Limerick student becomes Ireland’s first female blacksmith graduate

Mary Hallinan imparting some blacksmithing skills to Higher Education Minister Simon Harris.

IRELAND’S first ever graduate female blacksmith was conferred with her diploma at the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board’s Cappamore campus last week.

Limerick student Mary Hallinan was one of the graduating class from Ireland’s only City and Guilds-certified training course in Blacksmithing and Ironcraft.

In addition to being the first female learner in the country to receive the accreditation, Mary was accepted for further training with the All-Ireland Heritage Skills programme.

Run by the Prince’s Foundation, the bursary scheme aims to preserve traditional skills like blacksmithing, stone masonry, joinery, thatching and woodworking .

Speaking about her achievements and her new scholarship opportunity, Mary said: “I learnt so much at the Cappamore Campus. It’s great to be able to bring those skills here, where I can be a part of maintaining historic monuments and sites throughout Ireland.”

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The full-time City and Guilds certified course in Blacksmithing and Ironcraft, delivered by local artist blacksmith Eric O’Neill, is just one of the many unique courses on offer at the Cappamore campus.

This course offers an excellent introduction for anyone hoping to develop a career in the ancient craft of blacksmithing and features all the fundamental skills of the art. These include learning how to forge to industry standards, timelines and specifications and training in the use of forge hearths, forge metal and specialist blacksmith tools.

Some learners at Cappamore use the course to progress further with their training in the hope of someday being able to help restore and conserve heritage ironwork in Limerick.