At the beginning of February Michael and Paul Keating visited the Commons and spent the afternoon in the Old School. They are the sons of Patrick Keating who along with business partner Gilbert Howely established Kealy Mines Ltd. in 1978.
Michael and Paul shared their memories of Kealy Mines and their fathers fascination with mines and mining and the difficulties that he and the mines encountered. As young teenagers the Kealy boys went to work with their father during their school holidays, both worked above ground. Michael being the elder also worked underground over a couple of summers. Like all young miners he started off hurrying or pushing the tubs to the bottom of the crank and was well supervised when he was underground. They also remembered that their mother like most miners wives fully supported her husband but had little idea of the dangerous and extremely hard work that he and the miners did.
Michael lights the carbide lamp in 2012In 2012 the Keating family presented a carbide lamp to the Old School in memory of the miners and their fathers involvement in the area. This generous gesture was the start of the collection of artefacts now kept on display in the Old School. They also brought their fathers theodolite, with lights- specially designed for underground use to the gathering. That evening and since other ex-miners and their families also brought artefacts from their times in the mines and these objects help give an actual link to this fascinating and dangerous heritage.
In time we will bring you more of the Keating family stories of mining in Slieveardagh.
More about Kealy Mines Ltd can be found here.