The Great Wall of Skerries. 350,000,000 million years in the making

Falcarragh waves Jan 2014 Watchers 112

The White Wall is made of Milverton limestone. That limestone formed at the bottom of the carboniferous seas many millions of years ago. Countless billions of minute sea organisms laid down their lives, their shells and skeletons  to form the rock that gave us our great sea wall. Each one was a living creature. It is hardly likely that they ever imagined that hundreds of millions of years after their time, the stone-masons of Milverton quarry would cut and dress great blocks of limestone to build a sea wall.  They hardly imagined that they would some day, prevent the raging winter gales from driving the Irish Sea into low marshy ground around Skerries. It would have warmed their cockles, at the bottom of that dark, primaeval ocean, had they known that generations of Skerries children and athletic youths would exert themselves in the fields saved from the sea by their sacrifice. A word of appreciation is surely due to each and every one of those millions upon billions, upon trillions of minute organisms…but that would take too long.  So anyway, thanks to you all. It is invidious, they say, to single out individuals, but we should also thank Davey Jones for all his hard work over the years and centuries and millennia and eras and epochs. Much appreciated, Davey.

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It would be almost as impossible to name all the people over the generations, who contributed to the development of our community. Think of all those who envisaged amenities and went on to work for their development. Think of the people who raised funds and the public representatives who saw the need and the benefit. They amass social capital for the benefit of all. They build for the future.  Thousands have taken part in sports and in their turn, taught others to do so. These are the people who turn up at weekends and on summer evenings to teach the skills and impart pride to the next generation.  There is nothing like the pride and sense of achievement given to a child who wins a race, scores a goal, learns to swim  or ride a bike  independently. Without realising it, these people are the rocks on which a community is built. Like walls and roads and buildings, they become part of the landscape and of the fabric of life.

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I saw boats in the fields where children play football, hockey and tennis.. When the Brook and the Spring tide work together they are still capable of flooding large areas. Imagine what the sea could achieve. Christy Fox, a noted historian, spoke of fishing boats mooring in previous centuries. Brother Philbert of the De la Salle order, spent an energetic summer, clearing the hedge below the Community College. He exposed an ancient stone wall. Tradition has it that it is the old sea wall. Long before my time. Whoever built The White Wall, performed a great service. If it ever falls down I will have to make a quick sale of our house. Maybe I should start building an ark, just in case…

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