Carrowreagh Mill is a two-stage windmill that stands on a hill near the village of Monivea in Galway. Built around 1750, it is one of the few surviving windmills in Ireland and a testament to the industrial heritage of the region.
Windmills were introduced to Ireland by the Anglo-Normans in the 12th century and were mainly used for grinding grain. They were usually located near rivers or on elevated sites where they could catch the wind. Carrowreagh Mill was built by the Ffrench family, who owned the nearby Monivea Castle and estate. The Ffrenches were one of the most influential families in Galway and were involved in various industries, such as brewing, distilling, milling and mining.
Carrowreagh Mill was probably used to grind wheat or barley for making bread or beer. It was also a source of income for the Ffrenches, who charged a fee for using the mill. The mill operated until the early 20th century, when it was abandoned and fell into ruin. It is now a protected structure and a local landmark.
Carrowreagh Mill is a circular stone tower with two stages or floors. The lower stage has a diameter of about 6 meters and a height of about 4 meters. It has a door on the south side and two windows on the east and west sides. The upper stage which is near ruin, would have had a diameter of about 5 meters and a height of about 3 meters. It has four windows on each cardinal direction. The roof of the mill is missing, as well as the wooden sails and machinery that once powered the millstones.
The mill was designed to rotate on a central post to face the wind direction. The sails were attached to a horizontal shaft that connected to a vertical shaft inside the tower. The vertical shaft then drove a pair of millstones on the lower floor, where the grain was fed and ground. The upper floor was used for storing grain and flour.
Carrowreagh Mill is a rare example of a windmill in Ireland and an important part of Galway’s industrial history. It reflects the economic and social activities of the Ffrench family and their tenants in the 18th and 19th centuries. It also demonstrates the engineering and craftsmanship skills of the builders and millers who constructed and operated the mill.
The mill is located on private land, therefore it is not open to the public, but it can be seen by the roadside or with the landowner’s permission.
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