The Miners Monument has been created as part of the celebrations marking 160 years since the completion of Copper Steeple.This industrial and social heritage is very special, the Slieveardagh coalfieldis one of only four areas of coal ever mined in Ireland. From the 1820s to the 1980s commercial mining came and went across the Slieveardagh Hills. Many miners and their families came to the area to work in the collieries or had to leave when mines were closed. Many descendants of miners still live locally but many left, the diaspora is world-wide.
This memorial honours the miners who worked in the local mines and is also in memory of their wives and families. The stainless steel cut out of a miner’s helmet and lamp is based on a helmet from the 1960s belonging to a Slieveardagh miner and on loan to the Old School inThe Commons. The miner’s helmet and lamp was his only safety equipment. It sitsat the top of the steps of text ‘going down’.
The men’s work was hard and dangerous. The miners were loyal to each other and laboured to keep their wives and families. In turn, their families supported and cared for them, both as young healthy working men and often as the miners developed life-limiting mining-related health problems.
Please remember this mining community of men, and their wives and families. And also, the men who worked ‘top side,’ supporting the labours of the miners underground.
The Information Boards
Two new information boards are now sited at the gate to the Copper Steeple field. These boards introduce the history of mining in the Slieveardagh Hills to people who might not know there was coalmining in Tipperary.
The information on the boards comes from 15 years of research into this heritage. Surviving miners, mine workers and family members shared stories and recollections of the mines, the remaining mine buildings were photographed, and treasured photographs of mines and miners were gathered. A unique coalfield map, models, an animated film telling it how it was in the words of five local miners (https://www.tipperarycoalmines.ie/projects/twas-a-terrible-hard-work) , and a website have all recorded this heritage.
The boards also have much more to offer people whose families worked in the mines, know the area or want to find out more.
This information board has a coalfield location map, specially researched and made for this location, with the sites of the commercial mines marked and numbered on it. Photographs of the mine sites each have a QR code that links to the relevant page on https://www.tipperarycoalmines.ie/ Each website page also has a short video about the history of that site, part of the Tipperary Coalmines 2021 Heritage Council County Award winning project.
This information board celebrates the local mining heritage - miners, mine workers, and two talented local stone masons, ‘Kennys the Masons’. The Kennys built Copper Steeple, completing the build in 1863; 160 years ago. More information can be found by scanning the QR code or at https://www.tipperarycoalmines.ie/mine-location/copper-steeple A selection of photographs of mine workers gives the visitor faces to put withthe story. More photographs can be found at https://www.tipperarycoalmines.ie/gallery
On this beautifully sunny Sunday afternoon a huge crowd of mining family members came to celebrate the memory of their relatives, and join in the unveiling ceremony. Many people helped prepare for this event and participated in it, thank you to them all. Another Blog with more photographs and information about the day will be posted soon!
Many people have also been involved in and contributed to saving this important history.
Special thanks to the miners and families whose story it is.