the middle ages the Irish castles were built out of rocks, surrounded by more rocks in the form of fences. (The Aran Island of Inisheer has the most rocks in all of Ireland.)
The Aran Island of Inisheer in Ireland has more rocks than just about any other place I've been to, and just about everything there is made of rocks: Castle ruin with fences7545Dunluce Castle ruins in Northern Ireland, UK was built of the hexagonal stones quarried from the nearby Giant’s Causeway.Dunluce Castle ruins in Northern Ireland, UK showing the hexagonal stones quarried from the Giant's Causeway in the evening lightThis is a Famine House, where the 19th-century farm workers lived in extreme cold, damp and povertyThe Famine Houses on the Dingle Peninsula in IrelandThe exterior of the rich landowner’s house.The Famine Houses on the Dingle Peninsula in IrelandAn interesting example of a more ‘recent’ stone structure was just down the hill, the Stonehouse Restaurant. Actually, I’m only guessing as to age as, if cared for, many of these stone structures have stood the test of time. The Stonehouse Restaurant between Dunbeg Fort and the Famine Houses on the Dingle Peninsula in IrelandIn Sneem we went to an amazing stone sculpture garden, with structures that in many ways resembled the traditional beehive houses.
Stone sculpture in the garden that runs along the river in Sneem, IrelandI suspect that the Irish will never run out of stones or inventive ways in which to use them!

More of Nancy Merrill’s Photo Challenge: Stacked.

6 responses to “Stacking Stones, an Irish Pastime

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