Monday, 31 December 2012

Moone Mill Co Kildare



                                    Above Image: Lost in a swirl of branches



                                               Above Image: Riverside view




Situated near the village of Moone this once grandiose corn mill exists now for the most part as only a huge hollow shell.
It was constructed on the estate of Belan House, the great home of the Earls of Aldborough, the Stratfords who came to Ireland in the 17th century. The house was built upon over the years becoming one of the largest gabled houses in the country with fine gardens containing follies such as a temple and obelisks.
The mansion was largely built from the ruins of the Fitzgerald Castle which stood on this site but was destroyed in 1641. Indeed the site was originally employed by St Patrick in the 5th century for the foundation of a church and a holy well. The well still exists today.
The decline of the great house began in the 1820's when the fourth Earl, embroiled in gambling debts, mortgaged the house and let it fall into disrepair. Most of the worthwhile parts of the estate were sold over subsequent years finding new homes in other great houses and upon the death of the sixth Earl the title diminished. The great abode became still and silently and slowly decayed. Now today only the remains of the stables and some of the follies remain.
The only successful part of the estate was the corn mill owned by Ebenezer Shackleton, uncle of the famous explorer Ernest Shackleton, who resided in Belan lodge. The mill was probably constructed in the late 18th or early 19th century and Shackleton was running it successfully in the 1820's, producing an average of 15000 bags of flour yearly. It was noted for having one of the deepest and longest millraces in the country.
Today the ruins can be seen on a bend in the road en route to Moone Abbey. There are various "No Trespassing"  signs and the large gates remain closed. There is an occupied lodge just within the gates but no one was visible on our visit to ask about access so we will return here again and seek possible further entry. We did manage to get an obscured view by way of a narrow lane adjacent but this too had a private property sign. There is also a good side view from the bridge crossing the river a few yards away. It is a shame we could not get closer as this is truly a magnificent ruin. Also as an aside just a few yards away on the opposite side of the road you can spot the ruins of Moone Castle now walled into a private grounds and sporting a very large and very vocal dog!
To find Moone Mill ruins, take the M9 southbound exiting at junction 3 for the N78. Turn left at the top of the exit and drive until you reach a T-Junction with the R448. Turn right here and pass through the village of Timolin and on into Moone village. At the end of the village opposite the Post Office is a right hand turn through a tall pillared gateway, this is Belan Avenue, once an entrance to the estate. Continue on until you take a sharp left bend and you will spot the ruins about 500 feet ahead of you.

2 comments:

  1. This isn't Belan House? The last remains of Belan vanished in the 1950's, and all that remains now, are the stables. This ruin is the remnants of the Moone Mills.

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  2. Hi Laura, you are so right. I will amend this post as soon as possible and thanks for putting me on the straight and narrow!

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