Originally from Cork and a trained horticulturist, I moved to County Leitrim in 1987 to undertake training in broadleaf woodland management with Crann, who were then based in Carrigallen. Before this, I was part of a worker’s co-operative, Ashling Woodland Development, planting and maintaining broadleaf woodlands all over the country. In 1992, I found an old stone-built cottage on three-quarters of an acre which I bought and started to renovate. I met my partner, Brenda, the same year and we set about reawakening our small-holding. We rebuilt a stone out-building as a workshop, planted trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetables, soft fruits, tree fruits and willow gardens, while still retaining the small-field layout of the old property. We have had two children together – Rowan and Mollie – and so, three years ago we added a small extension made from roundwood, hemp and lime.
Over the years I have collected many strange and twisted pieces of wood. I started woodturning and green woodworking, aiming to highlight the variety and colour in native timber species. In 2001, I started Fuinseog Woodland Crafts, and joined the Leitrim Design House. This has given me the opportunity to work with artists and designers in new and exciting ways.
The range of items that I turn include: garden dibbers, seed dibbers and bird feeder mobiles for the garden, honey spoons, potato mashers, pot stirrers and garlic crushers for the kitchen. I have been commissioned to make an eclectic range of objects over the years – from door handles to chairs and stools, chalices, crosses, newelling posts, watch straps and fireplace pieces. Each piece is hand-finished with natural oils to show the true beauty of the diverse woods used.
I am also involved in working with the Coppice association of Ireland in demonstrations and displays in green woodworking and coppice crafts using small-dimension native timbers. During summer festivals, I run children’s toy-making workshops, where children use wood and glue to make a variety of wooden toys under my supervision.
Please visit us in store to view this collection.