Mines in Killarney

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Home Heritage Page Project Page Historic Mine Prehistoric Mine Tourism  


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Metal in Early Historic Times ] Len the Smith ] 18th Century Mining in Killarney ] Rudolf Raspe ] Weaver Map ] Mining At Muckross ] An Industrial Venture ] Thomas Weaver ] The Mining Companies ] [ Mines in Killarney ]

With the rise of tourism in the early 19th century, the estate owners in Killarney began to look less favourably on mining ventures around the lakes. One visitor to Ross Island in 1828 complained that '... its quiet character has given place to the roar of engines, the din of hammers, and the thunder of explosions'. Added to the mining difficulties, this explains why no mine leases were granted after 1829. In subsequent years the Ross Island mine was carefully landscaped, with the infilling of shafts, the demolition of buildings and the planting of trees. While mining here and at Muckross did adversely effect the environment, this was limited compared to the destruction of local woodland caused by iron smelting in the 18th century. Today, both mines are shrouded in woodland and have developed their own interesting plant ecology.

        Mine dam today, Ross island

Mining finally ended in Killarney with the ill-fated attempts of the Ross Island Mining Company to develop that mine between 1911-12. With the economy firmly tied to tourism, no serious interest has since been expressed in opening new mines in this area. Mineral exploration in now prohibited in the National Park, bringing to a close the long history of metal mining around the Lakes of Killarney. This provides an opportunity to preserve the physical record of past mining as an archaeological resource for future generations.

 

The copper ore mined at Ross Island provided the very first metal to be used in Ireland over 4000 years ago. This same source provided copper and possibly other metals in Early Christian times when there was a Golden Age of metalworking on this island.

 Finally, the Killarney mines played their part in meeting the metal needs of the Industrial Revolution from the 18th century onwards when some 5000 tons of copper ore was sold to British smelters.

       Flooded mine Shaft, Ross Island

 

Mines in the Killarney landscape