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Firing Up Imaginations at Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board’s College of FET Cappamore Campus

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College of FET Cappamore graduation – Pictured above are Mary Hallinan, Joe Canty, Conor O’Leary, Eamon McDonagh, Eric O’Neill, Karl Fitzgerald, Mark Bennis, Kevin O’Reilly and Gearoid Moynihan. Picture: Brian Arthur

College FET Cappamore Campus was delighted to recently host a graduation ceremony for last year’s learners

College of FET Cappamore
Ethan Mulcahy, Eric O’Neill, Paul Patton, Triona Lynch, Sean O’Carroll, Kevin O’Sullivan and Minister O’Donovan. Picture: Brian Arthur

Home to Ireland’s only City and Guilds certified training course in Blacksmithing and Ironcraft Skills, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board’s College of FET Cappamore Campus was delighted to recently host a graduation ceremony for last year’s learners. The group is an inspiration for anyone thinking of doing a course in Blacksmithing, with learners of all experience levels, ranging from complete beginners to more experienced smiths graduating.

Invited guests and family and friends of those graduating were invited to the campus last Wednesday evening to celebrate the learners, including the first ever female Blacksmithing and Ironcraft graduate Mary Hallinan. In addition to being the first female learner in the country to receive City and Guilds accreditation, Mary was subsequently accepted for further training with the first rollout of an All-Ireland Heritage Skills programme being run by the Princes Foundation Trust.

The All-Ireland Heritage Skills programme is a bursary scheme that provides an opportunity to keep traditional skills like blacksmithing, stone masonry, joinery, thatching and woodworking techniques alive, guaranteeing their importance for the future and making sure they continue to play a vital role in conserving our past.

Speaking about her scholarship with the pilot project, Mary said: “The programme has a mix of craftspeople with six learners from Ireland and I’m one of three blacksmiths chosen this year. I’m delighted I got this opportunity and I’m really enjoying my time here. I learnt so much at the Cappamore Campus and it’s great to be able to bring those skills here where I can be a part of maintaining historic monuments and sites throughout Ireland.”

The event also proved to be the perfect opportunity to unveil a special passion project from the Blacksmithing graduates, who have been working with master blacksmith tutor Eric O’Neill on a stunning decorative sculpture as part of their course work. The unveiling was a great way to mark the graduation ceremony and is now a brilliant addition to the campus.

Speaking about the graduates, Minister of State, Patrick O’Donovan TD, who attended the event said: “I was delighted to attend and present the certificates to the graduating students of the City and Guilds Blacksmithing and Decorative Blacksmithing programmes. This was a very special evening for both the students and their families. These students have worked very hard and some travelling long distances to complete the only accredited blacksmithing programme in the country. I would like to congratulate them wish them well for the future.”

“I would also like to commend Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board and their tutors for the work that they have done, in making Cappamore, the Centre of Excellence for Blacksmithing in the country.”

It’s been a very busy couple of months for the campus which opened its doors in early August as part of Heritage Week, with members of the public visiting and viewing the newly-refurbished forge which is ready for the next group of learners. The team then moved the forge outdoors for the recent Cappamore Show, with visitors there also given a chance to experience a live forging demonstration by blacksmith tutor Eric using both traditional and modern techniques.

While Cappamore Campus is a Centre of Excellence for Blacksmithing in Ireland, it is just one of the many fantastic disciplines on offer there. To highlight this, the campus also hosted an open day last Wednesday evening with teachers and management on hand to give a tour of the classrooms and talk about the variety of other full and part-time programmes running this September including Horticulture, Family Learning, Art, Craft and Design, Digital Skills and Cooking to name but a few.

For more details on this Autumn’s schedule at Cappamore Campus,go HERE 

For more stories on Education,go HERE 

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.

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