’Comer man forges along with the greats

CASTLECOMER man Paul Devlin will be among the world’s top craftspeople at a festival hosted by the Irish Artists Blacksmiths Association in Monaghan town from June 24-26.

CASTLECOMER man Paul Devlin will be among the world’s top craftspeople at a festival hosted by the Irish Artists Blacksmiths Association in Monaghan town from June 24-26.

The theme for the event ties in with Mark Keeling’s structure titled the “Hive of Knowledge”, which is being prepared at his forge in West Cork. These renowned master smiths and their Irish counterparts will forge and create a panel with their individual interpretation of “Knowledge and Learning” over the festival. The event is part of the Crafts Council of Ireland’s Year of Craft 2011.

Paul Devlin trained as a design draughtsman in mechanical and automotive engineering and qualified to FTC standard in mechanical/ production engineering. The introduction to blacksmithing began at an early age as his father was a blacksmith/ farrier working from home, and at age 25 Paul started self-employment in fabrication and forge work mainly gates and railings. He later moved to England and worked in forges in London, Essex and Hertfordshire. Having moved back to Ireland to work in Mayo and then Meath, he is now back home with his partner Christine working at their blacksmithing venture, Pristine Ironworks.

They work using mild steel, copper and pure iron in projects such as gates, lighting, public sculptures and interior ironwork, and are inspired by heritage ironwork, the works of Habberman and Joyce and old wrought-iron work techniques.

“The restoration of vernacular entrances is a big interest for us most of the traditional farm entrances include gates which are a major part of Irish heritage ironwork,” he explained. “We are getting more involved in the repair and restoration of these vernacular gates and the making of new work using wrought iron keeping traditional techniques and trying to expand on them.”