Blarney Woollen Mills

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Blarney Woollen Mills was built in 1823. It was used mainly for spinning and weaving wool.[1] The mill briefly closed for two years between 1973 and 1975, after which it was re-opened as an Irish heritage shop. It is located in the village of Blarney, County Cork, Ireland.


Mahony Brothers[edit]

Martin Mahony & Bros Ltd, owned by the brothers Martin and Noel, began building a mill in Blarney, Co. Cork in 1823. It was completed the following year. A decade later the mills employed 120 people, and by the middle of the 19th century its numbers had swelled to over 200.[1]

A spinning machine in use at the Mill

Water was the power source for the mill and the Mahonys built a large dam on the Martin river (near Waterloo), forming a mill pond. The resulting pressure drove the mill-wheel at Blarney, via the millstream and millrace.

While textiles was a booming industry for Ireland in the 19th century, Blarney Woollen Mills carved out a niche in tweeds, a product for which the company garnered renown.[citation needed] It also produced woolen worsted cloths, knitting wools and hosiery.[citation needed] A fire at Christmas in 1869 saw the destruction of the mill. It was re-built the following year and still stands to this day.[1] Post-war Europe brought recession to the British Isles and a decline in woolen production.[citation needed] Blarney Woollen Mills went into receivership in 1973.[2]

Kelleher family[edit]

Blarney Woollen Mills shop entrance

In 1928, at the age of 13 years, Christy Kelleher began work at the mill. Rising to supervisor with responsibility for the day-to-day running and maintenance of the heavy industrial machinery, he worked there for 22 years until 1950. In 1975, Kelleher bought and reopened the mills. He died in 1991, and the firm is still owned by the Kelleher family.[3]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°56′00″N 8°33′56″W / 51.9332°N 8.5655°W / 51.9332; -8.5655