Killawallaun Old Mill

Just past Crotty’s Wood, located on the Aille River, is the ‘Killawaullaun (Killawalla) Old Mill’—referred to locally as the “Old Mill” (Michigan State University, 2009).

There is only scant historical evidence about the mill, writes Peter Callinan. Callinan goes on to say that researchers had to “rely on sketchy bits of information from old newspapers and information passed by word of mouth from generation to generation” (Callinan, n.d.).

Callinan (n.d.) writes that “When the country was first mapped in 1837, the mill was not recorded but in 1852, when the Griffith Valuations were produced, for the purpose of collecting rates, it was listed with its contents. On 29th December 1857, an advertisement in the ‘Mayo Constitution’ read as follows: ‘For Sale or Lease: The Mill of Killavalla, containing two pairs of French Burrs, one pair of shelling stones and all machinery for making oatmeal, with ample storage and a constant supply of water. Attached is a comfortable residence and grazing land if required. Is situated six miles from Westport on high road to Ballinrobe. Immediate possession can be given. For further particulars apply to Mr. Yelverton, Hazelrock, Westport’” (Callinan, n.d.).

Who built the mill?

Callinan (n.d.) reports that two landlords built the mill. They were Lord Lynch Blosse, who resided in Balla and Lord Avonmore, who lived in Hazelrock House which is now a ruin. Callinan (n.d.) also reports that Lynch Blosse owned the land on the east side of the Aille river beside the old mill, and Lord Avonmore owned the land on the west side of the river.

A dispute between landlords

Callinan (n.d.) goes on to say, that a dam “was constructed on the river to get the mill working. This caused some flooding on Lord Avonmore’s side of the river. The purpose of the dam, was to give each landlord half the water supply. After rainfall, the dam caused flooding and the supply was inadequate to run the mill in dry weather. Inevitably, a dispute arose between the two landlords and they fell out. Lord Avonmore then had a canal cut from the nearby lake to power the mill. The water supply from this canal was not sufficient to run the mill on a commercial basis.”

Because of this dispute, the evidence is that the mill never worked properly— for its intended purpose, at least, writes Callinan (n.d.). Callinan continues on to say that the Blue Bangor slates from the roof of the mill were put on a shed nearby, and at the time Callinan wrote his article, the slates were still on the shed. The grinding stones from the mill were reportedly sent to Ballinrobe and the building stones from the east wall (which was demolished) were sold off on the local market for 2 shillings per ton in 1931.

But what happened to the mill?

The ruined mill still mostly stands and it has become famous in the history of the Killawalla community. In the 1970’s, people began holding bonfires and open-air dances there, and it was also used by locals as a handball alley (Michigan State University, 2009).

And who was Lord Avonmore?

Lord Avonmore, who was also known as George-Frederick Yelverton became owner of Hazelrock Estate when the O’ Malley family became dispossessed. In Griffith’s valuation (1850’s), Lord Avonmore is recorded as owning the land of quite a few local villages in the area—eg. Moate, Drimneen, Killawalla East, Cappaharnane, and Balloor West. Avonmore was born on the 7th of March, 1818. His mother, Jane Booth, died when he was three years old and his father—​Barry John Yelverton was the 3rd Viscount of Avonmore. George-Frederick spent some time in the army before possessing the lands in Mayo (Conway, n.d.).

References:

  1. Callinan, Peter. (n.d.) Killawalla Mill. Internal Report: Folder 2, Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail—Clogher Environmental Group Ltd.

  2. Conway, Mary B. (n.d.). Lord Avonmore. Internal Report: Folder 2, Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail—Clogher Environmental Group Ltd.

  3. Michigan State University, Study Abroad Programme. (2009). Killawaullaun Old Mill. Internal Report: Folder 2, Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail—Clogher Environmental Group Ltd. Unpublished.