Ireland has a rich tradition of skills and crafts which are in danger of being lost. This unique heritage weekend explored old Irish skills from both the Traveller culture and the settled community.

This project was part funded by CountyWicklowPartnership through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in Rural Areas.On September 25th and 26th 2009,Carraig Dulra Organic Farm in Glenealy hosted a celebration of old traditional skills from both the Traveller and settled communities. Many traditional crafts such as tinsmithing are in danger of being lost to new generations.  

Over 100 people enjoyed the event which displayed great craftsmanship from tinsmiths such as Johnny Donoghue and Andrew Connors. Johnny wasn’t always a tinsmith and recalls the time when he worked as a cook in the 1940s.  He had to cycle 22 miles to work, put in a full day and then cycle the 22 miles home again!  Suzie Cahn of Carraig Dulra gave excellent advice on how to grow and use herbs. Herbs are not only useful in cooking but have been used for medicinal purposes by our forefathers. Suzie demonstrated how to mix tinctures and lotions for common skin complaints and other ailments.

Weaving, a craft that has been around for approximately 500 years was demonstrated by Carath Carr who brought his loom. Visitors could also getinvolved in building an outdoor oven under the expert tutelage of Bob Wilson of CELT. Bob teaches dry stone walling a building method by which structures are constructed from stone without any mortar to bind them together. Dry stone walling is one of the oldest skills, indeed in County Mayo an entire field system made from dry stone walls and since covered in peat, has been carbon dated to 3800BC. Maggie Doran from County Dublin described to people how she use to live in a barrel top wagon and travelled all the roads around Ireland. In fact she was ready to walk from Glenealy to Rathdrum to catch the train home describing the distance as only ‘peg of a stone’.

The weekend was organized by the Enterprise Support Workers Orla Costello and Peter Geoghegan in Wicklow Travellers Group and was funded by County Wicklow Partnership. 

Company Limited by Guarantee with Charitable Status (CHY. No. 11870). Registered in Ireland Number 248913
Charities Regulatory Authority number (CRA) 20033576

Directors: Isobel O’Duffy (Chairperson), Brendan Hyland (Assistant Chairperson), Máirín Kenny (Company Secretary), Aileen Cussen (Treasurer), Kathleen Snell (Assistant Treasurer), Kathleen Berry, Ian Daly, Mary O’Brien