Before the arrival of man in Ireland, approximately 9000 years ago, Ireland was covered in forests. Pine trees grew in abundance on hills and mountains, whereas forests of oak, holly, ash, elm and yew grew on more level ground. Today there is only fraction of native woodland left, due to the clearing of land for agriculture, and changes in the climate.
Wood is one of the most versatile of materials, and it has been used in Ireland since the first Stone Age people started cutting down trees with their axes. As people made technological advances with cutting materials, so to did the complexity of wooden tools and structures. It was used in the construction of dwellings, for making boats, furniture and any other useful items that people took the time and care to craft.
Traditional Irish woodcrafts would include -
Coopering (making barrels and vessels), furniture making (including tables, chairs, dressers and cabinets), Spinning wheel making, producing musical instruments, including wooden harps and violins, hurley stick making and regional boat building.
Greenwood working refers to a range of traditional woodworking techniques as practiced by craftspeople using wood harvested from carefully coppiced woodlands, that are periodically cut back to stimulate growth. Greenwood workers often use a traditional pole-lathe to turn tool handles, bowls and other items. They also make traditional chairs, baskets and hurdle fences.
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