Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Copper Steeple


2013 Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland Field Trip. Leader Phelim Lally 

Slieveardagh Coalfield's Landmark Structure

This is a chinmey built in 1863, it is neither a steeple nor has anything to do with the mineral copper. It is in the townland of Copper. Ballingarry

Base of the chimney showing the quality of the stonework and skill of the stone masons 

It was built by local stone masons Edward and Michael Kenny from Curraheenduff, Coalbrook. They were known as 'Kennys the Masons'. 

The chimney is four sided and is 96' or 29.3 meters tall. The east and west faces of the chimney have arched entrances to it's interior where a furnace would have been installed. 

Today Michael 'King' Cleere visits Copper Steeple and shares it's surprising history.

There ground is solid below the chimney, no shaft was ever dug and there is no soot or burn marks on the interior of the chimney so no fire was ever lit.
The chimney was to be a ventilation shaft for the mines below the ground. Ventilation shafts worked like house chimneys. There would be a furnace inside the base of the chimney and a fire was kept lit in it. 

The hot air from the fire

  • would rise
  • create a draught
  • draw up the impure air from the mine workings below                                                        

Here is a short video using paper cutouts to show how a ventilation shaft works

All the mine sites are on private property and are not open to the public. Annually during Heritage Week our Mining Interest Group have sought permission from the landowners to visit. Derelict buildings can be dangerous, please do not trespass. 

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