The project site at Silvermines has a rich social and cultural history of mining activity dating back centuries.

Siga Hydro’s vision is to recognise this deep history of Silvermines and to work with the community to ensure they see their past in this repurposing of the disused Magcobar mine.

If you have any heritage queries or stories you would like to share, please contact us via heritage@silvermineshydro.ie

Key Events in the Life of the Silvermines District

  • 2000 BCE

    Old Men Mining - plausible copper mining works in Ireland and possibly Silvermines.

  • 800 - 1000

    Passing reference to the Vikings or Danes having been active at Silvermines, may be promotional in nature to attract investors.

  • 1289-1303

    Italian Mining Interests. Possibly the Frescobaldis of Florence, merchants, and money lenders to King Edward I.

  • 1303

    Injury of Chaplain Glisse of Birr at meeting with miners, followed by excommunication of miners. First recorded bar fight in Silvermines.

  • 1612-1642

    Charles I Grants mining rights to various 'English Knights' with considerable infrastructure built.

  • Circa 1670-1680

    Cromwellian, Col. Henry Prittie takes control of the land and starts mining Knockaunderrick.

  • 1703-1801

    Act of Parliament solidifies Prittie control of the mineral rights with numerous leases resulting and equal number of failed mining ventures.

  • 1718

    Market Fairs granted to Ballygowan (Silvermines).

  • 1804-1844

    (Lord) Dunalley Mining Company and other various failed attempts at prospecting the district.

  • 1845-1852

    The Irish Famine, various reports of GMCI feeding workers ‘meal’ on site.

  • 1860

    A.B. Wynne of the Geological Survey of Ireland maps the Silvermines Fault and mining activity in the district, State Interest in Mining.

  • 1845-1874

    General Mining Company of Ireland Gortadina, Garryard, and Ballynoe all worked by GMCI.

  • 1958/59

    Magcobar barite deposit in the Ballynoe ceases operations in 1993.

  • 1962-1982

    Canadian International Mogul Mines explores and then opens mine 1968/1982.

  • 2000-2010

    Extensive heritage planning and restoration of surviving heritage mining buildings.

  • 2008-2024

    Silvermines Hydro receives Project of Common Interest Status in the EU.

"Silvermines: A Cultural Heritage of Mines and Miners"

Silvermines Hydro is planning an edited volume with contributions from geologists, historians, archaeologists, and local historians exploring the mining heritage of the Silvermines District.