Stone mason Michael puts Fermanagh on the map

Stone map
Monea sculptor Michael Hoy has just completed a unique carving of County Fermanagh as part of an ambitious collaborative sculpture project being undertaken by organisers of the annual Tir Chonaill Stone Festival in County Donegal. 
Hoy, who owns Ernestone outside Enniskillen, was one of 32 craftsmen from across Ireland selected to sculpt their own county. All of the pieces will form part of an iconic 32-county collaborative map of Ireland, entitled ‘Stones of Eire’ made from all native stone by locally-based masons. 
The 1916 commemorative sculpture overlooking the Atlantic Ocean will be unveiled in Glencolmcille in the southwest Donegal Gaeltacht later this month. It’s expected to attract huge interest from the many visitors who flock to the scenic coastal spot situated along the Wild Atlantic Way.  
Michael told The Herald  that those behind the project insisted that each county in the stone map was cut by a native craftsperson, and he was honoured to have been tasked with carving Fermanangh for the novel project.
Over the past week, he has designed the sandstone motif. The sandstone was quarried in Lisnaskea and donated by Trevor Morrow of Morrow Sandstones. Michael even received some inspiration from his young daugther Aoibhinn as he worked on the sculpture. 
“I was supplied with a template by the festival organsiers but when my little lassie picked it up she said it looks like a rabbit at the top,” he explained. 
“Once you’ve seen that shape it’s very hard to unsee it so I knew I would have to put a hare’s head in there. I also wanted to put in a motif for the lakes since Fermanagh is around 40% water and ended up going with a trout.” 
The county of Fermanagh stone was transported to Donegal at the weekend as cladding work continutes at the monument structure that will house the 32 pieces. The finished product, which will be set in a 14 ft tall stone support, will be unveiled as part of the festival on Saturday, June 18th at 5pm at the Glencolmcille Folk Village car park.
Michael will be present of the unveiling with his children, who he says were “quite impressed” with the finished article.   
This is the latest commissioning for Michael who carved the late Seamus Heaney’s headstone last August. The headstone was placed on the famous Irish poet’s grave in Bellaghy, Co Derry.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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