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Video: The Craft of Traveller Tinsmithing

Passing on the craft of tinsmithing

11.8.17. Dublin. National Museum, Collins Barracks. JAMES COLLINS Traveller Tinsmithing classes (with Michael Collins & Patrick Reilly). ©Photo Credit by Derek Speirs
(additional caption information from Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre)


Project Organiser: Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre

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 following video is courtesy of Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre and shows a 10 week Traveller tinsmithing course held at National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks in 2017 and features tinsmith James Collins.

For further information please visit www.paveepoint.ie

The video below, Tinsmith : Gabha Stáin, is a silent film showing 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.

Traveller Tinsmithing

For further information 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.

This practice is inscribed on Ireland’s National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage; https://nationalinventoryich.chg.gov.ie/traveller-tinsmithing/