This fascinating site was the 2nd biggest gunpowder manufacturing plant in Britain and Ireland in the 19th century. It’s a lovely mix of parkland and historic industry, and well worth a visit.
The Royal Irish Gunpowder Mills was founded in 1794 by Charles Henry Leslie and John Travers. Gunpowder for industrial, sporting and military use was made here, in a complex of about 60 buildings spread over 175 hectares.
The British Board of Ordnance bought the mills in 1805 as they needed increased gunpowder supplies for the war with France. The gunpowder mills changed hands again in 1834, when private investors, Thomas Tobin and Charles Horsefall, bought then from the Board of Ordnance.
In 1903, the development of dynamite and smokeless powders, brought an end to production at Ballincollig. But during 110 years or so when the mills were in production, it’s estimated that about 2 million barrels of gunpowder (each about 45 kg) were produced here.
The gunpowder mills are part of Cork County Regional Park, and the complex is well worth a visit
Car-parking at eastern and western ends of the site. Cafe.
Submitted by: Rod Mac Conaill, of Ballincollig Heritage Association