Stories from Old Newspapers

Knockbrack Slate Quarry

On the 30th of September 1933 the Dungarvan Observer published an article about the reopening of the Knockbrack Slate Quarry near Clashmore which had not been worked for many years and had first opened in the 19th century.  According to historian Canon Power, Knockbrack slate was exhibited in the Cork International Exhibition of 1902.

The paper noted that the promoters had just made the final arrangements about employing local people.  It was anticipated that initially 30 to 50 people would be employed.  Much of the work involved clearing out the old debris to enable them to dig deeper to find the better quality slate.  ‘It may be interesting to note that the present machinery about to be erected…consists of one giant crane by Butler Brothers, Engineers, Glasgow’.  It was noted that the promoters had received a government loan.

J McGrath CEIMCE was appointed overseer, John Tynan, engineer, formerly of the Killaloe Slate Quarry, was in charge of the machinery.  The company representatives also paid a visit to the P.P. of Clashmore, Father Murphy, who wished them well.

It was explained that the quality of the slate in the quarry was very good, ‘especially the green seam, and this may be proved by the fact that many of the oldest houses in Youghal, Clashmore, and other places are covered with Knockbrack slate, and are there for over 100 years or more’.

In the Schools Collection on there is a reference to the quarry compiled by Ballycurrane School:

‘The old slate quarry at Knockbrack supplied all the slate that was used in roofing here about a hundred years ago.  The slate on the school came from there.  It was rather small and heavy and was not polished off like the English slate as they had not the requisite machinery.  It was owned by the Coughlan family.  Some years ago it was acquired by the Killaloe Company and was worked for a while.  Some fine slate was got but it was abandoned again.  A huge hole half filled with water is all that remains of the last attempt’.

John F Boyle in his booklet - Waterford County: Its Lapsed and Possible Industries 1906 referred to the excellent quarry at Knockbrack situated on the lands of Mr Coughlan and its green and purple slates.