fbpx The Hot Milk Forge | Shaped by Sea and Stone

The Hot Milk Forge

Meet the Locals:
Eamonn Higgins

From the top of Slemish Mountain, if you only knew where to look, you could pick out the nearby village of Martinstown, where Eamonn Higgins is reviving the ancient craft of blacksmithing.

Forging metal

Eamonn Higgins stands by one of the eight forges he has constructed from scrap metal in the old milking shed built on the family farm by his father. The coals are glowing hot, the hammer and tongs ready to fashion the burning hot metal over an anvil. When the right temperature is reached, the metal will be pushed and knocked into medieval blades, fire implements, a leaf key ring, anything that can be achieved in a single session by a beginner in the craft.

An ancient craft

Here, amidst the unspoilt beauty of Glenravel, the tenth Glen of Antrim, Eamonn is reviving a hugely valued craft. The blacksmith traditionally made implements, shoed horses and even made weapons (as the makers of pikes for rebels, they were often the first to be arrested during rebellions).

The Hot Milk Forge | Shaped by Sea and Stone

An experience you will never forget

Today, that craft is no longer needed for practical reasons, but Eamonn has seen a dramatic interest in blacksmithing from locals and visitors alike. People of all ages and backgrounds, from teenagers to brain surgeons, make their way to the Hot Milk Forge these days. It's an experience they will never forget.

Getting into the rhythm

“Each person has their own anvil, forge and hammer,” explains Eamonn.

“The forge is already heated, the coal glowing like in a grate but a wee bit more aggressive. Perhaps a thousand degrees centigrade, with the air pumped in below.

The hot metal is like play dough, to be knocked and teased into shape on the anvil. If they're making a knife, they'll use a knife grinder to finish it off. But that's it.

There's music on the sound system to  help them get into the rhythm and with the heat and noise they become totally immersed in this intense experience.”

The Hot Milk Forge
“People today are fed up with TVs and computer screens... they want to do, not watch. For two to three hours they’re totally immersed in a traditional craft, one that’s been around since the Iron Age. When they come out, they’re buzzing.”
Itineraries

Plan Your Trip

Make the most of your stay in Mid & East Antrim by selecting from one of our itineraries. Each one caters to a different interest, a different mood, and ensures you experience the very best in the region.

Game of Thrones® Itinerary

The makers of HBO’s Game of Thrones® wanted to find an ancient landscape new to the rest of the world - dramatic cliffs that give way to beautiful valleys, medieval castles towering over picturesque stone harbours.

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GOT | Shaped by Sea and Stone
Game Of Thrones®

Heritage Itinerary

This land has a story to tell - A historic tale passed down through generations, through artefacts and ruins, through folklore and ancient writings, where etchings of the past reveal a deeper understanding.

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Heritage | Shaped by Sea and Stone
Heritage

Towns & Villages Itinerary

To truly appreciate the splendour of Mid & East Antrim, you must walk its towns and villages - These are places that have grown up from the rolling valleys of the Glens, nourished by the ebb and flow of the sea. 

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Towns & Villages | Shaped by Sea and Stone
Town & Villages

48-Hour Itinerary

The idyllic area of Mid & East Antrim was not built in a day, over thousands of years, the land started to take shape - with the collision of the rough Irish Sea on the soft grassy verges and the power of mother nature, the land started to flourish.

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48 Hours | Shaped by Sea and Stone
48 Hours