The Blacksmith was a very important and necessary crafts person in the community
in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He was called upon to shoe horses, make
carts, tools, household items and make and repair machinery. With the introduction
of the tractor to
farming life, the tradition and the need of the blacksmith lessened during the 20th
century, forcing many smiths to turn to engineering.
At this time many smiths encouraged their sons to find work elsewhere thus breaking
the family tradition
and closing many family forges.
Today, the skill is still carried on by many crafts people to create artistic ironwork
for modern decor. Using the traditional forge, hammer and anvil method the iron is
heated in a coal fire and then crafted into an individual creation.
At an Open day held at Tony Mc Elroy's forge at Favour Royal Road, Augher, people
came from far and near to view the skills of the skilled farriers and artistic blacksmith
and to learn of the history of forges locally.