Our Blacksmith Courses – An Elemental Experience
Here’s your chance to learn how to master one of the basic elements of our civilization – iron. This humble material has helped build our modern world as we know it, and is literally present in almost everything we use. Our one-day courses are designed to get you first-hand experience with the traditional skills of the blacksmith, working at your own anvil in small groups of seven. All courses are suitable for beginners.
The Calnan & Anhoj Forge
Our current forge was set up in 2009 and is located inside the most westerly courtyard of the Russborough Demesne in County Wicklow. Having both graduated from blacksmithing college in 2001 (Design Crafts / Blacksmithing at the Hereford College of Art & Design, UK) our previous workshop was also situated in historic surroundings at the Victorian ‘Llanthony Warehouse’, Gloucester Docks, UK. Old out-buildings such as these makes for exceptionally atmospheric workshops, and over the years we have picked up a large selection of old and new equipment; we now have 7 anvils and 2 double hearths and two gas furnaces. On top of that, the Russborough Forge has a view of the Wicklow Mountains!
Gunvor Anhøj is originally Danish and one of few female blacksmiths. She was awarded by the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths in 1999 for “Outstanding ability in the craft of the Blacksmith”, and by the Royal Dublin Society in 2011. You may think that a woman in a forge is a modern phenomenon, but in fact women have at all times been sparsely populating forges, even back in the middle-ages – and continue to today. Having had over 2000 students through the Russborough forge since 2010 she is a well experienced tutor.
What to wear
Durable cotton clothing, jeans and boots for example, also a long sleeved / high necked shirt or similar is a must. No wellies, thin soled trainers, fleeces or other synthetics. Safety gear (goggles & gloves) is provided by us.
The fee excludes lunch which can be bought at the Café at Russborough a 3 min walk from the Forge. You are also welcome to bring your own.
If you need accommodation locally, I’d recommend: “The Angler’s Rest B& B” (call Alice on 045864584 or 0857767408 to book. Also, there is a location map and description on airbnb.ie) It’s situated between Russborough and Hollywood just by the turn-off for Ballymore Eustace. The ‘best restaurant in Co. Kildare’ – the Ballymore Inn is in the village of Ballymore (and if you avoid the front entrance and go round the back you will find excellent pub meals of equal high standard!) There is also great pub-grub to be found in the Inn at Hollywood village.
If you are ‘bringing the other half’ I have heard good reviews from participating couples about Lakeview Lodge B&B. Their number is 087 3868070. Apparently you can get a cab back from Blessington for a round €10! There is a map / directions on the website. Should you prefer to stay at a hotel, you could try the Tulfarris Hotel https://www.tulfarrishotel.com/ 10-15 mins drive. Or the town of Naas has several and is only a 15-20 min drive from Russborough.
From Dublin, take the N81 to Blessington. Russborough House is 2 miles beyond Blessington and is well sign posted. If you need further directions, you can find us on google maps
Public Transport: Dublin bus No 65 bus from Poolbeg st. to Blessington/Ballymore Eustace. The departures marked ‘b’ will carry on beyond Blessington and get you within very short walking distance of Russborough. Local cabdrivers (pre-booking essential): Freddie Doyle, 0879946890. John Tipper 0877806762.
We reserve the right to re-schedule courses that are not fully subscribed. Payments are specific to the date booked. If you wish to change the date, you must write to us with a minimum of three weeks notice. If less notice is given, a re-schedule is only possible if the space is filled. It is recommended to pick a new date at the time of a cancellation, if no date is picked it is up to the participant to get in touch within a year of the time of purchase, or the booking reference in question will be deemed invalid. Unforeseen circumstances – family, transport, or other – preventing the participant from turning up for the course signed up for does not entitle the participant to re-schedule. Participants will be asked to sign a waiver on arrival. As per March 2019 we no longer offer gift vouchers. Gift voucher purchased prior to March 2019 are valid for 12 months. Vouchers purchased prior to 2014 were valid for 2 years. Expired vouchers will not be honoured.
As per March 2019 we no longer offer gift vouchers. You can still book at course on behalf of someone else, just provide their name and contact details at the time of booking!