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Irish Geological Association Lecture: “Irish Iron: Smelting Irish Iron Ore in the 21st Century”

By Dr Paul Rondelez (Consultant Metallurgical Archaeologist)

31 May, 2023 @ 7:00 PM 8:00 PM IST


Since 2018, Irish iron ores have been smelted into high-grade iron
and steel at the annual Furnace Festival. My talk will detail the history of the event, including the practicalities of sourcing suitable iron ores.

Highlights include 1) the production of high-grade steel, derived from Irish bog iron ore, to make Japanese katana swords; and 2) the unexpected discovery of high-quality iron ore in the centre of the Burren.

The Furnace Festival now operates with standardised shaft furnaces and high-grade bog iron ore from the Irish Midlands from which one can make a few kilos of iron in under two hours. Around 25 blacksmiths make objects of art and practical use directly from this newly born iron and steel at the festival.


Dr Paul Rondelez

Due to a family history of mineral collecting, Paul has had a life-long interest in the history of mining and metal production. He graduated as an archaeologist from Ghent University (Belgium) with a Masters on the early iron production of Belgium, moved to Ireland to work as an archaeologist on infrastructure projects, then went to University College Cork where he did a PhD in 2014 on late-medieval iron production in Ireland. Currently, Paul is a full-time writer of specialist reports on the remains of metal production found on archaeological sites, is Chair of the Historical Metallurgy Society, and is the main organiser of the Caherconnell International Furnace Festival.

Date and Time: Wednesday, 31 May 2023, between 19:00 pm and 20:00 via Zoom.

To Register: send an e-mail to  info@geology.ie 

A Zoom link will be sent on the day to those who have registered.