Boland’s Mill on the Kings River, Kilkenny (1193 – 1990)

The five storey Boland’s Mill  is situated in one of the most attractive mill environments in Ireland, beside the beautiful Kings River in Kilkenny.

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The 5 storey Boland’s Mill

The origins of Boland’s Mill traces back to 1193, when it was owned by Augustinian monks from Cornwall. It remained the property of the Augustinians until 1540; Cromwell had ownership at one time and gave it to a man named Holohan.  By the middle of the 18th century ownership had passed to people called Phelan who milled for many years.  In 1825 Richard Hutchinson bought it and left it to his nephew, also called Richard Hutchinson, who ran the mill from 1912 to 1939 when he became ill.

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The waterwheel

Lily Hutchinson, his daughter, took over the running of the mill when her father died in 1940 and ran it successfully through the difficult war years. She married Arthur Boland in 1954 and he ran the mill until his untimely death in 1979, aged 58.  The mill was idle in the years from 1979 to 1983 when Oliver Mosse leased the building and produced Kells Wholemeal between 1983 and 1987. Bill Mosse took over the running of the mill between 1987 and 1990 when it ceased milling and has been idle since.

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One of 5 original mill stones

Boland’s Mill is one of seven mills situated along the Kings River between Kells and Thomastown. Some are still standing and others are now in ruins. Although the mill has fallen into disrepair over the years the original  gearing that was made from timber, the five mill stones, a large selection of the tools used during the milling of the grain and the original weigh bridge are all still intact.

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Original Wooden cogs

Boland's Mill on the Kings River, Kilkenny

Boland's Mill on the Kings River, Kilkenny

Original weigh bridge

The Mill worked on commission.  The farmer owned the corn which was ground at a price per Bushel.  In those days a farmer aimed to grow enough wheat to supply his family with the wholemeal for the year and enough Barley and oats to feed his cattle, horses, sheep and hens – also for the year ahead. It was an excellent system, giving security to the farmer and his household.  During the war farmers were allowed to keep 1 Bushel of wheat per member of his household per year so they were never short of wheatmeal to make bread.

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Harvest time was very busy in the mill.  All the wheat had to be dried before it was milled and if the harvest was wet most of the barley and oats also needed drying.  The grain was hauled up to be dried either in the drying lofts or in the kiln room. The grain was fed to the stones through the shoots sunk in the upper floors of the mill.  Each grain demanded a different stone dressing and for fine ground grain riddling and screening was also necessary.

If you are the owner of an old mill site or a potential hydro site or are a community group interested in developing a hydro project for community use please contact us.

 

New water wheel turns at Mapledurham watermill

On a previous visit to Mapledurham watermill to do maintenance work on the Archimedean Screw the new water wheel was in construction and it was hoped that it would be installed during the Summer. On our visit this week, and to to our surprise and delight the new water wheel made from locally sourced oak had been installed.

Original wheel installed in 1670

Original wheel installed in 1670

The watermill at Mapledurham is the last working corn and grist watermill on the River Thames and is still producing high-quality stone-ground flour today. The mill produces stone-ground flour using the water wheel that was installed when the mill was increased in size in the 1670’s.  Wholemeal and white flour, bran, semolina and Millers Mix, a blended combination bran and semolina, are all produced at the mill and can be bought locally.

Original working water installed in 1670

Original working water installed in 1670

Over the years some of the paddles of the existing original wheel were beginning to show their age so these paddles were replaced so as to extend the life of the water wheel and to allow it to continue to grind the flour.

The new oak waterwheel in construction ~ Photo Credit: www.mapledurhamwatermill.co.uk

The new oak waterwheel in construction ~ Photo Credit: www.mapledurhamwatermill.co.uk

The main reason for replacing the wheel was because of the appearance of a number of splits in the wheels framework and also many of the joints are showing signs of decay and movement.

New water wheel insitu

New water wheel installed April 2014

The new water wheel is the exact structural copy of the existing water wheel and is made out of oak which was sourced from the Mapledurham Estate.

New water wheel at Mapledurham

An exact replica of the wheel installed in 1670

Over the years some of the paddles of the existing original wheel were beginning to show their age so these paddles were replaced so as to extend the life of the waterwheel and to allow it to continue to grind the flour. These ‘replacement’ paddles will now be reused to replace the paddles as they become worn on the new wheel which I imagine won’t be for many years to come!

New water wheel at Mapledurham

New water wheel made from locally sourced oak

 If you’re interested in getting an existing water wheel refurbished or own the site of an old mill that has the possibility of reinstating a water wheel and would like more information please contact us here.

Lowna Mill goes ‘green’ and cuts carbon footprint with a giant water wheel!

Lowna  has been in the same family since as far back as 1790 as a farm, mill and a tannery. During the first World War it stopped being used as a tannery and  it reverted to its previous use as a small mill and hill farm where a large water wheel generated the electricity. In 2006 the owners decided to renovate the farmhouse at Lowna to bring it into the 21st Century!  Work was last carried out on the farmhouse in the early 60’s so as you can imagine it was in desperate need of modernisation as it was a lovely old but very cold house, and took a lot of energy to only partially heat it.

Photo Credit: Track to Lowna Mill-_geograph.org.uk_-_1522504

Track to Lowna Mill ~ Photo Credit: Gordon Hatton www.geograph.org.uk

The old water wheel was used to grind corn, drive machinery and move hides around – even generate its own electricity before the National Grid arrived in 1952. It had always been an ambition to replace the old water wheel which was in place for two hundred years, using  the old infrastructure already in place.

Site of the original waterwheel

Site of the original waterwheel with old infrastructure in place

With grant aid from the North York Moors National Park Sustainable Development Fund a new water wheel generating all the electricity for the farm, farmhouse and two cottages was installed. With an available head of 2m and a capacity of 305l/s the new water wheel was designed and installed by Mannpower Consulting Ltd specialists in hydropower turbines. With a diameter of 4400mm and a maximum output of 2.6kW the annual output is estimated to be 15,968kWh and an annual CO2 saving of 7 tonnes. Excess electricity is sold to the National grid. The water wheel generates the electricity for the two cottages and the farmhouse with excess being sold to the national grid.

Installing the waterwheel ~ Photo Credit: Mannpower Consulting Ltd

Installing the water wheel ~ Photo Credit: Mannpower Consulting Ltd

The  two barn-conversion holiday cottages had been renovated in previous years, with their heat retaining insulation and double glazing, the owners realised that the farm house had to be tackled from the bottom up! Local craftsmen were employed to carry out the work beginning with the demolition of an old extension to the rear of the dwelling. The old stone and a lot of the other existing original materials were reused within the building of the new structure.

New waterwheel installed in the site of the original waterwheel

New water wheel, generator and gearbox installed

Making the building as energy efficient as possible was a priority for the owners. Having spent years in the old structure with soaring energy bills they realised that now was the time to go as ‘green’ as they possibly could. All the new windows were double-glazed and a new plumbing system was installed using an efficient boiler and condensing water cylinder which used much smaller amounts of energy to retain and move hot water around. Dual-flushing toilets that use less water and a new electrical system and low-energy fittings were installed and energy-efficient A-rated electrical appliances were bought.

Both cottages and the farmhouse have had huge investment in energy saving insulation.  At least 60% of the lighting in the farmhouse uses low-energy bulbs and as lamps and fittings are replaced in the cottages they are being converted to low-energy alternatives. All products and services are sourced  locally and there is a policy of encouraging guests to use the local transport or walk and leave their car behind, energy efficiency, recycling and reusing is implemented wherever possible.

Farndale wild Daffodils, Kirkbymoorside ~ Photo Credit:  Rogeruk ©

Farndale wild Daffodils, Kirkbymoorside ~ Photo Credit: Rogeruk ©

Visitors are encouraged to walk and enjoy the fabulous daffodil walk at Farndale. The beautiful valley of Farndale lies at the heart of the North York Moors. Each spring, its glorious daffodils put on one of nature’s most spectacular shows – a dazzling display of colour that carpets the meadows and river banks along a seven-mile stretch of the River Dove.  The petite wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) is one of the native plants and is protected within the Farndale Local Nature Reserve, established in 1955 to safeguard the valley’s famous flowers.

Lowna Mill

Are you the owner of an old mill or mill site that had or still has an existing water wheel? Would you like to generate your own electricity and live a more sustainable lifestyle? Why wait any longer, contact us today and we’ll help you on the road to a ‘green’ future.

 

The beautifully restored and visually breathtaking Riverdale Water Mill

During the Summer we spent some time visiting various water mills around Ireland with The Mills and Millers of  Ireland – the society for the preservation of ancient and traditional Irish water mills. We have visited several mills over the years and Riverdale Water Mill has to be one of the most breathtaking of all the renovated mills we have visited to date.

Situated close to the shores of Lough Neagh on the River Goudy the beautifully restored Riverdale Water Mill is over 200 years old. All its original machinery, including the water wheel itself, is in full working order. Visually breathtaking, Riverdale surpasses all expectations.

Restaurant and Courtyard

Restaurant and Courtyard

The magnificent Water wheel

The magnificent Water wheel

The working water wheel

The working water wheel

 

The Millrace

The Millrace

The millrace on the right converges with the River Goudy as it leaves the mill pond.

View of barn and sluice gate

View of barn and sluice gate

The Sluice Gate

The Sluice Gate

The exquisitely landscaped grounds are stunning and full of delightful surprises at every turn. Riverdale Dam is truly a world unto itself , an ideal location for photographs throughout the year.

Stepping stones along the dam

Stepping stones along the dam

The Goudy river waterfall

The Goudy river waterfall

The Elevated pond

The Elevated pond

View of Mill and Mill pond

View of Mill and Mill pond

Enjoying life on the pond

Enjoying life on the pond

The pathways through the beautifully landscaped gardens

The pathways through the beautifully landscaped gardens

A haven for wildlife

A haven for wildlife

Across the road in the gardens of Riverdale House there is a stone and brick built shower house which was used by the workers at Riverdale Water Mill.  After a long day of  threshing the mill workers would step into the shower and once inside another worker would throw a bucket of water on them from the top of the building.

Frank inspecting the shower

Frank inspecting the shower

The fully restored farmyard which includes both a restaurant and a barn can accommodate functions such as local heritage events and weddings.

If you are the owner of an old mill or indeed a mill site and would like to find out more please contact us here for further information and we will endevour to point you in the right direction.

All photographs are copyright of Eco Evolution

Mills and Millers Ireland ~ AGM and Autumn Event

The Society of Mills and Millers of Ireland was launched in 2001 to encourage and assist in the preservation and appreciation of mills as part of our industrial, architectural and landscape heritage. There are hundreds of mills and mill sites spread across the country and while many are beautifully refurbished or put to good use, there are also many others which could be restored or renovated while preserving their traditional context. The society aims to promote interest and awareness in this aspect of Ireland’s industrial heritage by building up knowledge and expertise in areas such as law, architecture, renewable energy and manufacturing and making information available through publications, lectures and events.

Mills & Millers of Ireland will hold their AGM on Saturday 8th October 2011 at 11.00am in the Glenavon House Hotel, Drum Road, Cookstown, Co Tyrone.

Tel: (048) or (028) 86764949. Registration tea, coffee from 10.30am.

At 12.00 noon following the AGM  Mr Norman Kerr will give a presentation on linen processes. At 2.30pm following lunch in the hotel a guided tour of Wellbrook Beetling Mill, the last working water-powered linen beetling mill  has been organised.

Following the tour a visit to the restored Gleshygolgan Flax Mill, Plumbridge  incorporating a hydro electric scheme has also been organised.

Fee for the day €25 – if AGM only, no charge.

Booking details can be found on Mills and Millers of Ireland website.