“Irish Mike” Craughwell was a YouTube sensation before Discovery decided to build a series around the wild-haired, Hobbit-styled natural performer. Who could resist what an announcer promises in a movie-trailer voice, and over “Game of Thrones” type music and graphics at the start of each episode: “On the isle of Martha’s Vineyard,” he intones, lives a man “pure of heart and mind, on a life’s mission to make big, giant swords.” Never mind that the man sometimes drives his wife crazy, trying to clean her broiler pan with an angle grinder. As leprechaun-accented Irish Mike says about life’s opportunities in general, “If you have an excuse to set fire to something and you don’t take it—what’s wrong with you?”
Contributing to the theatrics are an assortment of odd-bod helpers, including a man Irish Mike refers to as “the failed cloning experiment.” But the highlight is always the swords, usually made after a design and price-setting session with clients. All of the blades are satisfyingly huge: Imagine swinging a razor-sharp two-by-four made of steel. But they are way more inventive than that. One order for a fire-breathing sword, for instance, results in a blade covered in welded dragon scales and spewing flames via a propane tank Irish Mike wears strapped to his back inside a barrel. Price to the client: $2,500. Value of seeing at least once in your life: Incalculable.