At 10.15am on Saturday 16 December, The Square car-parks were already filling up and shopping crowds were building. It was a dry day with cloud, milder than previous days. Our walkers gathered at the last third of the boulder left outside Rua Red, South Dublin's Arts Centre. Behind it was some colour from the night before.

Earlier in the week Ciarán had chipped a large chunk of the boulder with the help of Brian Jones, a mason from Glenasmole. A supply is ready to be carried in the New Year. And everyone is invited to join the big effort to match Oisín’s mythic feat and build the cairn at Kippure by mid-summer.

The walkers packed their rocks to begin carrying the second third of the boulder to the Top. Some were returning and for others this was their first Rock to the Top outing. The Upper reaches of Glenasmole were shrouded in cloud that broke sporadically for flares of sunshine.

More walkers joined us at the Bohernabreena carpark and lightened our load of rock. We made good progress. The reservoirs were low. Trees had shed the last of their leaves. The sheep’s coats had grown. The geese ran freely in a field by the river - oblivious to what might happen when the days come to their shortest. On the hillside, small hoards of snow hid in the heather. The white horses came to greet us and follow us a while. We added our rocks to the cairn.

In the shelter of trees near Maureen’s Brook, the walkers ate lunch on the rocks. Mince pies were passed around. The lights of the city came on as we returned. The ice skaters went in circles, and the sausage stand stoked their fire. At our journey’s end a plastic tree twinkled in the window beside the giant white shadow of a model deer from last night’s lantern parade. The boulder sat in the dark. The puke splash had been washed away. The Luas filled with shoppers as the journey home was made. 

On Sunday 21 January 2018 there will be a daytime walk with a range of different length walks to join.

Email to register your interest and receive updates. Check for details of walks. 

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, Bohernabreena Waterworks (DCC) and Glenasmole Community for their support.