The blacksmith community of Ireland is alive and well, according to one blacksmith who created an axe unlike any other in the last 500 years.
Triscele Forge Blacksmith Jamie Smith relies on Viking methods to create his tools and finds raw iron oxide in local bogs.
“It's a kind of dusty orange substance that looks like crushed ginger nut biscuits,” he told Moncrieff.
“You could find a thin dusty surface on the top of the bog, or you could find big lumps [of iron] the size of your fist, or little pebbles.
“Then you build a furnace out of clay, and then you fill that with charcoal and smelt it down.
“You're left with a plume of pure iron.”
After refining this iron, you can make “everything and anything” with the authentic Irish material.
“Most [iron] goes into knives,” Mr Smith said. “They’d be the most popular thing.
“Recently I was involved in a project where I made the steel for an axe... there were other smiths from around the country gathered at a festival.
“We smelted a lot of iron over the weekend and made lots of different things, but that axe was the first axe made with Irish iron and Irish steel probably in 500 years.”
Mr Smith said there is “absolutely loads” of blacksmiths across Ireland, all of whom use as many authentic materials as they can.
“We might use a power hammer to help refine it and speed up the process, but other than that it’s exactly the same,” he said.
“There are probably more blacksmiths in Ireland than there have been since the early 1970s.
“Whereas before you'd have traditionally local blacksmith who would do a little bit of everything, you have people who tend to specialise.
“You have people who just make knives or people who specialise in historical iron work and restoration of the iron around our towns.”
Aspiring blacksmiths can start their journey at the Limerick College of Further Education & Training in a part-time course.
“Then if you want to progress you have to go over to England and train over there,” Mr Smith.
“But we have an amazing blacksmith community in Ireland.
“We help each other out, we learn from each other.”
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Main image shows blacksmith Jamie Smith a the 'That beats Banagher' festival in Offaly. Image: Clara Galera Vilchez