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BUILT HERITAGE Mines

Glengowla mine Oughterard, Co. Galway

Glengowla silver and lead mine is a visitor attraction which offers guided tours of large marble chambers and caverns studded with lead and pyrite and other precious materials.Located 300m off the N59 Galway to Clifden road and 2 miles west of Oughterard, this mine now owned by the Geoghegan family was abandoned in 1865 following only 14 years in operation.

Many 19th Century artefacts are visible and the owners have restored the powder magazine, a blacksmith's workshop and the agent's cottage. The visitor will also be educated on traditional methods of turf-cutting.

The mines have an excellent website and if visiting the mine, one is strongly recommended to view the information there beforehand.

The Oughterard Heritage site also has excellent information on the Glengowla mine - click here.

Clements Mine

Clements Mine is located 3 km east of Maam Bridge, on the left-hand side of the Maam-Clonbur. The elements of interest at this mine include lead, silver, copper and zinc. The mine was developed in 1907 by the Glasgow-based Clements-Lead Mines Ltd. and it is the last mine to be developed in the Connemara region. A crushing plant, the ruins of which are still visible today,  was constructed, driven by water drawn from the nearby stream, and ore was transported to the lakeshore from the workings via trams that were hauled on an endless ropeway. A pier was built on the lake below and the ore was transported by boat to Galway.

An excellent description of the mine together with maps,environmental assessments and hydrology is available here.

Derrylea Mine

Derrylea mine, a lead mine developed in the 19th century, was recently rediscovered by the Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland on the route of a proposed realignment of part of the N59 between Galway and Clifden. At the site there are exploratory cuttings in a rock face as well as a wagonway stretching across Derrylea bog, to a custom-built processing plant where there are extensive building remains. It seems that the mine never produced any commercial quantities of lead and therefore disappeared from the historical record.

Other mines

A perusal of the OSI maps shows two locations for copper mines in Curraun and a third just west of Oughterard.

Seeking more information on mines

If you wish to view the locations of mines on a map, you can do this on the OSI maps. A range of different historic layers is available for the 25 inch maps to enable users to view various aspects of our history and heritage. These include Breweries, Factories, Gas Works, Malt Houses, Railways/Trams, Collierys, Mines, Forges, Industrial sites, Mills, Distilleries, Foundrys, Power Stations.Click here to get started using it online.