Welcome to the launch of 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.
The Mine Sites/Virtual Tour page uses the material from the National Heritage Week county award winning blog and Virtual Tour of the Slieveardagh Coalfield that received funding from the Heritage Council Community Heritage Grant Scheme. Each site included has a history of that site, images, maps and the Michael ‘King’ Cleere short site specific video. For those of you who followed the Heritage Week blog there are two new pieces ‘A Short History’ of the mining activity from the 1820’s to the 1980’s, and the visit to Foilacamin Colliery and Mine Shaft in the north of the coalfield. The Foilacamin video features Michael and Andy Lawlor, the last man we know to have gone to work at the bottom of the Foilacamin Shaft.
The Gallery page allows you to scroll through a selection of photographs taken at gatherings and events run at and from The Old School since 2012. There is a page of images of Artefacts from the Old School Mining Museum, which will see more items added and a Genealogy page with an introduction to how to go about finding your ancestors, miners or not by geneaologist Noreen Maher of hiberniaroots.
All three of these pages are just a start and will be added to over time. The genealogy page is a place that histories of Slieveardagh miners and mining families can be stored and that individuals who have researched families can share their findings. The first additions to the genealogy page will include the interesting history of Slieveardagh native Richard Sutcliffe miner and inventor of the first underground belt conveyor. And we'll blog to let you know when we have it in the web page!
There is a page featuring Related Projects that have either been undertaken in the Old School or have been influential in the development of the website. Here you can watch ‘T’was a Terrible Hard Work’, or find out more about the specially prepared map on the Coalmining Heritage of Slieveardagh.
The tipperarycoalmines.ie website was designed by Sarah Loh of White Setter Design. We thank Sarah for all the work she put into the development of the site and especially for her creative solutions to all the requests made during that time.
If you want to see one of Sarah’s clever solutions look at Dr Richard Clutterbuck’s map Slieveardagh Coal Mining Heritage. This map was specially prepared for the Old School Mining Museum in 2020 and when we wanted to include it in the website we asked Sarah for a way of zooming in on the map and she came up with the magnifying glass effect!
We are very grateful to Tommy and Alma Cooke of Ballincurry Windfarm who followed the Heritage Week blog project and have given sponsorship towards preparing the website, thus ensuring that this really important history is recorded for the future. Roisin O’Grady, Tipperary Heritage Officer also helped us realise this project with support through the Creative Ireland Programme.
The Covid pandemic has impacted on the whole world, and we have really missed all the in-person events we took for granted. Our answer was to try and find other ways to connect and are pleased that this website will be there for the future and easy to access but still wait and hope for a time when we can meet in person safely again.
Please enjoy visiting this new website, it will be added to it over time and we’ll let you know through the blog when new material is added.
And finally, The Slieveardagh Mining Interest Group wish all a Happy New Year.