MILL STREET MILL

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Mill Street Mill is a former flour mill that dates back to the early 19th century. Located on Mill Street, in Galway City, this two-bay three-storey with attic building is a rare example of an urban mill that combines a mill and a house in one structure. 

The mill was once an important source of livelihood for the local community, producing flour from wheat and oats. Today, it is a disused but well-preserved monument that showcases the industrial and architectural heritage of Galway.

Mill Street Mill was built around 1800 by John O’Flaherty, a wealthy merchant and landowner who owned several properties in Galway. He was also involved in politics and was elected as a member of parliament for Galway Borough in 1801. O’Flaherty was one of the leading figures of the Catholic emancipation movement, which sought to end the discrimination and oppression of Catholics in Ireland.

The mill was powered by water from the River Corrib, which was diverted through a head-race that ran under the mill. The water turned a large wooden wheel that drove the machinery inside the mill. The mill had two pairs of millstones, one for grinding wheat and one for grinding oats. The flour was then packed in sacks and sold to local bakeries and households. The mill also had a kiln for drying the grain before milling.

The mill was operated by O’Flaherty and his descendants until 1850, when it was sold to Patrick Joyce, another prominent Galway merchant. Joyce continued to run the mill until 1879, when he leased it to John O’Donnell, who later bought it in 1888. O’Donnell modernized the mill by installing new iron machinery and a steam engine to supplement the water power. He also expanded the mill by adding a new three-storey extension to the rear.

The mill remained in operation until 1922, when it was damaged by fire during the Irish Civil War. The fire destroyed most of the machinery and the roof of the mill. The mill was never repaired or reopened, and gradually fell into decay. In 1979, the mill was acquired and largely restored by Galway Corporation (now Galway City Council), who planned to fully restore it as a museum. However, due to lack of funds and interest, the project never materialized.

Mill Street Mill is a remarkable example of an urban mill that combines a mill and a house in one structure. The mill elevation faces the south-east, while the house elevation faces the street. The building is constructed of limestone rubble with brick dressings and has a slate roof. The windows are mostly square-headed with timber sash frames, except for two distinctive camber-headed openings on the ground floor of the mill elevation, which were used for admitting water to the wheel.

The interior of the building consists of four floors: basement, ground floor, first floor and second floor / attic. The basement contains the remains of the head-race and the wheel pit, where the water wheel was located. The ground floor contains the remains of the milling machinery, including the iron shafts, gears and pulleys that transmitted power from the wheel to the stones. The first floor contains the remains of the grain storage bins and hoppers, as well as some domestic rooms that were part of the house. The attic contains more domestic rooms and a loft space.

The building is surrounded by stone walls that enclose a small yard to the rear and side. The yard contains some features related to the milling process, such as stone-lined weirs, sluices and channels that controlled the flow of water to and from the mill. There is also a small stone bridge that crosses over the head-race.

Mill Street Mill is one of the few surviving urban mills in Ireland, and one of the oldest industrial buildings in Galway. It is a valuable testimony to the economic and social history of Galway in the 19th century, when milling was one of the main industries in the city. It is also a rare example of an urban mill that combines a mill and a house in one structure, reflecting the close relationship between work and home for many people at that time.

LOCATION

53.272261, -9.058427

Mill Street Mill

GALLERY

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