A past visitor to the Toy Soldier Factory concentrating on her work.

Do battle with toy soldiers

Nestled in the small village of Kilnamartyra is an experience like no other.

It’s Ireland’s only toy soldier factory and whether you are seven or 70, there is something that will ensnare your imagination.

You can choose from a wide array of metal miniatures and they will make them and provide them to you to paint in their spacious indoor painting area. Hobby casting involves pouring liquid low temperature metal, like pewter, into pre-set rubber moulds, which when cool, allows the figures easy removal. Workshops vary from 60-90 minutes, which can include casting demonstrations. The figures you have chosen become heirlooms that you will cherish for decades.

The visitor centre is filled with miniatures themed across thousands of years of history, from chess sets celebrating the Battle of Clontarf, to figurines as varied as Michael Collins and Cúchulainn the hound of Ulster. Armies from Rome or Napoleon line their shelves and you can select kits to cast them yourselves at home if you desire. Fantasy figurines from 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings' include Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli and hundreds more, even including monsters like balrogs and dragons.

All these experiences are only a short drive from Cork city as you go towards Killarney on the N22, a little past Macroom. Follow the signs and you will find it to be one of the best decisions you have made this year. A spokesperson for the Toy Soldier Factory said: “Families are welcome. We do need people to prebook workshops to allow for social distancing so just book a table, that can seat up to eight people, online today. The price is the cost of one person doing the workshop. If others wish to join in, they can pay when they get here.”

See toysoldierfactory.ie.

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