Apr 27, 2011

Irish Artisans

Replica of the Ardagh Chalice
An artisan (metal worker, stone carver, blacksmith...) was respected in ancient Ireland. The craftsman held an enviable position in society. The artisans serving some of Ireland's beloved saints were even mentioned in a triad in the ancient books:

Three chief artisans of Ireland: Tassach with Patrick, Conlaed with Brigit, and Daig with Ciaran.

According to The Brehon Laws by Laurence Ginnell, 1894, whenever an artisan delivered his work he said a blessing on it. So strong was this tradition that if it wasn't done, fines were leveled.

Newgrange carving
PreChristian statue on on the Isle of Boa in Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

I have great respect today for modern artisans because they have a talent to do something I'm not able to do. It's a gift. I suppose we still admire artistic skill today. But I wonder how many people today bless their work before parting with it. That seems like a good ancient practice to take up today, even without the threat of fines.


  1. I do. I mean bless my work when it's finished.
    I put a lot of love and energy into it, so to me it seems only natural to do so.
    Thanks for the lovely article. You chose some splendid examples of craftsmenship here.

  2. Thanks, Ashmodeil! You are blessed!

  3. How many of us bless anything these days?

  4. Good point, GEEGE. And what if we did?