The Smith and the Forge

There is only one forge in the village. Seán Brosnan works in it. Both his father and his grandfather were smiths. The forge is situated in New Road, Castlegregory. The roof is felt. There is only one fire-place in it.

The bellows is very large and is made of wood and leather. they were never made in this place. The smith uses the following articles at his work, sledge, bellows, vice, rasp, knife, soling-knife, drilling-machine, screw-place, stocks, back-saws, hammer, tongs, iron, nails and anvil.

He shoes horses and asses. He mends, but does not make ploughs or any other farm implements. He makes gates, puts bands on wheels and mends scythes. In the open air, he makes a large, turf fire and heats and puts on wheel-bands. I could not find any word or phrase relating to the smith or the forge. The small red sparks of iron are not used for anything, but the water is supposed to cure a certain disease. Only smiths know what it is, but they are not supposed to tell it to anybody.

Village Blacksmith

In olden times, when priests were hunted, there was a certain kind of a shoe made for the horses. It was shaped like other horse-shoes, but it had a small cross in the middle. They were blessed by the priest and it was supposed that the man, whose horse wore them, would not come to harm. At the same time, when a person was going for the priest, he was always stopped by a pack of white hounds, but if the horse wore the blessed shoes, the rider was safe. I have seen one of these shoes.

The smith told me that the seventh son of the seventh generations of smiths, was supposed to be able to cure everything and was supposed to be able to wish for three things, which would be granted to him. Long ago, when any animal was killed, the head was given to the smith. I could not find out if people gave him presents. All the boys and men go into the forge, and tell stories, but they tell no stories of the Fianna. Pikes and hatchets were made in the forge, long ago.

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