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Skerries Mills the Irish Heritage Museum

We have already told you about the amazing place where the Ardgillan Castle is located. But only a couple of kilometres from here you can find the small town of Skerries. This town is famous not only for its beaches and seaside view, but also for its Mill museum.

There are three well preserved mills around the territory of the museum, two powered by wind and one by water. The oldest one is the water mill. Its documented history takes it back to the XVI century. This mill is categorized as a “Roman” type water mill, where a horizontal millstone starts working because of a vertical waterwheel, onto which, water is poured from a small height.

view of Skerries

On this mill the mill stones can weigh around one tonne and their diameter can reach one and a half meters. For continuous water flow from the “mill pond” a system of flumes is used to regulate the water flow.

On the four storeys of the watermill there are secondary rooms that were used for drying and storing corn and finished flower. To get heavy bags to the top floors the workers used a “lift,” that relied on the power of the waterwheel.

During the time of the Great Famine during 1845-1849 in Ireland, the whole country had a network of either “Poorhouses” or “Workhouses”, where bread was given to the needy and poor. And this watermill was to mention the most important floor of the mill, the bakery which you can also see when viewing this mill.

Amazingly, when you visit this mill-museum you can actually see it work when the guide of the museum opens the water gate and the water start to spin the waterwheel.

windmill in Skerries

The watermill in Skerries worked until the end of the XIX century, when new ways of grinding corn were being invented. But the bakery in the mill that made bread for rural areas until 1986, caught fire in this mill. The government bought the half destroyed mill and after its reconstruction in 1999, the Mill Museum officialy opened.

We talk about the mills in this museum as one, because in the territory of this museum there are also two windmills. One of them is quite old, with four sails. It was built in the XVI century and stand 12, 2 meters tall, with a diameter of 16 meters.

The Great Windmill of Skerries

The second windmill (the Great Windmill of Skerries) was built between the XVII-XIX centuries, like its 4-sail counterpart. But after the reconstruction that happened because of the fire, it became a 5-sail mill. Its height reaches 15 metres, with its sails reaching 20 meters in diameter. The caps of the mill are turned to the wind by using a tail-pole.

In conclusion of our story, we will note that visiting the Mill museum in Skerries was a pleasant and learning experience into history, where natural farming was treasured and a piece of bread was earned through hard labour. Everything was interesting and the experience compared to visiting the monuments of UNESCO in Ireland.

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