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The Forge


The Forge is situated at the Hillhead, near Castledawson, and dates from the beginning of the 19th century. One half of the building was a dwelling area and the other half was the Forge where the Blacksmith plied his trade.

This Blacksmith's cottage has been in the Devlin family for generations and all the Blacksmith's tools, bellows etc are in place. The highlight of the living area is two life size replicas of Frank Devlin, (which can be seen through the open doorway) and his daughter Annie.

The Forge is the subject of a poem by Nobel Prize winner Shamus Heaney whose family live close by.

The Forge

All I know is a door into the dark.
Outside, old axles and iron hoops rusting;
Inside, the hammered anvil's short pitched ring,
The unpredictable fantail of sparks
Or hiss when the new shoe toughens in water.
The anvil must be somewhere in the centre,
Horned as a unicorn, at one end square,
Set there immoveable: an altar
Where he expends himself in shape and music,
Sometimes, leather-aproned, hairs in his nose,
He leans out on the jamb, recalls a clatter
of hoofs where traffic is flashing in rows;
Then grunts and goes in, with a slam and flick
To beat real iron out, to work the bellows.

Seamus Heaney

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This document maintained by George McIntyre.
Material Copyright 2001 George McIntyre, Northern Ireland.