‘At the forge of the Smooth Road in Bohermeen, where myth and metal collide’

In the heart of the Boyne Valley, not far from the reputed burial place of famous High King Niall of the Nine Hostages, another well-known historical and mythological character has been brought back to life. At the Forge of the Smooth Road at Durhamstown, Bohermeen, Tom King (aka ‘An Gobha’, the ancient smith of the Tuatha Dé Danann) strikes his hammer against the anvil to create beautiful jewellery and other items from hot steel.

Tom shot to fame earlier this year when his beautiful steel St Brigid’s Cross won the Best Overall Product award at Showcase 2023 in the RDS. Now, he has joined forces with Anthony Murphy of Mythical Ireland to create a unique experience at his forge.

Called ‘Myth & Metal’, the event was the brainchild of the duo, who became acquainted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the outset of the pandemic, Tom was a farm machinery design engineer of many years’ standing, but coronavirus brought an opportunity for him to follow his passion and make his own hand-forged artworks. When the pandemic began, Anthony started a daily livestream called ‘Live Irish Myths’ to gather people together virtually and help them through the anxiety of lockdowns. Tom began watching the livestreams, and when lockdown restrictions relaxed, the two met at Dowth and a great friendship emerged afterwards.

“Myth & Metal is a lovely opportunity for people to come together in a rural setting and enjoy some of the myths and legends of the Boyne Valley while also trying their hand at making jewellery at the forge,” Anthony said.

The day begins with a ‘meet and greet’ and tea/coffee and refreshments. Participants then hear about the historical, archaeological and mythological importance of the area from Anthony, who places a special focus on the Bohermeen area, Faughan Hill – the burial place of Niall, the Hill of Tara and Teltown, the location of the Irish Olympic Games.

After that, visitors are taken to the ‘Famine House’, the remains of the Durhamstown Auxiliary Workhouse, through a beautiful wooded walk. Tom relates the sad history of the workhouse and the harsh realities of life during the hungry years of the 1840s. Then the guests return to the forge, where the ‘Brigid’s Banquet’ is laid on and everyone enjoys a meal at the great dining table which resembles something from the great Banqueting Hall of Tara.

In the afternoon, Tom lights the forge and gives a demonstration of how he creates some of his beautiful artworks (which can be purchased on the Mythical Ireland website at www.mythicalireland.com). His works are inspired by the megalithic art of the Bayne Valley monuments, and some of the myths. One of his popular pieces is the ‘Swan Spiral Pendant’, a piece which combines the spirals found at Newgrange with the myths and legends of swans, such as the famous story Aislinge Oengusso from Newgrange or indeed the sad story of the Children of Lir.

Tom’s cheerful personality and great humour make his demonstrations all the more enjoyable. When he has finished a piece or two, he calls for volunteers to come and help him at the anvil. Everyone is encouraged and no one is criticised.

Myth & Metal is the continuation of a long tradition. Bronze Age objects have been found at Bohermeen Bog by archaeologists. The forging of metal objects has been taking place at Boherneen for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

The next Myth & Metal event will be announced soon. Visit www.mythical ireland.com.