Stone, is an intrinsic part of the Irish landscape, and has been used and worked in Ireland since the first early peoples used stone for house construction, and Neolithic farmers used it to form field boundaries.

Good examples of ancient field systems and their walls can be seen at the Neolithic Céide Fields site in North County Mayo. It is thought that these could be the oldest Stone Age field systems in the world, at almost 6000 years old.

Other famous examples of Irelands’ wonderful stone heritage are the Dolmens and passage graves of the Burren region of County Clare and the formidable Iron Age fort on Dún Aengus on the island of Inis Mór. Its impressive location on a cliff edge, 100 metres above the Atlantic Ocean and its ‘Cheveaux de Frisedefense of jagged rocks, make it one of the most impressive forts in Europe.

Today, the rich history of stonework in Ireland, from the earliest farmers’ walls, to the magnificent passage grave at New Grange County Meath, and the ornately carved buildings as influenced by our Anglo-Irish heritage, such as the Bank of Ireland and the GPO on O’Connell Street, can be seen as testament to their creators skills and craftsmanship.

Staigue ring fort in County Kerry is a good example of Celtic Iron Age dry-stone wall building circa AD 250—350.
Copyright David Shaw-Smith
This image shows Staigue forts internal crossing stone stairways, which led to the terraces above. The fort was probably built as a status symbol by a local chieftain.
Copyright David Shaw-Smith

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