Ironmen Forge Historic Links

More than 50 blacksmiths and traditional iron smelters from across Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA will participate in a showcase of medieval iron smelting and forging in the heart of the Burren in County Clare on the weekend of August 26th and 27th.

The second annual Caherconnell International Furnace Festival will see the 1,000-year-old Caherconnell Stone 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, while this year’s family fun weekend also is offering an opportunity for the public to actively learn more about and participate in the smelting process.

Danish iron smelter and blacksmith Jens Jørgen Olesen, who is considered one of Europe's best bloomery iron smelters, will host two one-day-courses during which he will teach trainees the skills required to produce their own iron.

The Furnace Festival School is also offering starter courses to people wishing to join a smelting team and learn about making bloomery iron from the iron ore.

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 Caherconnell International Furnace Festival is organised by the Irish Iron Heritage Foundation.