Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Day 2: Sunday, June 22

Day 2 began as Travis, Danny and Kathleen assigned teams led by Eric, Corin, and Corey to continue to lay sod on the earth berms, and begin construction of the stone benches.
As you can see in the photo above, the team started laying out the wall to slope with the ground.  Since  it was a significant drop from one end of the wall to the other, in order to keep the height at 18", a field decision was made to step the walls down the slope, so they wouldn't slant downward, or finish high on one end to remain level.  

Meantime, at the viewing pavilion/platform, Declan and Alan installed the Kilkennny limestone cladding on the exterior and interior walls.

Declan begins the painstaking work of mitering the edges while Danny Hinchcliff ("Danny 2") assists Alan with hanging the stone panels.

In the afternoon, the whole group breaks for a talk by renowned local archaeologist, Seamus Caulfield, on the natural and cultural history of Downpatrick Head, and the richly layered stories of this landscape, the geology of the headland site, and archaeological remains including well-preserved round Neolithic mounds, and remains of a promontory fort further up the coast. He recounted the lore of the battle of St. Patrick and the Druid chieftain which 'explains' how the the sea stack, 'Dun Briste', broke from the mainland (even though it was actually formed in the 14th century, not the 5th century) and the foundations of a chapel dedicated to St. Patrick (pictured above), the story of French and Irish soldiers who drowned while hiding in the blow hole's sea caves from British troops in 1798, and the WWII watch station that was positioned on this site.

Our project 'The Crossing' commemorates all these stories...

Hear a radio documentary with Professor Caulfield on RTE.where he tells the story of Dun Briste and the blow hole and describes a visit (the first in 600 years!) to the sea stack island on a helicopter with his father and brother to document what was on it!  

Dun Briste--the sea stack

The Downpatrick Headland with a view back to our site--note how the sod-covered earth berm is blending invisibly with the surrounding landscape!

The blow hole, and sea tunnel

Alex takes a break from sod duty in his wheelbarrow Lazyboy

After calculating the step for each wall and digging out and leveling the ground, and first course is set for the stone benches, following the curve of the berm, but echoing the stepped steel rod sections that will surround the blow hole.

Eric, Sam, Travis and Seamus 

Declan's handiwork:  the mitered and softly rounded cormers--to prevent the stone from chipping. 

Ian assists with the limestone hanging

 Declan demonstrates the process of installing the limestone fasteners and adhesive

Seamus with an 'artifact' retrieved on the site:  is this St. Patrick's anvil that he used to shod his donkey?

A pint at the end of the work day

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