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Local History

Carrigtwohill Local Traders

Barrett's Forge, Terrysland

The Barret family: Redmond (second from right), Eileen (right), Jim (boy facing), Redmond’s father and Grandfather banding a wheel.

Stop the Destruction of our Social and Cultural Heritage

A recent planning application to Cork County Council (REF: 21/05047) by developers have indicated their intention to demolish Barrett’s forge in Anngrove that has stood for over 250 years. Carrigtwohill & District Historical Society is campaigning to help save this beautiful building and in turn to stop the destruction of another piece of our rich social and cultural history.

Carrigtwohill's Blacksmiths were the leading engineers of their day and in certain ways the forefathers of the engineers who now work next door in Stryker, Gillead, AbbVie and G.E. Healthcare.

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We hope that Cork County Council will in their forthcoming County Development Plan categorise this building as listed, but in the meantime we need your help to prevent this shameful destruction.

Please sign our petition by simply completing short questionnaire alongside, then share our webpage with your friends and colleagues who may also wish to finally submit their objections for this planning application (REF: 21/05047) to our Cork County Council on the basis that it is premature.

Cork Examiner, 1st June 2021

Barrett Family history

Also include above is an undated photograph believed to have been taken during the 1920s showing the Barrett family hard at work. It may be found in the Carrigtwohill publication entitled “Carrigtwohill through the Century”.

Barrett's Forge as seen today

The following essay is from the National Folklore Schools’ Collection of 1938, contributed by local student, James Barrett, writing about his family’s forge.

"There are four forges in the parish of Carrigtwohill. The names of the smiths are Mr. Jack Murphy, Waterock, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork. Mr. Thos. Ahern Ballyadam, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork. Mr. John Keegan Main St. Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork and my father Mr James Barrett, Anngrove, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork. My father’s father and his grandfather were blacksmiths. My mother’s father and her grandfather and Great Grandfather were blacksmiths also. The name of the man that is working for us is Denis Horgan. You would generally see a forge near a cross road or in a good centre for trade.

Our forge is 43 ft. long and 16 ft. wide and about 30ft. high. The forge is running north and south and is facing the road. On the southern side there is a chimney. The interior of the forge is fairly black and sooty. There are six window and a door. The door is facing west. These are the names of the things used in the forge, two anvils the points of which is called the cock, two bellows, two sets, two vices, six tongs, three fullers, a hammer, two sledges, two claw hammers, two pincers, one knife, two drills, and a buffer. On the hob there are two fire-places. Every day one fire-place is used but when they are banding the two fires are used.

The top and bottom of the bellows is shaped somewhat like a heart. In the bottom of the bellows there are two square holes with two timber pieces to fall down on the holes. They are called flappers. The reason for this is when you are blowing the fire those flappers will lift up and let in air. When it is being pulled down, they close and the air comes out a pipe and goes into the fire. There is a handle running from the back of the bellows to blow the fire. The bellows which we have is not home-made.

There is a slate roof on the house.

The old ploughs that were made were called the Wilkie. The beam was made first and then the handles. These were forged out. The moulder used have to cast the board and sole plate. Then the smith used have to bore and fit it on the plough. The work is done in the open air including the making of gates and the shoeing of wheels. When a band has fallen off a wheel it is brought to the forge. The smith will then measure the band and find out how much is the band bigger than the wheel. He will then put the band in the fire, redden it and take it out of the fire and cut a piece off it with a set. It is welded again and every bit of band is reddened. It is now taken out to the flag where the wheel is and it is sledged on by a sledge. When the band is on it is cooled with water. The flag is shaped like a wheel. It has a hole in the middle bigger than the size of the stock of a wheel to leave the stock of the wheel fit into it. This is the way the bands of wheels are made first. There is a piece of iron about one-eight the size of an ordinary band and about an inch and a half thick.

Two pieces of iron stand up from the piece of band. It is attached to a truck of a tee. The iron which is going to be bended is put on this round piece of iron to bring it in shape. When the band is made it is taken into the forge. The band is then reddened and welded. The forge water is supposed to be a great cure for chilblains.

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