Category Archives: Feile na gCloch

Feile na cGloch 2018

Stonewall Building, Carving, Letter Carving Workshops & On Location Sketch Outs – Exploring Inis Oírr

Dates: Thursday 13th to Sunday 16th September 2018

Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, County Galway

Schedule D – On Location Sketch Outs Exploring Inis Oírr

  • Spend three days exploring Inishsheer through sketching. Capture the magic scenery and culture of the smallest of the Aran Islands in your artists’s notebook. Experience this intimate island through drawing her castles, shipwrecks, churches, seascapes and iconic drystone walls.
  • Through on location sketch outs you will discover the rugged beauty of this jewel in the Atlantic. Enjoy the creative camaraderie and be part of the exhibition of work done over the weekend.
  • This long weekend is for the self-motivated sketcher who wants to enjoy a fun and sociable time drawing on location in an ancient landscape. All levels of experience welcome.
  • Join a sketch out to capture the creation of a dry stone wall.
  • Lectures on Friday and Saturday evening be stone masons, stone carvers and artists enchance your experience and understanding of the island and the festival.
  • Each sketch out starts with a 30 minute workshop with tips and inspiration from experienced sketchers. Your lunch will be delivered to you each day.
  • Leave the island with a sketchbook full of memories.

D  – Time Schedule – Sketch Outs

Thursday 3pm – 5pm

 If you are arriving early, there will be an extra sketch out.

4.30pm – 7.00pm Welcome to the island and discussion of workshops, sketch outs and other activities over the weekend. Talks relating to stonewalling, carving, letter carving and sketching.

Friday 10am – 4pm

On location sketch outs with your allocated group at locations including the Wreck of the Plassey, O’Brien’s  Castle, the lighthouse, half buried and ruined churches, the harbour, lakes and beaches, limestone fieldscapes, stonewalls, stunning skies and dramatic seascapes.

5-7pm talks

Saturday 10am – 4pm

10am – 2pm – On location sketch outs with your allocated group at locations across the Island as above.

2pm – 4pm – Join a sketch out to capture the creation of a dry stone wall.

5 – 7pm talks

Sunday 17th September 10am – 1pm

On location sketch outs with your allocated group at locations across the Island as above.

What to bring

Definitely sketchbooks, drawing pencils, pens, pencil sharpener, eraser. Perhaps loose leaf pages, watercolours, paint brushes, easel, colour pencils, oil pastels, or which ever medium / mediums you like to draw with.

This is an outdoor event. Irish weather is famous for offering 4 seasons in one day. Make sure to bring warm clothes, sturdy shoes and good rain gear. Inis Oirr has a lovely beach, so pack your bathers if you want to take the plunge.


Payment must be received in Euro.

Cheques should be made payable to:

‘Galway County Council – Stone Wall Workshop’’


A refund of fees (less €20 administration charge) will be

given, provided that notice of cancellation is received

in writing on or before 7th September 2018

No refunds given after this date.


Ms. Marie Mannion,

Heritage Officer,

Forward Planning,

Áras an Chontae,

Galway County Council,

Prospect Hill, Galway

Tel: 00353 91 509198



Gráinne Smyth/ Martina Creaven

Forward Planning,

Áras an Chontae,

Galway County Council,

Prospect Hill, Galway.

Tel: 00353 91 509121/509017

Email: or


An action of Galway County Heritage Plan

Transport to Inis Oírr

Workshop participants must book their own travel to Inis Oírr.

There are ferry services operating from Rossaveel, Co Galway and Doolin in Co Clare.


The following are their contact details:

Aran Island ferries, Rossaveel: Tel: +353(0)91 568903

Doolin Ferry :   Tel: +353(0) 65 707 5555 +353 (0) 65 707 1710

After Hours : Liam @ 087 958 1465                                        Email:

Doolin 2 Aran Ferry:  Tel: +353 65 7075949                                                            

Mob: +353 87 2453239                                                     Email:

Air Travel

Flights are available to the Aer Aran Islands, from Inverin, Connemara, Co. Galway.

Aer Arann islands – Tel :  +353(0)91 593034                                      


Please note: It is recommended that you book your own accommodation and transport prior to booking this course. Please see list of accommodation and transport providers.

Please also make your own arrangements for evening meals.

Leaba & Bricfeasta in Inis Oírr/Bed & Breakfast in Inis Oírr

Baile an Fhormna / Formna Village

Caitríona Uí Chatháin         Phone: +353 (0)99 75090  Fáilte Ireland Approved

Máire Ní Fhlatharta              Phone: +353 (0)99 75083

Baile Thiar / West Village

South Aran House              Phone: +353 (0)99 75073  Fáilte Ireland Approved

Ostán Inis Oírr                     Phone: +353 (0)99 75020  Fáilte Ireland Approved

Brú/Hostel                             Phone: +353 (0)99 75024  Fáilte Ireland Approved

Máire Searraigh                   Phone: +353 (0)99 75024

Máire Foley                           Phone: +353 (0)99 75037

Barbara Uí Chonghaile      Phone: +353 (0)99 75025

Baile an Chaisleáin / Castle Village

Bríd Póil                                 Phone: +353 (0)99 75019

Áine Uí Ghríofa                    Phone: +353 (0)99 75983

Baile an tSéipéil / Chapel Village

Bernie Uí Dhonncha                       Phone: +353 (0)99 75088

Pádraig Ó Donncha                        Phone: +353 (0)99 75000

Baile an Lurgain / Lurgan Village

Tigh Ruairí Ó Conghaile (Rory’s B&B):      Phone: +353 (0)99 75002

Bríd Brennan            Phone: +353 (0)99 75125

Self Catering

For a full listing of self catering can be found on the following link:

Evening Meals

Evening Meals can be booked at the following:

Tigh Ruairí:        Phone: +353 (0) 99 75002                           

South Aran House (bookings only) Phone: +353 (0) 99 75073

Ostán Inis Oírr:  Phone: +353 (0)99 75020                           

Information of Inis Oírr and its services

Contact: Comhar Caomhán Teo, Inis Oírr, Árainn, Co. na Gaillimhe.

Phone: Phone: +353 (0)99 75008; Fax: Phone: +353 (0)99 75071


Registration Form

Please complete in BLOCK CAPITALS and return with your payment to:

Stone Workshop 2017, c/o Ms. Gráinne Smyth, Forward Planning, Áras an Chontae,

Galway County Council, Prospect Hill, Galway, Ireland. Tel: +353(0) 91 509121


We suggest that you photocopy this form for your records.

Title: ___     Surname:____________________ First Name:______________________

Address: ________________________________________________________________

Tel:  ____________________   Email: ________________________________________

Registration Fee: ________________________________________

Workshop D – On Location Sketch Outs –  Exploring Inis Oírr

All lectures, organised sketch outs, tea/coffee,and lunches included Friday to Sunday

NB: Limited number of places for this workshop

No partial Workshop Fee available  – Full Workshop Fee: €75


I enclose a cheque/bank draft for €—— (Euros) payable to ‘Galway County Council –Stone

Workshop 2018′ and send to Stone Workshop, C/o Ms. Gráinne Smyth, Forward Planning,

Áras an Chontae, Galway County Council, Prospect Hill, Galway, Ireland.

Signed: ___________________________________             

Date: _______/_________/_________

How did you hear about this conference? Mailing /Advert /Internet Other

Your particular interest in attending:












Scaled Labour by John Shaw-Rimmington

Miniature Bridge

The building of scale models is a enjoyable pastime. There is something pleasing about seeing big things in a tinier form. For one thing their overall shape can be better appreciated if we can see them from a kind of ‘imaginary distance’. What is useful about models and miniatures is that an understanding of the method of constructing, say of boats, planes, houses, can often better be achieved (and the full scale project be then tackled with more knowledge) if several scale models have been made before the real thing is realised to proper scale.

Mark looks at Miniature Bridge

Dry stone bridges are no different. A lot can be learned about how to build them, and why and how an arch works, when you go about constructing a model one first. If they are built outside in some natural setting, an imaginary scene can be created too where small crevices in rocks, or spaces between boulders, are made to appear like deep ravines or canyons. This is kind of a magical thing.

When John Shaw-Rimmington first saw the deep criss-crossing cracks in the surface of the limestone bedrock on Inisheer Island he felt like he was flying over it, looking down on a vast canyon or plateau landscape. The rugged contour of the Aran Islands has a fractal quality that enables one to imagine the geology on a smaller, or bigger, scale.

John chose to build his tiny bridge over a 30 cm wide gap that he found, which was a natural crack, about a metre deep, running through a slab of bedrock sloping down to the sea. He hoped the miniature would make the ‘gap’ look like a life-size bridge spanning a huge chasm.
John chose a spot far enough from the path that people would not be aware of it unless they were looking for it. Having the bridge too close to the path too would mean people would see it more from directly above, rather than looking across at the bridge, which is how we most often view them.
John used a plastic bucket, wedging rocks in the gap below it, to support it so that half the bucket appeared above the surface of the bedrock. He had already collected suitable pebbles and all kinds of tiny flat stones, in that very same bucket, along the trail on his walk to the tiny bridge site. Both approaches to the bridge (the tails) were built up carefully with thin stones then he laid in a radiating pattern over the bucket form ‘ the centering’ with tiny v shaped stones, laid in proper voussoir pattern. The inside of the bridge vaulting was done just the same way he would do a full scale bridge, but on a tiny scale.
landscaped bridge
John paved the whole upper surface with one or two layers of thin flat stones. Most of the them could have made good skipping stones if he’d not been in a tiny bridge building frame of mind. He returned later and landscaped with tiny plants and paved it again this time with gritty sand.
Dr Who at Bridge
John had brought along his thumb sized, plastic Dr Who on the trip, and pulling him from his pocket, placed him standing by the bridge. It looked appropriately like he had been transported from some other dimension of space and time. The mysterious miniature bridge was discovered by all kinds of people over the weekend John was on Inis Oírr. Kids played with Dr Who, walking him up over the chasm and back.
photographing the bridge
That part of the path became a favourite stopping place for the horse drawn carts. Visitors aboard could ponder the tiny structure from their seats and perhaps merely wonder why someone would be so crazy to spend all that time making it. Perhaps it all has to do with scale and perspective.
one man and his bridge
While John Shaw-Rimmington was making his bridge, time stood still.  He became small enough to explore that small patch of  island bedrock as if he’d shrunk to an Inisheer fraction of my normal size.