The local blacksmith was a craftsman of vital importance in both town and countryside. In an age dependent upon the horse for transport, the blacksmith was in constant demand for shoeing horses. He was also in demand for making and mending all manner of metal implements for use both in the home and on the farm. Practically nowhere in Ireland was more than seven miles from a blacksmith's forge such was their importance to daily life in general.
The Lisrace Forge was the workplace of three generations of the Wilson family. Thomas Wilson established the forge, in what originated as a dwelling, about 1850 when wrought iron had become relatively cheap and plentiful, and was succeeded in the business by his son, James, and his grandson, Robert.
The internal layout is typical of country forges. The principal features are the fire with its bellows and the anvil for working the hot metal. The water trough, or 'fizz' trough, for cooling the hot metal is close by - sudden cooling of hot metal hardened it. The anvil is set on a block of wood which absorbed some of the impact of the hammering and 'gave the anvil life'. This 'life' gave the hammer a degree of bounce every time it hit the metal being worked and protected the blacksmith from what is now called repetitive stress injury.
Original location: Lisrace townland, Magheraveeley, Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh
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