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Roscrea Company Launches Stone Mastery Academy

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Roscrea Company Launches Stone Mastery Academy thumbnailThe Stone Mastery Academy was officially launched by the well known landscape gardener Angela Jupe at We Sell Stone in Roscrea.

LIKE many decent things, the skill of quality stone masonry is something of a dying art with fewer and fewer practitioners in existence.

David Kinsella, manager of We Sell Stone in Roscrea, is very conscious of this and with that in mind he decided some time ago to do something about it.

The result is the Stone Mastery Academy which was officially launched by the well known landscape gardener Angela Jupe.

David said the new Academy will cater for varying tastes, including those who want to 'feel like Michaelangelo and carve your own Statue Of David from stone or those who simply want to build their own garden wall.'

 David introduced me to the two master carvers who will be overseeing the Academy, Seamus Feehan from Roscrea and Mick McCarthy from Kinsale.

 Seamus showed me the tools of the trade. He told me that the average age of a stone mason in Ireland is 55 years. 'We want to turn that around, to spread knowledge, to make it a more vibrant artform here in the midlands.

He added that more and more people are seeking high quality stone work in their houses. Therefore companies like We Sell Stone need to meet that need.

'The market has become more demanding,' commented David. 'For example, Barberstown Castle Hotel in Kildare recently asked us for ten gothic arches. Not many companies could provide that, but we can.

'Creating a gothic arch requires a lot of skill. Seamus and Mick are hugely skilled masons who have been working for years in their professions. Combined they have over 60 years of experience to pass on to students.

'Seamus recently constructed stone arches in a garden in Heath House in Laois for its South African owner. The owner, in his home in South Africa, watched the construction of the arches on Skype with great interest and enthusiasm.'

He said the purpose of the new Stone Mastery Academy is two fold, to work in places like Barberstown and Heath House and to teach students.

There will be one day of tuition each month for students during 2017 beginning on January 14th. 

David compared the new Academy to being the equivalent of Ballymaloe in the food industry, bringing something unique and special to the industry.

Angela Jupe said she was delighted to see this new development. She said the building industry had often gone aesthetically astray over the years. This was a correcting measure to that, an Academy which will school people in creating beautiful and elegant things. She said it was heartening to see this attempt to preserve an ancient skill.

Stone Masonry can be hard work, added Angela, but hugely satisfying. 

She warmly congratulated We Sell Stone for coming up with this excellent idea, and wished the Academy the very best.

One day courses at the new Academy are open to all. The first one day course is Saturday, January the 14th for General Stone Masonry Skills starting at 10a.m. in We Sell Stone, Old Dublin Road. For bookings please call (0505) 31100 or email: sales@wesellstone.com .

The programme on January 14th include four areas - 1. Safety & project planning on paper. 2. How to build a stone wall (practical). 3. How to build & cap a pier (practical). 4. How to carve & letter stone (practical). The class concludes at 4.30p.m.

On Saturday, 18th February there will be a one day course on 'How To Build A Stone Entrance' starting at 10a.m. The programme includes four main areas - 1. Safety & Project Planning, Introduction. 2. Practical: How to build a stone pier. 3. Practical: How to build wing walls. 4. Practical; How to cap & finish a wall.

On Saturday, 4th March there will be a one day course on 'How to build a stone arch.' Programme includes 4 main areas - 1. Introduction, safety & planning. 2. Practical: How to support your arch. 3. Practical: Cut Stone for Arch. 4. Practical: How to fit the Arch.

Saturday, the 22nd of April - ' How To Use Natural Stone in Hard landscaping.' Programme includes four main areas: 1. Introduction, safety & planning. 2. Practical: How to lay paving stone. 3. Practical: How to build a garden wall. 4. Practical: How to lay stone kerbs & gravel.

For bookings for the above classes, please call David or Martin on (087) 6567238 or (0505) 31100 or email sales@wesellstone.com .

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