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William's shaft engine house, Avoca Background
Mining is not the first subject that springs to mind when thinking of Ireland. Yet it is indeed a 'mining gem of a country', managing to combine its well-known magnificent scenery with many unique remains and no fewer than three working zinc mines!

This production is a brief tour of some of the best sites, both surface and underground.

First we visit the beautiful mountains and glens of County Wicklow, starting at Avoca copper & pyrite mines with their superb Cornish engine houses, open stopes and large 20th century underground workings.

The vales of Glendalough, Glendasan and Glenmalur each have fascinating remains of lead mining such as roller crushers, ore bins, inclines, levels, waterwheel pits, jigs, trommels and buddles.

Roller crusher on Glendalough mine dressing floor
Miner with radio control at Tara Zinc mine. At Tara in County Meath is the largest zinc mine in Europe. We go underground to see the mining operations, including a huge radio-controlled 'scoop tram' loader, working in a blasthole open stope whilst the miner drives it from the safety of the drift. On the surface we visit the processing plant crushers, ball & rod mills, flotation cells and filters.

Deerpark mine at Castlecomer in Kilkenny was the main mine of the Leinster coalfield.

The Silvermine mountains in County Tipperary were mined for silver, lead, zinc and barite from the 13th century until the 1990's. There are many remains from the 19th and 20th centuries including kilometres of core samples, Cornish engine houses, kiln remains and opencast and underground mining at Shallee. Shallee underground mine entrance.
The Man-engine house at Allihies Allihies in County Cork can't be beaten for Cornish engine houses set in rugged mountain scenery and the Mountain Mine man engine remains are now recognised as a unique monument. Copper mineralisation can still be seen in the stopes above and below ground and there is one of the largest powder magazines ever built.

The mines of Bunmahon and Tankardstown have given the Copper Coast of County Waterford its name. There are levels and shafts in the cliffs and a large engine house that has been seen in two feature films.

Ballycorus chimney with stair Finally we visit Ballycorus in County Dublin with its smelt mill building, 1500m flue and very unusual chimney with helical staircase.

Digitally re-mastered from original camera tapes for the 2003 NAMHO conference in Ireland

For more information on Irish mining heritage, see the SCMC in Ireland Feature.

Also see the production: Glengowla and several compilations.

Mine workshop at Cappagh Copper mine

Land of Poets, Scholars and Mines DVD case

The images on this page are taken from the video.


  • Written and narrated by Peter Eggleston
  • £13.45 - DVD
  • Running time: 47 mins.
  • Price includes worldwide delivery.
  • ' PAL' and 'NTSC' versions available.

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