Andy Farrington launched his book " My Life as a Stonecutter" in Donie Mc Evoys on Friday May 13th. The large crowd that attended the presentation is a testimony to the esteem with which Andy is held in the Valleymount / Lacken community.
The book opens with some early memories growing up in Ballyknockan. The daily routine was punctuated by the visit of the travelling show, the dances in Lacken and the Barn plays staged by the Valleymount / Hollywood Dramatic Societies.
But it is in the detail of this book where Andy excels as a skilled Stonecutter. He goes into great length describing how as an apprentice for 5 years he acquired the skills needed to punch and chisel the stone before it was ready to give the required finish. He also outlines the role of the Blacksmith who had the responsibility of making and sharpening the tools for the stonecutters and quarrymen.
Ballyknockan granite was used widely in Churches, Banks, Bridges, Schools and Hospitals. It was also used to supply headstones, Celtic Crosses, bases, kerbs and scrolls. The quarry gave a boost to the local economy as small farmers were able to supplement their income by working in the quarry.
This book is a welcome resource for anybody with connections to the Ballyknockan quarry. This was acknowledged by John and David Mc Evoy who regularly give talks on the unique craft of the Ballyknockan Stonecutters.