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Dry stone walls

Stone ditches like the ones pictured here are a common feature in parts of the British Isles. In Ireland, most of them date from famine years, or earlier. They were originally built from what stone came to hand during field clearance, as few were important or valuable enough to merit the transportation of stones from a quarry. The erection of stone ditches achieved at least five aims,

1 to clear areas of land, which could then be ploughed to produce crops,

2 to sub-divide areas of countryside into workable sized fields,

3 to separate tenant farmer land from commons ground,

4 in the famine time the work gave hungry people employment and some
    opportunity to buy food, the best examples of stone ditches are found in
    areas where the landlords were sympathetic to the needs of the people,

5 the stone ditches were an indication of the type of terrain in an area.
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