|Ballycanavan mill site|
|The sluice and the mill pond bottom rt|
I've sketched the scene in an effort to try explain it better, and hopefully the photos, above and below, may assist too. Essentially at the high water, two sluice gates were closed to effectively dam the stream and hold the water back.
|1 the Mill, 2 Kiln, 3 Store/office, 4 store? 5 uncovered storage area|
|Ballycanavan Stream on old OSI map|
|close up of a remaining wooden pillar on the sluice|
Now visiting the mill is problematic for two reasons. One its in an extremely bad state of repair, with a lot of fallen stone. Secondly its currently overgrown and on private property, the site being owned by Dr Robin Kane. I met Robin recently and he happily showed me round the site. Not alone was I thankful for access, but I was also thankful for the mine of information he had about the mill.
|Arch from kiln area into the mill|
|Robin showing me round the mill site - Mill wheel was on the outside, |
the wheelshaft and gearing , belts would have beenin front of where
we were standing. The milling stones were on the floor above
|Three stages of building|
Robin had also heard that when corn was plentiful, or perhaps if the mill wasn't operational, corn was taken upriver to be milled elsewhere in Waterford and indeed up the Barrow. I could imagine that at times of neap tides, sufficient water might be hard to store up in the mill pond. Perhaps another reason for it's early demise.
A final negative factor was that undershot water wheels were notoriously less efficient to run than overshot wheels (where the water was fed over the top of the wheel). And there was an overshot fed wheel in the area. It was just upstream from Ballycanavan and we will pay a visit to this next week.
Thanks to Robin Kane for allowing me visit the site and for the information he supplied to me in writing the piece
Information on mills taken from Watts M. Watermills. 2012. Shire publications. Oxford.