A Brief History of Allihies Mines by Dan Tietzsch-Tailor


1812   Mining begins at Dooneen.

1813   30 employees. Two barrels of porter where bought for christening of Mountain Mine. In July the first ore was transported to Ballydonegan Bay

1815   300 employees.

1817   Mine captains arm themselves with blunderbusses (guns) in response to a local dispute.

1820   500 employees. Company buys in potatoes to sell at cost to employees after their money loses all value when a bank collapses.

1821   Dunboy Castle first extended.

1822   500 employees. Famine leads to doting in Cork and Kerry and Government restricts gunpowder supply.

1824   The mountain road between Castletown and Allihies is made accessible for horses.

1831   1,000 employees (employment makes the area the quietest part of an otherwise restless nation). Provisions bought in by company.

1832   Cholera comes to the mines and there are several deaths ‑ the miners take fright and stay away.

1833   Dam at Caminches bursts and floods engine shaft.

1836   Cornish Village school built

1838   1,000 employees.

1842   1,600 employees. Police barracks built in Allihies village

1845   Mine masons build a Protestant chapel at southern end of Allihies village; Roman Catholic church in Allihies village built the same year. Great Famine  begins.

1846   Provisions bought in by company to offset effects of famine. The mines make a loss.

1847   500 ‑ 1,500 employees. Provisions bought in by company to offset effects of famine. The mines make a loss.

1850   1,000 ‑ 1,200 employees. Puxley’s schooner, the “Miner” is lost at sea

1853   900 ‑ 1,000 employees and 7 mine captains. Production: 425 tons per month. Caminches closed.

1854   Puxley loses another schooner, the “Brothers” and it is replaced by another the “Albion”.

1856   John Puxley (84) dies in Tenby, S. Wales. his eldest grandson, John ‘Johnny” Puxley Jr (25), inherits the mines.

1860   1,200 ‑ 1,500 employees. Johnny Puxley (29) dies, having taken no direct interest in the mines; his brother, Henry Puxley (26), inheritsthe mines. Production: about 5,000 tons.

1861   100 Kealogue miners strike after fatality,

1863   8,358 tons of ore sold.

1864   Strike by Kealogue miners. A march on Mountain mine is turned away by a show of police force, and the miners soon return to work.

1866   Henry Puxley begins a major extension to Dunboy Castle at an estimated cost of £ 17,000. Sharp decline in copper price.

1867   Puxley advertises the mines for sale. Production: 5,599 tons.

1868   Workforce reduced to 600 employees. Strike at Kealogue. ends when Puxley returns from Europe and raises wages. Protestant curate, Rev. Stoney, is sacked by the Rector of Berehaven for his outspoken comments on miner’s pay and poverty. The mines are offered to the Mining Company of Ireland (MCI) for £100,000; a committee investigates the mines but (August) the MCI company   secretary, Robert Heron, is sacked when it is discovered that he has already privately bought the mines together with other MCI directors and shareholders. New owners include 3 members of the Bewley retail family of Dublin.

1869   Production: 4,785 tons.

1870   The new company, the Berehaven Mining Company, publishes its prospectus. There are 12 Cornish miners at Kealogue, 6 at Mountain mine and 1 at Dooneen.

1872   Puxley’s wife dies and he leaves Ireland; Dunboy Castle extension is never completed. The final bill for the extension is £36,827 but after legal action it is reduced to £21, 000.

1873   A company ship with a cargo of 105 tons of coal is wrecked in Ballydonegan Bay.

1874   Loss of £15,431 reported; Captain Crase is dismissed and steam powered stamps are replaced by water stamps ‑ both to save money.

1875   Kealogue closed.

1877   Loss of £2,799 reported.

1878   Selected shareholders call for the company to be wound up. Dooneen closed.

1879   400 employees;

1883   153 employees. Production: 104 tons.

1884   10 employees. The Berehaven Mining Company is wound up.

1885   Mine plant and machinery is auctioned off. Many of the miners have emigrated or will emigrate to the USA, particularly the Butte, Montana copper mines. Minor production continues until 1962.