Travelling along a minor road in County Kilkenny, one suddenly sees what looks like the ruins of an immense castle on the horizon. Only when in the immediate vicinity does it become apparent that this is, in fact, an industrial building the original purpose of which has been disguised. Erected on the banks of the river Barrow primarily of limestone with a cut-granite battlemented parapet, the early 19th century six-storey flour mill at Barraghcore dates testifies to the prosperity of this part of the country during that period. Subsequently becoming a malthouse, it continued in operation until the early 1970s when the roof was removed to avoid payment of rates. So sturdily was it built that even after more than forty years in this condition the mill remains standing, but cracks are beginning to appear especially arond the corner turret and its future could yet be in jeopardy.
Beautiful photographs! This mill has a direct connection to the topic of my current PhD research: the Milford mills in Carlow from 1790, owned by the Alexander family who purchased a landed estate there with the vast profits they generated. Barraghcore was built about a decade after the buildings at Milford and was owned by John Alexander’s (1763-1843) brother-in-law, John Handy. Interestingly, the Barraghcore mill appears to have mimicked the defining architectural feature of the three immense Milford buildings: the distinctive crenellated parapets, so dramatic on the skyline, although the ornamentation at Barraghcore is more elaborate and deliberate. From my own research, I believe it was John Alexander who led the fashion for castellated mills along the Barrow river (as noted by Maurice Craig), and the feature may have been first suggested by Alexander’s first partner at Milford, James Conolly Esq. of Meath and Dublin, whose home mill at New Haggard near Trim (built in the 1770s) already possessed this feature when Alexander set about renovating the concerns at Milford, c. 1790. Research also shows that Alexander had funded the development of the Barraghcore business and was named with John Handy in the bankruptcy proceedings involving the mill in the early 1850s. The flour mill at Milford was burned in 1864 and only one of the buildings now survives.
Gosh, thank you so much for getting in touch with all that fascinating information. I have some additional photographs of the Barraghcore mill if you wanted to see them (altho’ given the location it is not easy to photograph).
Thank you so much, that would be great!
This information won’t help your research, but the Conolly’s at Newhaggard are my ancestors. Where did you find the record that James Conolly built this mill. I have a document which states that James Conolly leased this property from Lord Trimelston, from September 1789 for a period of 99 years. Have you visited this site ? A John or James Conolly was married to a Cecilia Barnewall daughter of Lord Trimelston (I think) NOt sure which one there were a few branches.
Thank you for getting in touch. You will see that the information about the Conollys came not from me but from another reader; I do not have any knowledge where he found the information I’m afraid.
Thank you for replying so quickly. It’s an interesting snippet and adds to my knowledge of my family. Shay Kinsella if you read this perhaps you could get in touch. Kind regards Caroline Kernan
Hi Caroline Shane is my name I’m a newhaggard man and I know most of the history of newhaggard and this is the first time I have heard of James conolly at this mill as far as my records go Richard odlum built the mill in 1760’s! Now this might be new information for me and you say you have records of him at newhaggard mill? If you could contact me by email i would absolutely love to chat about it and share information on newhaggard! My email address is email@example.com thanks!
I meant please Shay Kinsella. This is an exciting piece of information for me. Thanks Caroline Kernan
Caroline, I would be delighted to share information about James Conolly. He played a massive role in the construction of the Milford enterprises but has been almost completely forgotten. He was also a massive figure in the Dublin business world in the early 1800s. My major sources are the Alexander family papers at Milford and various public repositories in Ireland and the UK. Really excited about hearing from you. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Shay, I’m thrilled to hear from you. I went to Newhaggard on Sunday for the first time. I think by the sounds of things you know much more about him than I do. I shall email you from now on.
Not exactly anyway architectural,but Clive Nunn,of Ballyduff Mill,used to make furniture.I rather think that he made large tables from some beams from the Mill,at Barraghcore,may have the wrong Mill!
Clive Nunn of Ballyduff Mill,Thomastown,some years ago made large tables from beams from I think Barraghcore Mill.I may have the wrong Mill!
Thank you, I wonder if this is true (can anyone else confirm?)