Journey through time at Ballycorus Chimney

After a short walk through the woodlands, the trail reaches a plateau overlooking the coast and the mountains.  Standing there on its own for over two centuries, there is a massive granite tower, known locally as Ballycorus Chimney.  It is a well-known landmark rising above the coast and the sea and it is even marked on the Admiralty charts.

The tower is far more than a landmark.  It was built in the ealy years of the 19th century to evacuate the fumes of a smelting facility which processed lead from a local mine.  A pipe tall enough for a man to stand up linked the facility to the chimney.   It was two kilometres long, thus allowing the fumes to cool down and to release the last particles of lead still trapped in the hot air. These particles deposited along the pipe and every so often, workers  were sent down to scrape its sides.  Subsequently many of them  died from lead poisoning but at that time, no one knew that lead was toxic.  Since then, the surrounding area is known as the Death Valley.

The local mine closed in the 1860s.  For another twenty years, the smelting facility continued to operate processing ore  from Glendalough and when it became no longer commercially viable,  ore was brought in from the Isle of Man.  It was finally closed down in the early years of the twentieth century.  For safety reasons, the viewing platform at the top of the tower was dismantled and some of the granite steps of the outside spiral staircase were also removed.

The tower is still standing tall overlooking the beautiful landscape.  It is an important witness of the mining activity of the area and it is the only one of its kind in Ireland.  It is also part of our industrial heritage.

Morning on Sugarloaf
Ballycorus Chimney Killiney Hill


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