Are courses open to beginners?
Yes. You can be an absolute beginner, or an expert. The courses are taught by tutors who take you from your current level, as far as you can go in the time you sign up for.
Do I have to sign up for the whole 3 days?
No. You can sign up for one-day, two, or three. It’s entirely up to you. We tend to find that people enjoy more than one day because the skills learned on day one start to become more familiar at that point. but we often have people come back to do their second or third day in a separate year!
How are the stone carving workshops taught?
In each workshop there is a tutor per every 4 or 5 attendees. After an initial introduction and short tutorial each day, the tutors move between the new stone carvers, offering advice relevant to their stage and project. The workshops are friendly and informal, and you will get advice from all of the tutors, as well as the more experienced carvers as your day goes on.
How are the dry stone walling workshops taught?
Everyone collaborates on one big project – this year, completing a wall our attendees started last year on the outskirts of Durrus village (we carpool from registration to the site, which is 5 minutes’ drive away).
The tutors will break you into groups based on your experience (we have people from hobbyists to builders attending each year!). Then tutors will give you support and advice.
You will never be asked to carry anything too heavy, or take on a challenge that feels beyond you. This is a highly collaborative workshop, where everyone supports each other, and the camaraderie that builds up over the three days is amazing!
Is this a men-only event?
We have been asked this several times! The answer is a resolute ‘no’. We are very proud to have nearly 50% representation from women at our event. Women are among the tutors at the West Cork Stone Symposium too. And we are proud supporters of WITNI – the Women in Trades Network Ireland – whose members join us each year!
The arts of stone-carving and dry stone walling require support from women and men if they are to survive and flourish into the future.
Is this a profit-making event?
No, it isn’t. Our costs include all of the equipment you use at the event, insurance, and booking engine costs. We provide accommodation and food for our tutors, who receive a small contribution for their work each day. We also rely on and are hugely grateful for the support of volunteers who put days of work into organising and coordinating the event. Our event director and our coordinator receive the same level of contribution as the other tutors for the 3 days of the event, and no additional payment is made for their work on planning and organisation. Particular thanks to the Sheep’s Head & Bantry Tourism Cooperative and the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland for their support. We would also like to thank the Muintir Bháire GAA club who are providing the stone for the wall that will form the boundary to their grounds.
Can I take my work home with me?
If you are doing the stone-carving, you will be able to take your piece of stone home with you. The wall, for obvious reasons, will remain in the custody of the Muintir Bháire GAA Club. You will have visiting rights only!