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 until recently, 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.
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.
Allihies in County Cork can't be beaten for Cornish engine houses set in rugged mountain scenery. 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 used in two feature films.
Finally we visit Ballycorus in County Dublin with its smelt mill building, 1,500m flue and very unusual chimney with an external helical staircase.
Digitally re-mastered from the original camera tapes for the 2003 NAMHO conference in Ireland
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The images on this page are taken from the video.