The Miners of Wicklow

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source site Zinc was now extracted along with the lead. During the following years several attempts were made to discover new veins, particularly in the s, but nothing of note was discovered. Mining the Luganure mines became no longer viable. In the Mining Company met for the last time, ending years of mining in the area.

1 - The Miners of Wicklow

After being removed from the mines, ore was transported to the dressing works in both the Glendasan and Glendalough valleys, here large chunks of rock were crushed, separating the lead from the quartz rock in which it was embedded. Initially the rock was broken manually with lump hammers on the cobbled ground of the picking floor reducing it to a necessary size for the mechanical crusher which would pound and separate the lead and the quartz still further.

These machines were powered by water and consisted of large iron rollers that were fed manually. These huge machines, like giant pestles shod with iron, pulverised rock effortlessly greatly reducing the time spent between extraction and the final crushing.

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Once crushed, the quartz rock was discarded or used as road metal to surface the roads. The lead ore was washed in a circular structure known as a buddle. Here the heavier lead settled and the waste gangue was washed into slime pits. These pits were checked periodically to collect any lead that may have escaped previous collecting methods. The lead ore was then transported to be smelted.

Originally, it was carried twenty miles by horse and cart to Ballycorus in south County Dublin, or it was shipped to either Swansea or Cornwall. Later, with the arrival of the train to Rathdrum in , ore was transported by rail. Whilst the mines were owned and worked by an Irish work force, the lack of mining experience in Ireland meant that technical and managerial positions were often occupied by more experienced Cornish people. Typically, mining was contracted out to different teams of men known as tributors, who worked in shifts.

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Relations between the management and the workers were good, resulting with no strikes and few other problems, which affected other mines around the country. One problem, which did exist, however, occurred outside the hours of work. Saturday, payday often saw binge drinking and fist fights.

By this had become such a nuisance that a contingent from the Roundwood constabulary was brought in to patrol the problem areas. As the mines prospered, conditions for the workers improved. New cottages were built in the s to replace the earthen hovels that were reportedly indistinguishable from the surrounding heather. In a school was established in the Glendalough valley by the M.

Lung diseases and lead poisoning were the main causes of death. Due to the fissured nature of the rock, the risk of collapse was always present. Small areas were opened, worked and speedily closed to reduce the threat. Accidents did happen. In two miners were trapped for 33 hours after an adit in which they were working collapsed. On hearing the news, a team from the Glenmalure mines came to assist the trapped men. In its year history only three fatalities were recorded as a result of accidents. Concern for the working child was prevalent in the midth century.

A report in listed the Glendalough and Avoca mines as the only two mines in Ireland not to employ children. It appears neither women nor children worked in the mines or in their associated works.

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The booming tourist trade of the area no doubt allowed for alternative employment. The mining heritage of the Wicklow Mountains has left its mark both inside and outside the Park. The remains of several mining villages are easily visited including the mines of Glendalough and Glendasan Valleys. Sandy spoil heaps streak the slopes surrounding the ruined villages.

The mining village in the Glendalough Valley is only accessible on foot. The mining village in Glendasan is located by the public road that runs between Laragh Village and the Wicklow Gap. There is a small parking area. These mules were later replaced by an inclined railway, resulting in greater efficiency and productivity. The s saw a major decline in the fortunes of The Mining Company of Ireland which had experienced losses over several years.

The lead was running out in the areas being worked and world prices for lead were in decline. Employment fell dramatically and many of the most experienced miners had emigrated to England and America.

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Also known as Madam I'd Love To Be Tossing Your Hay, Madam, I'd Like To Be Tossing Your Hay, The Wicklow March, Wicklow Miners, The. Also known as The Wicklow March, Wicklow Miners, The Wicklow Miners, The Wicklow's March. The Miners Of Wicklow has been added to 14 tunebooks.

Although mining in this valley only lasted for approximately 20 years, mined lead continued to be processed here even into the s. The Mining Company of Ireland sold the mines to the Wynne family in , denoting a new phase. The Wynnes were an Irish family with previous mining experience in the Avoca and Glenmalure mines.

The waste was transported on a tramway and loaded by hand into a crusher by a mainly female work force. The crushing work continued until Fig: GG8. GG8 Glendalough Crusher. The demand for lead during the years of the First World War, to , brought the Glendalough mines to the attention of the Ministry of Munitions in London which granted aid to the Wynnes to re-open the Fox Rock mines in Glendasan.


However, Government financial support was withdrawn at the end of the war. Funds dried up, and so did the mining. This was the last phase of mining in Glendalough. If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page. Email address See our privacy statement :. I consent to my name and e-mail address being stored along with this comment, and to the website editors communicating with me by e-mail about the comment if necessary.

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TripAdvisor LLC is not responsible for content on external web sites. James Watson was born in Delgany in As with the Cornish who worked with the Irish in mines across eighteenth and nineteenth century Ireland, including those in Wicklow that were almost exclusively captained by Cornishmen, Irish mineworkers were also highly mobile, moving from one mining field to another as the fortunes of the industry waxed and waned. In Glendasan was connected with Glendalough by a series of adits horizontal tunnels through the mountain. We have been able to reconstitute the family unit in place of the decennial census returns for many of our mineworkers that has allowed us to discover what happened to them. As the Luganure Mines began to falter over the next 20 years, more men moved from Glendalough and district to mining communities in the north west of England.

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