This is a project myself and the team done in conjunction with Dunlaoighre Rathdown County Council. It’s an old right of way that cuts through the Fernhill Estate in Stepaside. It starts at the bottom of the Barnaculla Road and meanders through the estate taking you back out onto the Barnaculla Road near the famous Blue Light Pub. Our remit on the project was to create steps, rebuild the old dry-stone walls and design and build a new stile.

I have been teaching dry stone wall building at Feile Na Gloch on Inis Oirr for the last 15 years, so when this opportunity came along, I was absolutely thrilled. As you can see from the photograph the walls were fairly dilapidated with deer knocking them down, young lads taking the stones off the walls to make ramps for scrambler bikes and some of the stones growing legs and ending up in gardens, it was a sorry sight so we had to take down what was left to Terra Ferma and start again.

Slide to see before and after:

We started with the biggest stones on the base to create a solid foundation to start from, as we built the walls we packed a lot of the joints with mosses, shamrocks and small ferns creating habitats as we went. On the tops of the walls, I thought it would be prudent to protect them going forward. So we flaunched them with a lime mortar capping and on top of this we put sods, mosses, ferns etc.

Next up was the Stile. This was crudely assembled with sand & cement, stone and a lot of concrete, so this had to go. When we built the new stile, we used a lime mortar for stability as the stile would get a lot of traffic. By the way, the steps and the standing stones we used here were salvaged from a farm where the Dundrum Shopping Centre now sits.

Slide to see before and after:

For me, this project was an absolute pleasure. The flora and fauna and tranquillity, it is a hidden gem.

I urge the walker, hiker in you to check it out.

– Kevin Carrigan

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