Report - - Glendalough Valley Mine, Wicklow, Ireland - March ( - May) 2013 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Glendalough Valley Mine, Wicklow, Ireland - March ( - May) 2013


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This has been a sort of project for me for the last four months as I've been back living in Ireland pretty much full time.

Camaderry mountain lies north of Glendalough in Co. Wicklow and has its summit at 2,296 feet above sea level. On the western side of the mountain at 491 feet above sea level lies the Glendalough Valley Miners Village. The village itself is well visited as it is part of the Wicklow National Park and you can park about 2 miles away and walk along the banks of the lake to it. What isn't so well visited is the actual underground workings at Glendalough Valley Mine. This is probably because the two adits are located 847 feet and 1,105 feet above sea level, dug into the face of the mountain and mainly accessable by clambering a good 450 feet up a disused incline / piles of rocky shite.

This picture from the other side of the valley shows the Miners Village and on the side of the mountain, the spoil heaps from the two adits.

But the main reason for this visit lies on the eastern side of Camaderry. On the eastern side, there were two other mines - Luganure and Hawkrock. In 1859, a heading was driven through Camaderry linking Glendalough Valley with Luganure and Hawkrock to make it to transport ore to Glendalough for processing. I had previously visited the Hawkrock Deep Adit which is the connecing heading but it was flooded completely to the roof after about 250 yards. So, if I couldn't get through from Hawkrock to Glendalough, I decided I'd have a look on the Glendalough to try and locate the heading. The reasoning being that from old 19th century plans, the highest Glendalough adit was higher than the Hawrkrock Deep Adit so should be less flooded and therefore, more accessable. Unfortunatly, this wasn't to be but more of that later.

Most of these pics were takem in March when the four seasons of the year decided to hit the area over the space of five hours - wind, rain, sun, sleet, hail and snow - it all made an appearance !

1. Glendalough Miners Village

2. The view from the village up towards tha adits

3. Clambering up to the lowermost adit, the local security reared his ugly head

4. Second Adit (847 feet) entrance

5. Looking down the flooded adit

6. And soon a collapse appears

7. But its passable and the adit continues

8. The water soon subsides

9. Plenty of the usual gooey shite found in metal mines before the adit verrs sharply 90 degress at the furthest point

10. And promptly ends in this - a dead end collapse. There was no way around it although the air at the bottom did send the Eccles lamp a flourescent green colour. I've had safety lamps go out on me, pop a LEL cap of over 5% inside the gauzes, etc. but never had a flame turn bright green. I promptly fucked off out of there ! This didn't seem to be the connecting adit anyway.

11. View out of the adit

12. Outside the First Adit (1,106 feet) which seemed to have built for and by, pygmies

13. Inside the adit entrance. Both of the adits were small with hardly any room. The bare minimum access was definatly black powdered out

14. View down the adit. At this point I started to get a very funny feeling about this 'adit'

15. Wooden props in a high roof, hmmm, I've seen this somewhere before

16. Blockage straight ahead and the 'ohh fuck' moment bottom left

17. Close up of the wooden floor. A rock chucked down took 6 seconds to stop. It took me .6 of a second to retrace my steps

18. So no way through there either but there were good views down the valley

19. And up the valley

20. And finally, back at the village there is still the remains of an old crusher

So it seemed the only way to find the heading between the mines was from the eastern side through the flooded adit. Despite re-visiting the Hawkrock Deep Adit in April and earlier this month, the water level was still the same. Then about a week ago I had a message from a guy who dives old mines. They went into the Deep Adit to see how far they could go. Unfortunatly they only got about 200 yards further in near zero visability until they hit a blockage and couldn't find a way around it. So it seems we were about 150 years too late in trying to find the heading and that seems to be the end of this little project !

Incidentally, Glendalough Valley Mine didn't operate for long and closed about 1887 but the heading was still used for transporting the ore from the eastern side until at least the late 1910's.

Thanks for looking.