Practical Stuff

Demand rises for products that are authentic, 'artisan', and less disposable ...
... according to a feature we were recently interviewed for in The Sunday Times. Now, we can't think of a better way of giving a product soul than to make it yourself so we have tailor made a bunch of projects just for this purpose, all suitable for beginners, men and women alike. Get hands-on blacksmithing on these one day courses.

Saturdays and Sundays between 10am - 5pm. Axe and blade-smithing is 9am to 6pm.

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.

2017 / 2018 prices
Fire side tools €120
Blade-smithing €130
Axe-making €150

The Calnan & Anhoj Forge
Our current forge was set up in 2009 and is located inside the most westerly courtyard of the Russborough Demesne. Having both graduated from blacksmithing college in 2001 (Higher National Diploma in 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 6 anvils and 3 double hearths. On top of that the Russborough Forge has a view of the Wicklow Mountains!

The Tutor
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 1500 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. Lunch can be bought at the ‘Tearooms at Russborough’ (Brambles Cafe) a 3min walk from the Forge and course participants receive a 10% discount. You are also welcome to bring your own lunch. Outside the Cafe season (Jan / Feb) you need to bring a pack lunch and we will sit down in the comfort of the old ‘butlers quarters’ near the Russborough car parks. Cold drinks, coffee, tea etc is provided through-out the day.

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 ) Its situated between Russborough and Hollywood just by the turn off for Ballymore Eustace. Prices are €50 for a single and €70 for a double. All rooms are on-suite. 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!) 'The Thatch' in Ballymore is also quite good for food and also there is good 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. or call 087 3868070. Apparently you can get a cab back from Blessington for a round €10! (see cab details above) There is a map / directions on the website.If you are using public transport a good alternative would be 'Fairhill B&B' in Blessington:
Should you prefer to stay at a hotel, the town of Naas has several and is only a 15-20 min drive from Russborough.

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