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Showing posts from March, 2021

Bringing a long history of boat building into the 21st Century

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New landing craft being built by Arklow Marine Services to serve off-shore sector (artists impression).   Arklow has a long tradition of boat building stretching back to it’s foundation as a Viking settlement.  The latest research says that long ships may have been built there.  Probably the most famous boat builder was John Tyrrell & Sons established in 1864 and for over 130 years it gained an international reputation for excellence.  Shipwrights who served their time in the yard could find work anywhere they went, 'Tyrrell-trained' was as good a stamp as 'Tyrrell-built'. “The Launch - Arklow Creek" 1861 (George Du Noyer / Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland). Boatbuilding is still part and parcel of modern Arklow with the fifth generation of Tyrrell brothers producing steel and aluminum vessels such as fishing trawlers, research vessels, pilot boats.  They operate as Arklow Marine Services and offer expert services to the marine industry in Ireland and ab

Donegal father & son take on 60 year old iconic Ferguson tractor for complete restoration

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The lovingly restored Ferguson TE20 1963 tractor  A Donegal father and son recently took on the job of restoring one of the most iconic pieces of farm machinery manufactured in these islands, in the last 200 years.  The ‘Little Grey Fergie or Ferguson TE20 is widely viewed as the most successful designed farm machines of all time.  It has played a large part in introducing widespread mechanised agriculture to Ireland, the UK and the world. Conor Foy with the dilapidated tractor on its arrival at their Donegal home-based workshop This particular dilapidated and slowly crumbling TE20 was built nearly 60 years ago at the manufacturing plant in Coventry, England.  It was originally owned by a farmer living in the townland of Cornafean, Co. Cavan who registered it in 1963.  It was purchased for €1500 in 2020 by father Gerry and son Conor Foy as part of a long term plan to restore such a machine.  They stripped all parts of the tractor, aka rust bucket before the restoration.   Conceiver &a

On the back wheel of a motorbike for a kilometer at 217.85 mph

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Ted Brady & Guinness World Record Wheelie certificate at Cork, Ireland. (photo Cian Donnelan)  Cork biker, Ted Brady recently became the official holder of the Guinness World Record for the fastest kilometer wheelie setting a blistering speed of 217.85 mph.  That is on the back wheel for at least a kilometer at that incredible speed.  Ted has been involved in UK based superfast wheelie competitions for over 15 years. The Guinness World Wheelie Championship takes place at an airfield in Elvington, North Yorkshire in England.  Nearly 30 top competitors from the USA, UK, France, Holland and Ireland compete for the world title.  Success depends exclusively on the rider’s high-level skill, which is used to control the speed and balance of the motorcycle.  This is no mean feat as some of  these retro - fitted machines are the most powerful in the world.   Ted Brady in acton at the Motorcycle Wheelie World Championship, Elvington, England (photo Andy Menzies)  In 2017 Brady eclipsed the p

The ancient Irish river curragh - built today with skills from past times

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The ancient Irish river curragh or Boyne currach, (in Irish  curach ).  The Irish river curragh, or Boyne currach, (in Irish  curach )  is a small round boat based on an ancient design and was traditionally used for fishing or crossing deep water.  This one was built recently using skills from past times with a frame of hazel rods covered with waterproofed heavy canvas or a single leather hide.  Traditionally a single hide was used so these boats did not need to be large.   Because of the size and light weight wickerwork frame they can be carried by one person and easily launched from river banks or lake shores.  With the river curragh's size and buoyancy in mind it has been known to take on white water.  The river curragh was more common in Ireland up to 1948 when the Government declared the netting of freshwater fish illegal.  Following that they fell out of use. The river curragh - able to take on white water Initiated by Bruce Crawford The one we are featuring here was made by

The traditional turf wheel barrow - personal reflections

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The traditional Irish turf or bog wheel barrow (Kevin Reid) The traditional turf or bog wheel barrow was made in their hundreds to provide a simple solution to an ever-day work task in rural Ireland in days gone by.  The importance of this 'machine' maybe forgotten but they were crucial for transporting turf to feed open fires which were vital for cooking, heating and hot water back then.  It is a perfect example of hand made folk craft using simple sturdy materials (wood & iron pieces) that you would find around any farm or homestead.  But it does take some skill to get a finished 'machine' that works well and lasts a lifetime literally.   The turf barrow - designed & hand made using simple sturdy materials  Based on personal recollections Martina Reid reflects on growing up in the townland of Treanmore on the outskirts of Mohill, Co Leitrim, Ireland.  Martina remembers "the entire Foy family cutting their turf on Dolly Kane’s bog."  The traditional m