Woodford Furnace Festival

For the first time in over 250 years, iron was smelted in Woodford at last week’s Furnace Festival, a Galway 2020 Small Towns Big Ideas project.


The festival saw a guild of eight people train as iron smelters, operate the furnaces and produce the iron which was forged into a variety of artefacts by craftspeople and smiths from the USA, Poland, Germany, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, England, Wales, and the Netherlands.

“These craftsmen represent some of the best talent around and include some of the most experienced smelters, master blade smiths and even a German secondary school teacher who managed to put iron smelting on the local school curriculum,” says Furnace Festival co-founder, Paul Rondelez.

Paul Rondelez is one of the country’s leading experts in the history of iron production in Ireland. He founded the festival in 2016 with Ger Madden, a local historian and the first person to publish on the Sliabh Aughty furnaces.

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