Ireland's first dry stone wall performance space nearing completion at Hill of Uisneach.

Ireland's first dry stone wall performance space nearing completion at Hill of Uisneach.

Ireland’s first dry stone wall performance space is nearing completion at the Hill of Uisneach.

The mythological and sacred centre of Ireland is the home of the annual Bealtaine Fire Festival in May.

More than 5,000 people are expected this year, and the musical entertainment will, as usual, be presented on several stages.

One stage, however, will provide a new experience for performers and festival-goers: with dry stone walls on three sides, the new stage will provide a weather-proof performance space.

“Dry stone walls are a feature of the Irish landscape and a link to our past,” said Lorcán Dunne from Athlone, who has helped to organise the building of the structure.

“The stage will be walled on three sides, and then the floor will be installed along with all the necessary wiring.

"There will be an access ramp at the rear for performers.”

The dry stone sides of the stage were built by volunteer members of the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland the weekend before last.

Lorcán, a stone mason and a member of the association, said: “It was an ideal opportunity for several of our experienced members to introduce new members to the wonders of walling, while building something worthwhile for Uisneach.”

The front wall features a stone carving, by Lorcán, of Ériu, the earth goddess from whose name we get Eire and Ireland.

The new structure has delighted Justin Moffatt, manager at Uisneach.

“We are gradually adding to our facilities here so that we can offer more to our visitors and festival goers,” he said as he surveyed the newly-built walls.

“We are really grateful to the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland and Lorcán for this.”

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