We got lost on the one-lane farm roads trying to find the row of megalithic stones near Maughansilly, County Cork. A little sign that said “Visitors Welcome” beckoned us up a dirt driveway.
We stopped in the middle of a farmyard inhabited by chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and a teenager with a weed whacker. Bunches of willow withys were soaking in metal troughs. A man hailed us from inside the open doorway of a stone barn, where he sat inside making baskets.
I sketched a quick portrait as we talked. His name is Martin O’Flynn. He is one of only ten master basket makers in all of Ireland. The knowledge almost died out in the 1980s, when cheap plastic ware came in, but he was able to learn from a few of the older men.
IF YOU GO
If you’d like to meet Martin and Yvon and see their handmade baskets, just drive up the Coomhola River from Ballylickey and head over on the single lane road toward Carriganass Castle, or follow the road up the mountains from Kealkill. Don’t try to drive up the path from Dromduff unless you have high ground clearance.
Martin O'Flynn Baskets