Iron Fest on The Burren

A showcase of medieval iron smelting and forging will take place on the weekend of August 27th and 28th at Caherconnell Stone Fort in the heart of the Burren in County Clare.

More than 50 blacksmiths and traditional iron smelters from across Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA will participate in the inaugural Caherconnell International Furnace Festival.

The family fun weekend will see the 1,000-year-old fort, once home to Gaelic chieftains, being transformed into an open-air museum as iron is smelted on site before being forged into replicas of arrowheads, knives and belt buckles excavated at the medieval site. Experts will provide a running commentary throughout the event.

The iron ore being used at the festival was recently collected on Slieve Elva in the Burren and in the cutaway bogs in County Offaly where it has produced an unusual orange landscape.

Funded by The Heritage Council, Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), Fáilte Ireland and Clare County Council, and supported by the Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, the upcoming festival is organised by the Irish Iron Heritage Foundation.

Foundation member and Irish smelting archaeologist Dr. Paul Rondelez said the event will demonstrate the vital role played by iron in late medieval Ireland from everyday implements and tools to warfare and building.