"Seven sixteenths" and Frank Leckey’s Lodge, by The Digger
"Under a spreading chestnut tree, The village smithy stands;
The smith a mighty man is he, With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms Are strong as iron brands "
The opening lines of a poem by Longfellow called "The Village Blacksmith" from an 1879 book used by schools in the district for reading practice.
The poem aptly describes a once familiar scene in most townlands in the district – the blacksmith’s shop. The sound of the bellows blowing and those synonymous with the forging of metal have been lost.
Once at the centre at the rural community, the smithy, a focal point, was the place where stories and gossip were exchanged, all now confined to the history book.
An excellent example of a forge forms part of "Ballycultra Town" at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra. Originally the forge had been sited in the Ballinderry area, County Antrim. I recall hearing a tale of a young boy, who for the first time had looked into a blacksmith’s forge as he passed by on his way home from school. He couldn’t wait to relate this experience to his mother when he reached home.