Well-known Fermanagh joiner and carpenter Ian McElroy certainly didn’t mind clocking up the time as he worked on his latest project – two distinctive grandfather clocks.

The father of two, who lives in the Maguiresbridge area, designed and made the special pieces – marking the fulfilment of a long-held ambition.

More accustomed to dealing with all types of joinery and carpentry work, he confesses that he has always enjoyed woodwork as a hobby and he says the grandfather clocks were something that he had always wanted to do.

He came up with his own design and created the two clocks, which he says are both quite different. One is made out of mahogany and one is made out of Irish oak. They measure just over six feet in height and in Ian’s words are “more or less based on a Victorian clock but have a few differences.”

Not following any particular plans, Ian explained that he made notes and drew sketches until he came up with the design he wanted. “A lot of nights were spent working on the project,” revealed Ian, who mentioned that he worked on it over a period of six weeks. He gave one of the finished designs to his father as a well-received surprise for his birthday and it takes pride of place in his parents’ home, while the other one is displayed in Ian’s own family home. He admits he originally was going to sell this one. However, he said “the more I made it, the more I fell in love with it and would not sell it then.” The clock now stands at the front door, just as people come into the house and those who have seen it like it. Not just a pretty face, it is also credited for keeping good time.

Ian mentioned that he bought two antique movements for the clocks in Moira. They incorporate the faces, hands and clock movements. “They are quite hard to get,” indicated Ian, who said had been on the lookout for the pieces.

He greatly enjoyed working on the clocks’ project and said it was something he had wanted to do for some time. “I never got the time and never got around to it,” he admitted, but then says he seized “the moment”.

Ian recalls that he previously made a clock when he was at school. An impressive hanging wall clock, he recollects making it in his woodwork class at Enniskillen High School back in 1994. It was his first effort at making a clock and he still has the particular model, which he explained is called a Vienna Regulator; the eye-catching piece hangs in the family home and continues to work perfectly.

Speaking about his interest, Ian says he likes building fine furniture but clocks “would be a speciality” and slightly outside “the norm.” This is a hobby for me, highlights Ian, who mostly concentrates on the first and second fix carpentry work in house building projects.

Many examples of his prowess at woodwork are evident in the family home, including a recently built piece of furniture, which can be used as either a stool or a coffee table. Having been developed from one of Ian’s sketches, it is made from white plywood, with a piece of teak featured at the back. Ian pointed out that he wanted to place something modern beside the grandfather clock. He also designed and made his sons’ cot, just one of many features in the McElroy household. “I have done a few of my own touches in the house,” says Ian, but admits they ‘are always last on the list’.

Five years ago, he recalls working on an unusual restoration project (which was featured in The Impartial Reporter in September 2013). He explained that it was specialised work on The Dovecote at Castle Hume, Enniskillen, when he recollects that he “built a complete roof on it.” A building of major historical importance, which dates from the 1700s, the interesting scheme for Ian saw him work on the entire building; he was engaged in the complete joinery work, a new roof, lantern and a

new door. “I expect it will be the only Dovecote I will ever work on,” commented Ian at the time.

Ian has also undertaken specialised church work such as designing and creating lecterns and a table, while he has also designed and constructed an impressive modern garden seat, only mentioning some of his handcrafted pieces.

“With day time work I do not get much time for projects,” confesses Ian, who works on his designs as a pastime. Married to Noeleen and the father of two sons, Sam and Ben, family time takes priority along with his work on house projects, the majority of which would be for building contractors.

“I have always enjoyed woodwork and have done it since I was 11,” enthused Ian, whose passion spans the best part of 30 years. And when he gets a spare hour or so, he likes heading into his workshop in the evenings with a cup of coffee and puts the time into his woodwork schemes such as the recent completion of his grandfather clocks which truly went like clockwork!