Move over Liscannor Stone and make some room for Kilrush Flags

We have all heard of the famous stone flags from Liscannor, County Clare, however, I have uncovered the long forgotten “Kilrush Flags” which have been used since the early nineteenth century to pave streets from the UK to America.

As far I can ascertain, the stone was quarried from Money Point, located in the townland of Carrowdotia, west of Kilrush, County Clare:

Flag stone quarry.jpg

The Advocate: or, Irish Industrial Journal, 6 February 1850:

Kilrush quarry.jpg

The above article severely criticized, Vandeleur, on whose extensive estate the quarry was located. In particular, the article drew attention to Vandeleur for missing out on an opportunity to establish a profitable quarry in Kilrush. The article stated that such an investment could have provided much needed employment for the local population.

Ten days later, the Limerick and Clare Examiner, of 16 February 1850 also complimented Mr Franklin on his enterprising spirit while commenting that ‘the proprietor of the town withdrew on one occasion a subscription that was established to aid the starving inhabitants of the town.’

Franklin blog entry

Kilrush Flagging 1.jpg

The Census of Ireland for 1901 recorded a number of individuals employed in quarries throughout County Clare. Associated occupations included: Quarry Labourer, Quarry-Boy, Quarry Man and Quarry Master. The majority of these sixty-four men lived in and around Liscannor in the north of the county.

In Knockerry West in the DED of Killimer, James Boyd Maclachlann from Scotland was recorded as ‘Quarrymaster’. Money Point quarry was located in Knockerry West.

Maclachlann’s Household Form (A) is below:

census quarry

By the time that the next census was recorded (1911), the numbers working in the quarrying industry had dropped to fifty-one. Maclachlann does not appear on the census. However, Patt [sic] Cleary from the townland of Carrowdotia is recorded as ‘Quarry miner, retired’. His son, Pat, was listed as a ‘Quarry miner’. The Cleary family’s Household Form (A) is below:

quarry 2.jpg

More to follow…

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2 thoughts on “Move over Liscannor Stone and make some room for Kilrush Flags

  1. Mary John Knott described the flags being slid down an inclined plane to the shore. At the time the quarry was being worked by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company; some of the stone was carried to the marble mill at Killaloe established by Charles Wye Williams, of that company. And from Appendix B No 8 of the Second Report of the Railway Commissioners in 1838 we learn:

    “Co Clare: Moneypoint Quarry produces a fine hard, close-grained, gritty Flag, varying from 1½ to 4 inches thick, and containing from 10 to 20 superficial feet. With 4 miles of Kilrush, on a cliff overhanging the Shannon. Annual produce about 60,000 yards. Value £2250 at Quarry. Shipped from the quarry.”

    The report gave further “Information furnished by Mr W H Owen” http://www.dia.ie/architects/view/4245/OWEN-WILLIAMHENSHAW:

    “It is stated that this Quarry extending all along the coast, and known by the name of Moneypoint, is inexhaustible, though the consumption at present is comparatively small, owing tot he expensive manner in which it is worked, and the consequent high price at which the produce is sold, as well as the exposed situation of the Quarry, which renders it both difficult and hazardous for shipping to approach it. 24,000 superficial yards are shipped annually for Cork; 16,000 ditto are conveyed from the Quarry by small boats to Galway, Tralee &c, and 20,000 ditto to Limerick, of which 16,000 superficial yards are cubed and manufactured at Killaloe, and shipped for Dublin, London, and Liverpool.”

    Owen’s wife may have been a (presumably widowed) daughter of Charles Wye Williams.

    bjg

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  2. By the way, Hely Dutton said “Very fine flags are raised on the estate of
    Mr Cooper, a few miles from Ki1rush; they are easily quarried, and procured in masses of considerable dimensions. They are curiously connected by serpentine insertions between the layers. The foot-path of Miltown is beginning to be flagged with them, for which purpose they are well adapted; as well from their durability, as from the feet not slipping on them as on limestone, which makes a very dangerous pavement or flagging.” I don’t know where Mr Cooper’s estate was.

    And I have an idea that I read that Ennis workhouse was flagged with Money Point flags, perhaps around 1850, but I didn’t note the source as it was outwith my area of interest. bjg

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