A Galway man has found fame in the US presenting a show on the Discovery Channel. Michael Craughwell from Renmore is currently the face of Big Giant Swords, which premiered on the channel last week.
The Discovery Channel, which is known for its exploration, adventure and history programming as well as a science and technology focus, is distributed to more than 100 million Americans and broadcasts in 210 countries, including Ireland where it is available on UPC and Sky.
Big Giant Swords documents Mr Craughwell’s journey as he follows an unusual passion for sword-making and his efforts to turn this passion into a successful business.
The Galway man who now lives in Martha's Vineyard, an island located south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, came to the attention of producers after he posted a number of YouTube videos where he designed life-size replicas of weapons inspired by video games and 80’s fantasy sci-fi movies. These videos became a massive internet sensation garnering millions of viewers.
The 32-year-old was approached by a production company that makes programmes for the Discovery Channel, and the six-part first series has been completed and is currently airing on the channel. Indeed the reception to the first few programmes has been so positive, that the Galway man is now in discussions about making a second series.
The Renmore native went to school in the Bish and studied art and design at GMIT, following that, he completed a welding course run by FÁS. He worked with Macnas and local engineering companies in metal fabrication before emigrating to the US with his American born wife five years ago. Rather than seeking more welding work, he decided to pursue something he was really interested in. In his own words he was trying to become a “responsible, adult businessman,’’ making sword creation a viable full-time job.
Mr Craughwell’s sword-making business now no longer focuses on replica swords but his own original designs. His talent, and the added attention from the new programme, has led to the establishment of a thriving business. Some of his swords are up to six feet in length, weigh up to 80 pounds and retail for a whopping $2,000 each.
Michael Craughwell’s Galway based brother Christian, who works as a graphic designer with EZ Living, is delighted with his success. “Our parents Bernadette and Christy are thrilled for him, as are all the family. Michael is a very modest person, he wasn’t seeking out fame at all. He was back home at Christmas and it was obvious how happy he is about the way things have turned out as the sword-making is thriving. It seems like the show will be really successful and there is a great buzz about it on-line as well.’’
Christian Craughwell, says it is great news for a Galway person to be doing so well abroad. “The programme is very entertaining to watch and there are now talks of a second series, so it really is a terrific story.’’