ROSS DEMESNE KILN
The Ross Demesne Kiln is a historic lime kiln near the village of Rosscahill. The kiln was built around 1770 and is associated with Ross Castle, a former mansion that was converted into a hotel. The kiln was used to produce lime for mortar and fertiliser, which was essential for the construction and maintenance of Ross Castle and its surrounding lands.
A lime kiln is a structure that is used to heat limestone or other calcium carbonate materials to produce quicklime, which is also known as calcium oxide. Quicklime is a versatile substance that has many uses in various industries, such as building, agriculture, metallurgy, chemical and environmental. Quicklime can be used to make mortar, plaster, cement, lime wash, lime water, lime putty and lime slurry. It can also be used to improve soil quality, neutralise acidity, disinfect water, bleach paper and textiles, and extract metals from ores.
A lime kiln consists of a chamber where limestone or other calcium carbonate materials are loaded and heated by a fire. The fire can be fuelled by wood, coal, peat, coke or gas. The temperature inside the chamber can reach up to 900°C, which causes the limestone to decompose into quicklime and carbon dioxide. The quicklime is then collected from the bottom of the chamber or from an opening on the side. The carbon dioxide escapes through a flue or a chimney.
The Ross Demesne Kiln is a relatively small lime kiln that has a sub-circular plan and a flat bottomed conical interior. It is made of rubble stone walls with recent concrete coping. It has a flat face on the south-west side, where there is a square-headed opening with a concrete lintel. This opening was probably used to load the limestone and unload the quicklime. The kiln is dug into the side of a hill, with its flue orientated towards Lough Corrib to take advantage of the unobstructed winds.
The Ross Demesne Kiln is important for its association with Ross Castle, which was built in the 16th century by the O’Flaherty clan and later owned by the Martin family. Ross Castle was one of the largest and most luxurious mansions in Galway, with extensive gardens, parklands and woodlands. The kiln was part of the industrial infrastructure that supported the castle and its demesne. The kiln provided lime for mortar and fertiliser, which was vital for the building and farming activities on the estate.
The Ross Demesne Kiln is also important as an example of the industrial heritage of Galway, which reflects the economic and social history of the region. The kiln is one of the many lime kilns that were built in Galway in the 18th and 19th centuries, when lime production was a major industry in Ireland. Lime kilns were often located near sources of limestone, fuel and water, as well as near roads or waterways for transportation. Lime kilns were also common features in rural landscapes, where they served as landmarks and symbols of local identity.
The Ross Demesne Kiln is located on private property, but it is visible from the road that leads to Ross Castle Hotel, or with the landowner’s permission. The kiln is in relatively good condition and maintained by the current owners.
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