Erwin O’Rourke (1900 – 1953)

Erwin O’Rourke or ”Wee Erwin / Iriwin” was a highly regarded travelling tinsmith who spent most of his life in Inver parish. In the 1911 census he boarded with his parents at the house of Mary Brannigan in Lettertreane and the family were described as ‘tinsmiths’. He lived and boarded in various houses in the parish but settled close to St. Peter’s Lough with his second wife, Anne and three daughters from his first marriage to Catherine; Sally, Susie and Annie. It is said that all three girls were very fine singers. Erwin continued the tinsmith trade from here and Eamonn Monaghan recalls Erwin’s wife walking the roads of the parish with tin pandies tied around her neck. The rattle of tin could be heard for a mile and if she made a sale, she would simply cut the string and go on her way. Ewrin was a regular visitor to John James Connaghan’s forge at Doorin Line. ‘Wee Erwin’s Roar’ refers to an approach that he adopted to the bass G string in the first half of the well known strathspey ‘King George IV’. Newspaper accounts of his death in 1953 refer to the passing of a ‘well-known tinsmith and traditional fiddler’ while in another report he was described as a ‘tinsmith and voilin maker’.