If you travel northwards along the road between Cootehill and Ballybay you will come across an old mill wheel – the last remaining part of the cornmill at Corfad.
Patrick Watters, a native of the area penned the following piece depicting his memories of the working cornmill and how he, as a young child would travel there with his father in the early hours of the morning on a horse and cart to bring the oats to the cornmill to be ground.
The Cornmill at Corfad
If you ever travel northwards, from Cootehill to Ballybay,
You will pass by an old mill wheel, falling to decay,
It’s the last remaining relic, of an age now past and gone,
Where the farmers of the neighbourhood would go there with their corn.
I remember well long long ago when I was just a lad,
I’d go there with my father, to the cornmill at Corfad.
He’d tackle up the horse and cart and load the bags onto,
And start out early in the day, to be well up in the queue.
Sometimes we’d be first or second or maybe at the back,
But all that really mattered was to be home before the dark.
When arriving at the mill, you drove in round the back,
Where the farmers helped each other to unload the golden sacks.
The bags were hauled up to the top, to a place they called the kiln
To be dried there on a special floor, before going through the mill.
The mill was built of solid stone, and stood three storeys high,
And looking back down memory lane, it seemed to touch the sky.
Way up on top was a great big cowl, with a long projecting fin,
Which sensed the changes in the breeze, and turned it from the wind.
When all was set to go, the sluice was gently lifted to let the water flow,
To fill the buckets of the wheel, and empty out below.
That great wheel began a turning and turned the works within,
The miller started at his trade another day for to begin.
The corn it worked down through the mill starting at the top,
And when it reached the bottom, it was ready for the pot.
Sometimes a bag or two was brought to make a special brew,
The miller got the message. He knew what to do,
And knew that when the brew was made, he’d get a bottle too.
Then in the evening time when the last bag had gone in,
The sluice was gently lowered, and all was peace within.
In Summer time when things were slack it got an overhaul,
The millstones trimmed and parts renewed and cleaned from wall to wall.
Now when you stop along your way, and see that great big wheel,
It’s hard to realise now, it once ground oaten meal.
Well things are always changing, nothing now stands still,
The grass it now grows o’er the site of that old mill.
And when you stop and look. It sure would make you sad,
The wheel is all that’s left now of the cornmill at Corfad.