Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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 Waterford Advertiser 24 July 1895

‘An Interesting Sketch of Bonmahon’

The half ruinous, out-of-the-way, little village of Bonmahon…on the coast of county Waterford; which bare and desolate as it looks at first sight, has within each reach beauty enough to satisfy the soul of any tourist who can admire a view where for miles and miles there is scarcely a tree worthy of the name, and whose spirits are proof against the depressing influences of ruin and desolation – for Bonmahon represents the wreck of an industry – the industry of copper mining in the south of Ireland. The result, as it affects the landscape is melancholy, but picturesque; rows of empty, decaying houses, meet the eye on every turn; scarcely a hilltop but is crowned with the crumbling ruin of an engine house, the tall, dilapidated chimneys standing out black against the sky, and surmounting grey heaps of mining refuse. Thirty or forty years ago Bonmahon was a stirring prosperous little place, with a thriving population of over 2,000 persons, dependent on these mines.

Skilled miners had been imported from Cornwall, but there was also a considerable native population. The Bonmahon mines…were finally abandoned in 1882; English miners returned whence they came, and the poor Bonmahon men emigrated in great numbers to the United States; a large contingent of them having settled Butte City, Montana. At present the chief industry of Bonmahon is a creamery, the property of Mr James Watts, who is also the proprietor of the principal shop in the Place.

Bonmahon might be a paradise for artists, if they did but know it; for besides the cliff scenery…and the mountains…And if the artist’s taste should happen to lie rather in figure painting; he need not want for models…The inhabitants…are certainly not below the average as to good looks – Pretty, black-eyed girls; bent old crones, bare-footed and brief of skirt, stooping under creels of seaweed, tall, thin, melancholy-eyed men, with fine features…brown-legged and brown-eyed little boys abound; and they have, alas, the picturesqueness of extreme poverty. If you enter into conversation with them, you will hear pitiful stories of want, and suffering, and emigration, and loss. But poor as they are, they are remarkably honest.




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