MILLTOWN MILL

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Milltown Mill is a derelict water mill that stands near the village of Kilkerrin in Galway. Built around 1850, the mill was once a bustling hub of activity, producing flour and animal feed from the local crops. Today, the mill is a silent witness to the past, slowly decaying and overgrown by vegetation. 

Milltown Mill was one of the many water mills that dotted the Irish countryside in the 19th century. Water mills were an essential part of rural life, providing a source of income and sustenance for the farmers and communities. They used the power of flowing water to turn a large wheel, which in turn drove a series of gears and stones that ground the grain into flour or meal.

Milltown Mill was built by the O’Kelly family, who owned a large estate in the area. The mill was situated to the nearby Shiven River, which provided a steady supply of water. The mill also had a mill race, a channel that diverted water from the river to the wheel. The mill was operated by a miller, who lived in a nearby house with his family.

The mill produced both wheat flour and oatmeal, which were sold locally or exported to nearby towns. The mill also processed animal feed, such as bran and pollard, which were by-products of the milling process. The mill was a vital part of the local economy, providing employment and trade for the people of Kilkerrin and surrounding areas.

The mill continued to operate until the early 20th century, when it faced competition from larger and more modern mills that used steam or electricity. The mill gradually declined and eventually closed down, leaving behind a legacy of industrial heritage.

Milltown Mill is a two-bay, two-storey stone building with a slate roof. The building has a rectangular plan, with a gable-end facing the river. The gable-end has a large opening for the water wheel, which is now missing. The wheel was made of wood and metal, and had a diameter of about 4 meters. The wheel was connected to a horizontal shaft that ran through the building, powering the machinery inside.

The building has two entrances on the opposite side of the wheel opening. One entrance leads to the ground floor, where the grain was stored and fed into the millstones. The other entrance leads to the first floor, where the millstones were located. The mill had two pairs of millstones, one for wheat and one for oats. The millstones were enclosed in wooden cases, called hoppers, which regulated the flow of grain. The millstones were driven by vertical shafts that came from the horizontal shaft below.

The building also has several windows on both floors, which provided light and ventilation. The windows have stone sills and lintels, and some have iron bars for security. The building is constructed of local limestone, which was quarried nearby. The limestone blocks are roughly cut and coursed, with lime mortar joints.

The building is surrounded by a stone wall that encloses a small yard. The yard has some remnants of other structures, such as a kiln and a shed. The kiln was used to dry the grain before milling, and had a conical roof and a chimney. The shed was used to store tools and equipment.

Milltown Mill is a valuable example of Galway’s industrial heritage, reflecting the social and economic history of rural Ireland in the 19th century. The mill is also an important architectural feature, showcasing the craftsmanship and engineering skills of its builders. Milltown Mill is not open to the public but can be seen from the roadside, or with the landowner’s permission.

LOCATION

53.535744, -8.516338

Milltown Mills

GALLERY

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