Here is a YouTube video made by An Scannanlann (cork City and County Film Archives) highlighting the restoration of the Gunpowder Mills area in the 1990s. Ballincollig Gunpowder Mills Restoration.
Here is a YouTube video made by An Scannanlann (cork City and County Film Archives) showing the now permanently closed Visitors’ Centre at the historic Ballincollig Gunpowder Mills.
Below, is Cork Film Arcive special report, featuring the Gunpowder Mills, Ballincollig, Co. Cork.
‘A Forgotten Historic Site, ripe for renewal again’
Here is a link to an image of the report by Jerry Aherne, editor of the Cork Film Archive newsletter. The report featured in ther December 2008 newsletter. See the Report on the Gunpowder Mills, Ballincollig, here. [added February 2009]
A plaque dedicated to the memory of the late George D. Kelleher, was unveiled on Saturday 25th October at the west end of the Regional Park. It was through the dedication and persistence of the late George Kelleher that the importance of the Gunpowder Mills and the uniqueness of the Regional Park began to be appreciated. The Muskerry Local History Society organised the plaque and the Cork City Lord Mayor did the honours.
Charles Henry Leslie, founder of Ballincollig Gunpowder Mills in 1794.
Plaque erected on East Gate in 2008:
“Walton Abbey” in the text above should read “Waltham Abbey”!
Gunpowder Mills Walk Below is a link to a map of the Gunpowder Mills paths. It is an excellent walking guide and can be printed off and taken along with you.
History of Ballincollig Gunpowder Mills
The Ballincollig Gunpowder Mills was set up in 1794 by Charles Henry Leslie (of the Cork banking family), and later became one of Ireland’s most successful industries, producing gunpowder for the military, most notably during the Napoleonic Wars, as well as for mining, quarrying and civil engineering purposes.
The British Board of Ordnance bought the mills in 1805 and extended the mills. The board laid out the main canal and increased the productive capacity of the mills. The military barracks was built to protect the gunpowder.
After Napoleon was defeated in 1815, the demand for gunpowder went down and the mills closed down. The cnals and millrace became overgrown and the buildings were allowed to run down.
In 1834, the Gunpowder Mills was sold to Thomas Tobin (a Liverpool merchant). In 1837, the mills employed about 200 workers and produced about 16,000 barrels of gunpowder.
By the mid 1850s, the mills had become one of the largest industrial establishments in the Cork area. About 500 men and boys were employed in the mills.
Here is a link to a newspaper article about an Explosion at Ballincollig Gunpowder Mills in 1859.
By the last quarter of the 19th century, the demand for gunpowder shrank as new types of explosives were discovered. In the 1880s the Briscoes bought the mills and in 1898 the mills came under the control of Curtis and Harvey.
The mills closed permanently in 1903. In 1926, I.C.I. (Imperial Chemical Industries) became the owners of the mills and associated lands.
In 1974 Cork County Council bought the mills and developed the area into the Regional Park.
In 1993, the Cork County Council opened the Visitors Centre and in 2002, they closed it but the western end of the Regional Park continued to be developed for use as a walking area for the public.
Many ruined buildings still remain to be seen in the park, particularly in the eastern end, and the area is contained in what is called the Regional Park. See photos Photos of Gunpowder Mills on Flickr.
The principal constituents of gunpowder are: saltpetre (Potassium Nitrate), charcoal and sulphur. Saltpetre was imported from India, sulphur from the mines on the island of Sicily and the charcoal was produced from the local trees.
In March 2008, it was announced by Mr Batt O Keeffe T.D., that €100,000 was be contributed towards the excavation and other works under Cork County Councils Implementation Plan for the Gunpowder Mills, Ballincollig.