Caminches Mine Info

Caminches Mine                  Mianach Chúim Inse

Caminches Mine opened in 1818 and ore was extracted from a 116 metres long north- northwest quartz vein extending down 400 metres. Not much remains at this site except several shafts and a few ruined walls of uncertain function. Two water driven stamping mills for crushing the rock are known to have operated here as well as two engine houses. One of these housed a 36 inch steam engine bought from the newly closed Ross Island Copper Mine at Killarney.Caminches Mine

Several water wheels were employed in Allihies Mines, some as big as 30 feet high. They powered stamps on the dressing floors and a sawmill. Huge reservoirs where built high up in the mountains to ensure a constant supply of water to the wheels. The reservoir in Caminches valley was the largest, and in March 1833 caused a tragic accident when it burst its dam and flooded this mine trapping four men and a boy.

Mine Captain Martin described the dramatic rescue attempt in a letter to Puxley:

“(On hearing there were men trapped) Bat Murphy and John Sonish went to the windlass and drew the buckets up and down to try if the men would get hold of the rope. Two of them were brought up at once fast to the rope. At this time one man and a boy sank under the water, the boy laid hold of the man in the back part of his neck, twice he had to cast off the boy to save his own life, while in this state the rope came in his way and he laid hold of it. … The poor boy drowned.”

Ore production at this mine was erratic, reaching its peak in 1835. The mine closed about 1850. There was a brief and unsuccessful opening of the mine by the Berehaven Mining Company in 1882.