Exploring Castlecomer’s mining past

Seamus Walsh, Maryville, Castlecomer during the interviews about mining in the Leinster Coalfields at Deerpark, Castlecomer to collate a oral history of mining in the area. Picture: Michael Brophy.
An interesting evening of history and reminiscing took place at the Castlecomer Discovery Park last Friday as part of the Dig Deep Castlecomer Gathering.

An interesting evening of history and reminiscing took place at the Castlecomer Discovery Park last Friday as part of the Dig Deep Castlecomer Gathering.

Oral Historian Ms. Regina Fitzpatrick, Galmoy co-ordinated a series of recordings of the extended mining fraternity of the area at the Education Centre in Castlecomer Discovery Park Complex where people came and shared their stories.

“It was a wonderful evening. There was great fun and the stories flowed. It is a way of retaining all the memories - the good and the bad and the sad of the Castlecomer mines,” said Cllr Maurice Shortall.

Ms. Fitzpatrick was assisted by facilitator Paddy Dowling, Yellow Road who is also involved in the Dig Deep Castlecomer Gathering.

“The history of the mines Deerpark, Rossmore and Hollypark is a people’s history. We are lucky today to have a group of people who can tell us exactly what life was like to work in the mines, to have a family member working in the mines and what Castlecomer and its surrounding areas were like when the mines were in operation,” she said.

“We need to preserve as many of those voices as we can. By recording the widest possible selection of stories we can create an unmatched resource for ourselves and for future generations of researchers both local and national.

The purpose of the recordings is to learn about personal experiences of the mines, e.g. working life, daily routine, health and safety, family life and social life,” she added.

All the contributions will be stored in the Mining Heritage Museum, Castlecomer which is being upgraded to include a simulated mine. The tapes will be accessible to the public also to schools, universities, colleges and other educational establishments including use in theses, dissertations or similar research.