Ballyara Mill is a former corn mill that dates back to the 18th century. Located near the village of Caltra in Galway, Ballyara Mill is a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the local people who used water power to grind corn and produce flour.

Ballyara Mill was built around 1770 by the Mannion family, who owned the land and operated the mill for generations. The mill used water from a nearby stream to power a large wooden wheel, which in turn powered the mechanism to grind corn. The mill was one of the few sources of income for the local farmers, who brought their corn to be milled and paid a fee or a portion of their produce.

The mill was also a social hub for the community, as people gathered to chat, exchange news and gossip, and sometimes find a match. Tim Mannion, a descendant of the original owners, recalled in an interview with RTE Radio 1 (listen to soundcloud clip) how his grandfather was a matchmaker who arranged marriages between young people from different parishes. He also shared some of the local superstitions, traditions and customs that were associated with the mill, such as bonfire night, the small chapel in Teampaill, and the influence of the priest.

The mill continued to operate until the 1950s, when it became obsolete due to the introduction of modern machinery and electricity. The milling equipment was removed and sold, and the millrace was redirected. The mill building fell into disrepair and became derelict.

Despite its decay, Ballyara Mill still retains its vernacular form and character, as well as some of its original features. The mill is a simple limestone structure with a pitched slate roof and limestone copings to the gables. It has three bays on the ground floor and a basement and an attic. The ground floor has two windows and a door on the front elevation, and a large opening on the rear elevation where the wheel was located. The basement has two windows on the front elevation and one on the rear elevation. The attic has two small windows on each gable.

The mill also has a cut-stone retaining wall to terrace at the front, which creates a level platform for the building. To the rear of the mill, there is a lean-to single-storey open shed that was added in the 20th century.

Ballyara Mill is currently owned by Galway County Council, who acquired it in 2009. The council has plans to restore and conserve the mill as part of a heritage project that aims to promote and protect the industrial heritage of Galway. The project also involves other mills in the area, such as Moylough Mill and Skehana Mill.

The restoration of Ballyara Mill would not only preserve a valuable piece of history, but also create an attraction for tourists and locals alike, who could learn about the past and enjoy the scenic surroundings. Currently, Ballyara Mill is not open to the public, but can be seen by the roadside.


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Ballyara Mill



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