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 firsthand experience with the traditional skills of the blacksmith, working at your own anvil in small groups of six. All courses are suitable for beginners, men and women alike.
Saturdays and Sundays between 10am – 5pm. Axe and blade-smithing is 9am to 6pm.
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 6 anvils and 3 double hearths. 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 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 which can be bought at the Tearooms at Russborough a 3min walk from the Forge and course participants receive a 10% discount. You are also welcome to bring your own. 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 airbnb.ie ) 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!) There is also excellent 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. If you are using public transport a good alternative would be ‘Fairhill B&B’ in Blessington: www.fairhillbb.com
Should you prefer to stay at a hotel, 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 cancel, you must write to us at least 3 weeks before the course and we can book you in on another date – less notice will result in losing the class fee. Course gift vouchers are non-refundable, so make sure to be there or reschedule at least 3 weeks before the course starts or you will lose your voucher. Current course gift vouchers are valid for 12 months. Expired vouchers will not be honoured. 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.
Our courses are very popular – so gift vouchers are date specific to make sure we can accommodate everybody. I will need a name, email address and mobile number of the person doing the course so please let me know of this info on: firstname.lastname@example.org I will post the gift voucher to the delivery address (so do double check you’ve filled it in correctly when using our on-line payment system) I appreciate you may not know the receivers schedule before booking so the chosen date can be changed – but they must do this as soon as possible and as per our t & c’s above.
Cheques / postal orders / bank drafts should be made payable to ‘Calnan & Anhoj’ and posted to: Calnan & Anhoj, The Forge, Russborough House, Blessington, Co. Wicklow, W91 C640, Ireland. Paying via bank transfer – please email me on email@example.com and I will email you the details. Before using the alternative payment options please make a provisional booking by emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org Please note – we offer a 4% discount on booking via bank transfer (PayPal charges 4% per transaction) so this makes sense if booking on behalf of a group! (example: 6 bookings on the blade-smithing course will save you €35)