The demise of the trade of the farrier means that when blacksmith Holly Graham leaves his forge for the last time nobody will be replacing him.

There are 69 registered farriers in Ireland and as they retire their craft goes with them. Blacksmith Holly Graham is retiring after nearly fifty years of working at his forge in Ballymahon, County Longford.

It’s dying now because the young people that learn it, they all gave it up.

Holly Graham is the last in the line of a family of blacksmiths. His father before him and seven of his uncles were all blacksmiths.

There’s not many farriers around here, there’s only one more in County Longford and one in County Westmeath.

One customer who has been going to Holly for the last thirteen years says he will,

Have to travel the length and breadth of Ireland to get a blacksmith after he retires.

In 1960 Holly Graham saw the first signs of the decline in his craft when the tractor took over from the horse, leaving only hunting horses.

So you had to turn your hand to different jobs, you know, making car tailors or something like that.

However things improved in 1970,

The horse came back round the time Dana won the Eurovision contest from that on they came back and now they’ve got very plentiful.

Ironically the return of the horse is marked by the demise of the traditional farrier in County Longford.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 12 October 1988. The reporter is Gerry Reynolds.