water wheel, one of the largest in Ireland, dates from 1850 when
the buildings were converted from a linen bleaching mill to a corn
mill. The linen mill had been powered by two large waterwheels,
14’ and 18’ in diameter, but when the conversion to
corn was made, they were replaced by the existing huge wheel, which
measures 32’ in diameter by 4’7” wide.
The construction is described in water wheel terms
as “pitchback” and “breastshot”, which means
that the water entered the wheel either along the pipe at the top
(pitchback) or from the mill race at the right hand side (breastshot).
water supply was from a small but very fast stream called the Sally
river and such was the efficiency of the system that it generated
enough power to drive three sets of millstones.
The wheel continued in operation until the 1920s,
but thereafter was allowed to deteriorate. In 1987 it was restored
by local businessman Peter Smyth, and, now powered by electricity,
it can be seen turning each day.