My grandfather was Thomas Drumm. He was born in Cavan Town in 1884 and was a Blacksmith in Cavan Town all his working life. His forge was in Puddin’ Lane, just off Main Street and the family home was next door. The forge was the hub of the town. People gathered there to sit, talk and céilí while watching the Blacksmith at work while he shod the horses. This might be the only opportunity for people to meet and catch up with the news of the land so it was a very important part of people’s lives. Some of them were waiting with a piece of work for the Blacksmith and others were just passing the time.
As horses were the main working animal on the farm the Blacksmith was a very highly regarded and skilled craftsman. The Blacksmith made objects from wrought iron by forging them. Iron must be very hot to shape with a hammer. The Blacksmith would have seconds to hammer a piece of iron before it was put back into the fire to become hot again to shape again. With sparks flying from the floor, the slack and the smoke, the bellows, the hammer and the most important tool the anvil.
The Blacksmith also made and repaired plough-irons, spades, shovels, pikes, axes as well as making horseshoes. He made fire tongs and cranes for the cooking pots as well as locks, bolts and screws. He was very skilled. I remember my mother saying that she would ask her father to bring an iron poker home for the fire.
When the circus came to town he had the job of shoeing their horses. The horses would be lined up on Main Street waiting their turn to be shod. He also had work from the Railway Station in Cavan.
My grandfather was also the Blacksmith at the building of our beautiful Cathedral in Cavan. He had a make-shift forge at the back of the Cathedral (or pop-up as we would call it now). He would make tools for the workmen and repair any that needed to be, while doing his normal routine of shoeing horses.
I was a child when my grandfather died but I remember him as a loving and kind man.