I am more convinced than ever that the machine engraved lettering on headstones and plaques is so lacking in emotion and consideration to those named when weighted against the hand carved– just think of the reaction you might have to a handwritten letter, compared to a typed or automatically signed letter.
I have come across the lettering of renowned experts – SM and KT; an engraver new to me – TG; and, some old engraving, even with some mistakes.
There are those, including Gerry Adams, who get a buzz from hugging a tree, For me, touching some lovely stonework is a pick-me-up. I always have stones in my pockets.
My admiration of those blessed with the craft of lettering heightened significantly on Friday, when 9.00a.m. saw me heading west into Ahakista on a lovely morning.
A day of handcarving followed, as part of the Stone Symposium, under the direction of expert stone carvers. I now so regret not having organised for attending on the three days.
I sweated and ached. My left hand was very stiff – luckily I lift a pint with my right. Two days later, my back is still letting me know that my body is not sculpted for manual work. But my head and my soul were so much improved.
I will be doing more and have already been on the hunt for tools and checked out Tír Chonaill festival at Glencolmkille in June.
I have completed Day 1 – only 6 years and 364 days more to get it right.