The First Rock Hauling Walk in Rock to the Top’s series of walks took place on Saturday 26 August 2017.

Inspired by Oisín i dTír na n-Óg, who lifted a boulder up the mountains near Tallaght, Rock to the Top calls on the people of South Dublin to take up the challenge of recreating this mythic feat. 

A group of fourteen gathered at the boulder in the sunshine outside Rua Red. Each walker chose a small rock which was chipped from the granite boulder. A farmer from Glenasmole called Donie Anderson came to see them off, carrying their rocks along the Dublin Mountain Way. As they climbed to the Upper Reservoir at Bohernabreena the sky had darkened. An enormous bright red truck came into view, and it’s crew offered the group welcome tea and brack. It was the South Dublin Mobile Library Service, who also had  a store of local heritage books on offer. Ranger Paul Mullaly gave a short explanation of the reservoirs, before the rock-hauling walkers went on their way. They met three white horses and beautiful views at the top. Donie Anderson came over the hill, herding  sheep with his crook and sheepdog Jess, stopped for a chat and offered walking onion sets for them to plant at home.  They laid the foundations for a new cairn. On the return, the sun came out again, and they picked blackberries along the way. Many were eaten on the spot because they were perfectly ripe, sweet and delicious. Some were saved and given to a volunteer first-time jam maker to make jam to be eaten by everyone on the September Harvest Walk.  

There is plenty of rock left to haul so everyone is invited to join the Rock Hauling Harvest Walk, set for Saturday 23 September 2017. Gather at the boulder outside Rua Red at 10:30am to depart at 11am and return by 6pm. If you can you’re asked to carry small pieces of rock chipped from the granite boulder at Rua Red, Tallaght, along the route to the mountain, to continue building the cairn.

Connecting city with mountains, and people with each other, this public art project is about walking and talking. On the way you may meet with local experts, or take part in small events to mark the seasons. Stories of the walks will be retold in sound and pictures at the end of the project, which may take a year.

Check for details of walks as they are announced, or email to register your interest and receive updates.

Rock to the Top is commissioned under IN CONTEXT 4 - IN OUR TIME, South Dublin County Council’s Public Art Programme for 2016-2019 under the Per Cent for Art Scheme.

Thanks to RUA RED, Dublin Mountain Partnership Rangers, Wicklow Mountains National Park and Glenasmole Community for their support.