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Master Class: A Modern Beehive Oven

Bread oven © Pat McAfee

A while ago, when researching Clochans, I came across a picture advertising a workshop that Irish stone mason Pat McAfee was going to be running at at “Stonefest” (marenakos Stone) Seattle
(, where last September father and son teams built a beehive structure/s as part of a 5 day workshop.

The photo itself was from a site in Dublin. Pat runs Irish State sponsored courses there for the unemployed. Pat explained “The courses are 6 weeks full time and based on the building of a double dry stone wall.”
The beehives were a special project. The one in the distance is based on an Irish beehive/clochan structure with the chimney built as an Irish round tower. Dry stone is used throughout except where there is smoke or fire. Up to 2 dozen loaves of Irish brown soda bread or various European breads or pizzas can be baked in the wood fired bread oven, at any one time.Projecting stones from the face of both
beehives are not only throughstones, but double as scaffolding for wallers to stand on.

The oven is based on a 17th century oven in a castle on site at Drimnagh Castle Restoration Project, Longmile Road, Dublin 12 – about 4 miles from the city centre.”

Sean Adcock

The content below was copied with the generous permission of the author Sean Adcock.  This Master Class article originally appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of Stonechat, produced by the North Wales Branch of the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Brittan

This entire issue of Stonechat, and many more, are available at  Thank you to Sean for allowing us to provide this content, and please donate to The North Wales Branch.

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