One of the best festivals in the dry stone circuit , Feile na gCloc, is held on Inis Oirr Ireland every year and it's on now from the 15th to the 18th of September 2016. I wish I was back there now with so many good walling friends from Canada, the States and across the sea.
I have a lot of fond memories too from the first time I was there on the tour of walls organized by Margot Miller.
Besides ALL the wonderful Irish style dry stacked walls, which are just astonishing in variety and number, there were so many other things too that just blew me away.
For one, I remember being amazed at the size of Irish fuchsi, growing wild the size of small trees. Much much bigger than any we see in the little pots we buy at the garden centres here in Canada.
Another plant that I remember remarking about to Patrick McAfee was the English Ivy. It is everywhere!
Maybe because of the picturesque associations of ivy and walls in Britain and Ireland, we often like to see it planted along the new dry stone walls we build here in Canada .
In Ireland however it is a different case. While in places it can still look attractive, it is nevertheless very invasive.
On the island of Inis Oirr the walls are literally being swallowed up by the ivy. It's not such a pretty site. Patrick surmised that in less than ten years most of these lovely walls will not only be lost to view, they will be destroyed.
Unless something drastic is done, there will be no more magical vistas of dry stone walls in every direction anymore for visitors to marvel at - just a jungle of ivy.