For millennia, stone lifting was an important part of cultures around the world, and its significance went far beyond feats of strength. Stone lifting was part of weddings and funerals, used as a job interview to assess someone’s fitness as a farmhand, and included in rites of passage and tests of all-around manhood.
Much of the world’s ancient stone lifting culture has been forgotten, and rocks that used to be hoisted regularly in town squares and cemeteries have been sitting untouched for hundreds of years. David Keohan, an Irish world champion kettlebell lifter-turned-amateur folklorist, has set out to change that. In the last couple of years, David has been on the hunt for Ireland’s legendary lifting stones; he uses oral and written history to search them out and learn their stories and then hoists them himself, once again putting wind under stones that haven’t been picked up for centuries.
Today on the show, David shares the significance of stone lifting around the world and specifically in Irish culture, the practicalities of lifting a 400-pound stone off the ground, and what stone lifting has taught him about being a man.
Resources Related to the Podcast
- “The Quest to Pick Up the Lost Lifting Stones of Ireland” — GQ article about David
- Rogue documentaries on stone lifting in Scotland, Iceland, and Spain
- Duchas — Ireland’s National Folklore Collection
- AoM Article: Odd Object Training Primer
- Utah Stones of Strength
- Edmonton Stones of Strength