Walling in the Mournes

‘Where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea’. 

This is County Down – a wonderful spot for dry stone walls. 

Granite country.

Mourne field walls

 We find ourselves in the Silent Valley at a workshop run by the Mourne Heritage Trust

mourne walling workshop

Instructed by Andy Loudon (far right) & Jim Hanson (far left)  –  we build a single skin wall with granite boulders

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 Granite being igneous & bereft of any bed plane, there is not much use for a chisel to shape this stuff.

A rub of the sledge is the right language. sledging granite

Most hefty boulders are set on naked ground

corner of boulder wall

then smaller stones bring the wall up directly to the line

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Spaces are jambed

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using the diagonal of the boulder to create contact 

Jim Hanson

Manoeuver of large stones by best plank technology

mournes wall

They find their proper resting place with a satisfying clunk

stone manouver

Mourne walls are impressively level, given the rounded nature of granite.  Note too the tradition of this area is not to fill voids allowing wind to pass through.

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We are pretty pleased with our finished wall.

finished wall

4 thoughts on “Walling in the Mournes

  1. Great stuff, Louise. The Mourne walls are magnificent and collectively are a thing of beauty on this wonderful, mountainous landscape. Thank you, once again, Louise, for bringing this to us.

  2. Perfect language for the craft – “a rub of the sledge” – and what Cyclopean work those walls are. Like the Drumkeelan mines in the last post, it is hard to believe what mighty work was done in the past with wedge & lever rather than fossil fuels. Good preparation for the not too distant future methinks.

  3. Lovely piece, thank you. I was lucky enough to live in the Mournes for a time, such a beautiful landscape. I was told one of the reasons for the voids in the wall was that it deters sheep from trying to rub up against the stone or try and vault the walls….to sheep these walls look ‘shaky’ so they stay clear!!

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