Enduring skills passed on: Irreplaceable

Enduring skills passed on: Irreplaceable

There is something sobering, something dark about the prospect of obsolescence. Technology advances and we are all, one way or another, caught in this flux.

As the nature of work changes radically — when did it not? — how we cope with that evolution seems all the more important. Crafts and those who pass them on can face obsolescence too but, as is the case in every important aspect of life, the adage — it ain’t over until the fat lady sings — rings true.

That Irish Distillers has appointed the first cooper in 40 years confirms this for an ancient craft involving little more than wood and metal. Killian O’Mahony represents tradition — his family has been connected with the distillery for generations — combined with international learning.

He completed his coopering apprenticeship over four years in Irish Distillers as well as working in Scotland, Spain and America.

In a world where we can have real-time conversations, voice and image, with friends in any of those places, it is reassuring that there are still areas where a robot cannot replace a pair of skilled hands. The fat lady sings on...

More in this Section

Apollo 11 made us believe we could do anything – the truth is it could hasten our downfallApollo 11 made us believe we could do anything – the truth is it could hasten our downfall

Moon visit a step in race for our survivalMoon visit a step in race for our survival

China’s largesse is its road to dominationChina’s largesse is its road to domination

Letter to the Editor: Our Defence Forces need to be treated with more respectLetter to the Editor: Our Defence Forces need to be treated with more respect


Lifestyle

If you’re travelling country roads from West Cork to Co Donegal these days, you will almost certainly meet tractor trailers clamped high with black turf for home fires.Dying art of the turf-cutter

Last Sunday afternoon, I went to see newts in a pond created by an ecologically-minded doctor and his family in West Cork.We have a lot to learn about nature but pond newts a start

Trees along Dublin’s thoroughfares face a death sentence. In streets choked with vehicles, it’s proposed to cut them down so that buses can operate more efficiently.A little bit of nature a week is good for you

In the realms of the imagination, more is usually better. Why restrict ourselves to one make-believe island?Islands of Ireland: Last Buss to imaginary island

More From The Irish Examiner