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A day to honour the Mining Community

September 8, 2023
September 8, 2023
A day to honour the Mining Community
A day to honour the Miners.

A huge thank you to everyone who came along to the Miners Memorial day on August 20th 2023

Paddy O'Connell unveiling the Miners Monument

We thank Paddy O’Connell for agreeing to unveil The Miners Memorial. Paddy worked topside for Ballingarry Collieries. He is the expert on the history of the area and is always generous with his remarkable knowledge of our local and mining heritage.

Six  wreaths were laidat the monument on the day.

Andy Lawlor laying a wreath in memory of the Miners

Andy Lawlor laid a wreath in memory of all the miners who worked in the Slieveardagh Coalfield. Andy grew up opposite Clashduff mine and went on to do his electrical apprenticeship and work in the mines in Gurteen. He even lived in the mine managers house in Ballynunty  for a time as a newly-wed.

Annie Heaphy laid a wreath in memory of the Miners Wives.

Annie Heaphy laid a wreath in memory of all the miners wives. Annie’s husband Michael Heaphy was one of the miners trapped the night of the flooding where Mr Gannon, the mine manager was drowned. Annie supported and cared for Michael both as a young healthy working man and throughout the rest of his life, and like many of the wives was widowed too soon.

Michael Hanrahan laid a wreath in memory of the Miners who lost their lives or were injured in the mines.

Michael Hanrahan laid a wreath in memory of the miners who lost their lives or were injured in any of the mines. Michael is the only living survivor of the night of the flooding. Michael recalled the terrible accident for the gathering. Michael drew special attention to the memory of miner Ned Hayes who was underground when the breach occurred. Ned was with MrGannon and engineer Tony Joy, and he saved Tony Joy. Michael wants Ned's presence and bravery that night recorded and remembered.

Kelvin O'Brien & Lauren O'Brien laid a wreath in memory of the O'Brien family, and Michael Keating laid a wreath in memory of his father.

Kelvin O’Brien and Lauren O’Brien (daughter of the late Billy O’Brien) laid a wreath in memory of the O’Brien family headed by Tommy O’Brien, Ballingarry Collieries 1952 to 1973.

Michael Keating laid a wreath in memory of his father, Patrick Keating of Kealy Mines 1978 to 1982.

Maraid Maher laid a wreath in memory of 'Kennys the Masons'

The sixth wreath was laid by Mairead Maher on behalf of all the Kennys in memory of Patrick and Michael, the ‘Kennys the Masons’ who built Copper Steeple 160 years ago. Mairead herself is also famous in the miners memory as one of the mine bus stops was at ‘Mairead’s Shop’.

Two new information boards were unveiled

Michael King Cleere unveilled the board about the Collieries locations and histories

Michael King Cleere unveiled the board about the Coalfield. Michael who says “Mining is probably in my Blood”, comes from the King Cleere family. Michael and the Mining Interest Group have been instrumental in saving and having this history remembered. He has led tours of the mine sites over the years, and in 2021 delivered the award-winning tour online and all the short videos can still be watched on the Tipperary Coalmines website.

Mary Doheny and Margaret Kennedy unveilling the second board

Mary Doheny and Margaret Kennedy unveiled the information board about Copper Steeple and faces from the mines. Mary and her sister Margaret are Kennys from Curraheenduff.

The two new information boards beside the gate to the Steeple field.

The celebration of our mining heritage continued:

Billy O’Brien performed his composition ‘Beneath the Steeple’ written especially for the occasion.

Thanks also goes to Billy for organising and managing the public address system, and accompanying the other singers.

John Bermingham read his own poem ‘Gurteen Mines’
Jamsie Ivors sang ‘Ballingarry’ the parish anthem!
Margaret Kennedy
Tom Ryan
Willie McGrath

A special thank you to Willie and Aine McGrath who generously allowed the Monument to be sited inside their gate to the steeple field. As well as honouring the mining community they along with the Mining interest Group look forward to the day that the steeple is conserved. It is hoped that by raising the profile of this unique piece of built heritage that funding may be raised to save it.

Seamus Purcell, our MC for the day.

Thank you to Seamus for keeping the day running so smoothly. As a miners son it was an important day for Seamus; he helped ensure that our mining heritage and its people are not forgotton.

Marion Cahill, the booklet and bookmark.

Marion Cahill put together the commemorative booklet on Copper Steeple and the Kenny family. A really useful gathering together of the history of the Steeple, and the heritage of the Kenny family.  And she also produced a lovely bookmark as a keepsake of the day.

Jimmy Byrne and his ground work team

There was a lot of organisation and work getting the area ready for the boards and monument. Jimmy Byrne headed the work and built the new stile in to the monument, his ground team Jim, Billy, Michael and John O’Connell prepared the site, and put up the monument. Thank you also to Thomas Fitzgerald for confirming where we could put the boards up and for having the area beside the gate filled and tidied.

Design and plan for the Miners Monument

The Mining Group wanted a monument that will honour the mining community. The cut out of the helmet- based on one in The Old School, and simple celtic text mounted on the rough stone wall is the result.

We thank C&G Engineering in Clane who took on the challenge of laser cutting it for us, special thanks to Will and Alex.
New sign and boards designed and made by Signiatec

Our information boards and the new finger sign were made by Signiatec, in their own words- Ireland’s leading supplier of interpretive signage. We thank Caroline and the talented graphic designer David forworking with us to produce these two striking boards.

Images from Jason Ayton

Special thanks to Jason Ayton Photography, Kilkenny. Jason visited the coal field during the summer and took photographs of most of the mine buildings still standing, his view up the inside of Copper Steeple is impressive, showing the Kenny brothers skills at stonework. Jason was also our official photographer on the day. Thank you also to everyone who have shared photographs of the day.

Thank you Roisin Troy of Slieveardagh Blooms. Roisin provided the wreaths and helped with running of the day.

Thank you to everyone who supports saving the memory of the mining heritage.

Special thanks goes to to our supporters whos generosity has allowed us to put up fitting and professional quality information boards and the monument to our heritage. Thank you to Tipperary Heritage office for continued interest and help with trying to save the Steeple, we ran this event as a Heritage Week 2023 event.

Finally, the Mining Interest Group thank Margaret and Katy for the imagination and huge effort they put into preparing for this day and for organising a very successful local heritage event.

Ifyou would like to have your memories of the mines recorded or are interested in working with us on further upcoming Mining projects please contact us at, or in person to any of the Mining Interest Group.

August 20th 2023
The Keating Brothers

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