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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Embark on a journey back in time this week at the Glenravel International Furnace Festival

Glenravel International Furnace Festival

A newly launched festival taking place this week in the Glens of Antrim, is inviting you to embark on a journey back in time to an era when iron was the backbone of industry, and Glenravel was at the heart of it all.

The Glenravel International Furnace Festival takes place from Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th June 2024, and is organised by local group Tenth Glen Heritage Farms.

During the next few days, a large team of smelters and blacksmiths from around the world will converge in the small mining village of Newtowncrommelin to showcase traditional iron skills and produce iron items from Glenravel ore for the first time in over 100 years.

Glenravel blacksmithing

Nestled in the Antrim Hills, Glenravel was once a bustling hub of iron ore mining, with its rich deposits attracting miners from far and wide. The area became the center of iron ore mining in Northern Ireland, playing a pivotal role in the industrial revolution. The mines were primarily located around Glenravel, Parkmore, Newtowncrommelin, Cargan, and Glenariff.

The mining activities in Glenravel began in the early 1800s when the Crommelin family, of Huguenot descent, purchased the townlands of Skerry East, Skerry West, and Scotch Omerbane. They were the pioneers of iron ore mining in the region, setting up mines at various locations, including Tuftarney and Cargan.

The iron ore mined in Glenravel was of top quality, with the miners raising 300 tons of ore per week at the peak of production. The ore was used to produce iron, which was then used in various industries, including shipbuilding and railway construction.

Glenravel blacksmithing fire

However, the glory days of Glenravel's iron ore mining were not to last. By the early 20th century, the mines began to close due to the depletion of high-quality ore and the increasing competition from imported ores. The last iron ore mine in Glenravel closed in 1933, marking the end of an era.

It's a tale of boom and bust, innovation and tradition, and a reminder of the enduring legacy of the region's iron ore mining heritage.

Plan to go along to the Glenravel International Furnace Festival 2024 where the spirit of Glenravel's iron ore mining heritage lives on.

This festival also coincides with the founding of the first village of Glenravel: Newtowncrommelin and is the opening event to mark this momentus occasion.

This year’s event will include iron ore smelting demonstrations, blacksmithing demonstrations, outdoor museum and heritage displays, as well as a number of talks and tours, and fantastic workshops.

Entrance to the festival is completely free of charge but donations are welcome to help cover costs and assist with the continual development of the rural community and heritage in the Glens of Antrim.

Glenravel international furnace festival

Event details here in our website:

Facebook is the best place to keep up to date with information @Tenth Glen Heritage Farms page.

For more information The Furnace Festival of Ireland website is here:


A number of interesting hands-on workshops will take place during the weekend as part of the Glenravel International Furnace Festival 2024.

Check out the workshops below and discover the craft and skills from yesteryear, taking place on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th June.


Make red iron oxide pigment from raw earth material with Tricia Kelly from Ócar. Try out art materials made from this ancient natural colour that lies below the landscape of Antrim and create your own work of art.


An introduction workshop into the exciting world of lost foam sandcasting with Jason Hale. Design and carve a sculptural piece out of foam build it into a mold & pour in molten aluminium creating a work of art to take home


With Moneyvart Ceramics and Cré Collective NI, manifest your inner Goddess as we approach the Summer Solstice and create a little Goddess talisman to bring those magical qualities into your life.




Take a short walking tour around one of the original and busiest mining sites in the Glenravel area. Hear about the history of mining from local expert Kevin O'Hagan, witness the remnants of various mining systems and processes that were in use over 100 years ago and connect with this important part of our heritage.

Kevin has literally wrote the book on mining in Glenravel: The Mountains of Iron. So this promises to be a very interesting tour steeped in history!

Tours will run both Saturday and Sunday at 2:00pm.



Once the site of an innovative system to transport iron ore, now a natural woodland reserve. Learn about the mining systems used, how they relied on the woodlands and witness how nature has re-taken ownership

Check out our full program of events at


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