NUN’S ISLAND MILL
Nun’s Island Mill, an impressive building located on the banks of the River Corrib, is a former flour mill that dates back to the early 19th century. It is now used as an educational laboratory by the University of Galway, but it still retains much of its original structure and character.
Nun’s Island Mill was built around 1810 by the Persse family, who were prominent distillers and landowners in Galway. The mill was one of several industrial enterprises that flourished along the river, taking advantage of the abundant water power and the access to the sea. The mill produced flour for local consumption and export, and employed many workers from the nearby Nun’s Island, which was named after a convent that was founded there in the 17th century.
The mill is a seven-bay six-storey building with a slate roof and limestone walls. It has a distinctive circular stair tower at the south end, and a large water wheel at the north end. The water wheel, which is still intact, was powered by a mill race that diverted water from the river. The wheel drove a series of gears and shafts that operated the machinery inside the mill. The machinery included stone millstones for grinding the grain, sieves for separating the flour, and elevators for moving the materials between the floors.
The mill was in operation until the 1970s, when it was closed due to competition from modern mills. It was then acquired by NUI Galway, which converted it into a laboratory for engineering and environmental research. The university preserved many of the original features of the mill, such as the water wheel, the millstones, and the wooden beams and floors. The mill also houses a collection of historical artifacts and documents related to its history and function.
Nun’s Island Mill is not open to the public, but it can be viewed from outside. It is a remarkable example of Galway’s industrial heritage, and a testament to the skill and ingenuity of its builders and workers. It is also a valuable resource for education and research, as it provides a unique insight into the technology and processes of milling in the past.
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