Woodcarver Terry O'Brien at work in his workshop near Baltray.
Question: what do President Michael D. Higgins, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, former Taoisigh Charlie Haughey, Jack Lynch, Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny and the Emperor of Japan all have in common?
The answer is that they have all been presented with works created by Baltray wood carver Terry O’Brien.
At last year’s Fleadh President Michael D. Higgins was presented with a carved wooden fruit bowl which Terry made especially for the occasion. He was delighted to meet the President later on that day.
“He is a lovely man,” Terry told Drogheda Life after his chat with the President. “He seemed to be genuinely pleased with the bowl and wanted to know all about it. He remarked on how lovely and smooth it feels and I told him that was because it was sanded with silicone sandpaper!”
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You don’t have to be President or Taoiseach or even an emperor to own some of Terry’s work though because, just as he did last year, Terry will be selling his work from a stall in Fair Street during the Fleadh.
You don’t need to be rich either because Terry has carved some lovely pieces, mostly with a musical or Gaelic theme and, with prices ranging from €4 to €100 there really is something for everyone. As he says himself, the carving and the beauty of the wood is the same whether the piece is large or small.
Terry is well known locally and over the last few years his work has been brought home by visitors from all over the world, a trend that began when he had an outlet at Newgrange for seven years and has continued ever since.
Terry carves all sorts of pieces and a visit to his workshop at Baltray is always a treat for those with an inquisitive mind and who appreciate the unique beauty that is in each piece of wood. The kettle is always nearby to make tea to lubricate the conversation.
Terry made several pieces which were used as awards at last year’s Fleadh competitions and he was asked to do the same this year.