Welcome to the Tipperary Coalmines Website created on behalf of the Slieveardagh Mining Interest Group. We have been working on projects relating the mining in Slieveardagh for ten years. These years saw us gathering information, holding get-togethers and culm dancing sessions; working on numerous and varied projects enabling ex-miners to record and share their stories of the mines, hosting field trips to the now disused mine sites and making many pots of tea. We have met the most honourable, entertaining, interesting, intelligent, loyal and memorable people since we started on this journey. To say we were happy to have undertaken this project is an understatement. We feel honoured to have had the opportunity to work with such great people, and about this most important heritage. We hope you will enjoy journeying with us and that you too will share our admiration of the brave miners of the Slieveardagh Hills.
Margaret (Grace) O' Brien and Katy Goodhue.
Not many people know that there is coal in Tipperary. Slieveardagh Coalfield is about 11km long and 5km wide, situated midway between Thurles and Kilkenny City. Hot burning anthracite was the main commercial product here, but the dusty waste known as culm was also of value both as a fuel for lime kilns and for making the culm balls used in domestic fires. There are two seams of coal each only 18” to 24” deep. Coal took millions of years to make but burns and disappears in seconds. Once it is used it cannot be reused.
After 150 years of commercial mining ventures in the Slieveardagh (sleve-r -da) Hills, ending in the late 1980’s the local mining heritage is also in danger of disappearing and being forgotten. Mining was a dangerous, health damaging and life limiting occupation for the miners; but the mines were economically important to the area and the miners were loyal to each other and proud of their work. Here the locations of the mines are documented along with the mining history. The mining activities and incidents are vividly recalled first hand by men who went underground and mined the Slieveardagh Coalfield.
Today it is recognised that fossil fuels have severe public health and environmental impacts, but this small coalfield is still a very important heritage area of Tipperary.
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