Online videos documenting the craft of Traveller tinsmithing, a craft traditionally carried out by Irish Travellers and was ideally suited to the nomadic lifestyle. Tinsmiths would work in particular regions visiting farmers and the settled population to sell their handmade tin vessels and also to provide repairs. Along with the craft, a vocabulary based around the tools and the elements of the craft was also developed.
The first video is from Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre and was filmed at the National Museum of Ireland in 2017.
The second video is Tinsmith : Gabha Stáin. This silent film shows Bernard Mongan, Tin-smith, making a ‘seven quart’ tin can. It is a process that involves many steps but took Bernard little just over 15 minutes from start to finish.
This film was made by the National Museum with Bernard Mongan in 1965 as he worked at his home and encampment in Cahermorris, Co Galway. It is a rare film from this time. Bernard Mongan later kindly donated many of his tools to the Museum where they are now on display.
For further details please visit https://www.museum.ie/en-IE/Collections-Research/Folklife-Collections/Folklife-Collections-List-(1)/Trades-and-Crafts/The-tinsmith
This project is one of a series supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht to showcase elements of Ireland’s Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) as part of Heritage Week 2020. For further details on ICH please visit https://nationalinventoryich.chg.gov.ie/.
Image Caption: Passing on the craft of tinsmithing.
Photo Credit: Derek Speirs.