The 4.1-metre tall and 1.8m wide steel structure weighing 2.5 tonnes, known as the Hive of Knowledge, left blacksmith Mark Keeling’s forge in Clonakilty, Co Cork, for a truck-ride to Monaghan for the international forge-in featuring 200 blacksmiths from all over the globe.
The Irish Artist Blacksmith’s Association, which organised the three-day event, said Monaghan will be shut down two days before — on Wednesday — as temporary forges with burning fires begin to operate.
The “hive”, forged over several weeks, is an individual work of art in its own right but its appearance will alter in Monaghan as 15 international and Irish master blacksmiths forge 15 panels to fit in the sculpture with their interpretation of knowledge and learning of their art.
Up to four forging stations will be set up around the town to help complete the task.
Thousands of visitors are expected as Monaghan becomes the blacksmithing capital of the world.
Master blacksmiths who have confirmed their attendance for the largest gathering of blacksmiths ever seen in Ireland include: Tom Joyce (USA); Alexander Sushnikov (Russia); Francisco Gazitua (Chile); Martin Breidenbach (Germany); Takyoshi Komine (Japan); Stephané Chavelier (France); Stephen Lunn (England); Jim Horrobin (England) and Adam Booth (Scotland).
Eric O’Neill, spokesman for the Irish Artist Blacksmith Association, said: “The association has reached for the stars and pulled off an extraordinary coup by getting international masters from around the globe. They usually deal with commissions worth several million euro.”