The House on the Hill

There’s a derelict three-storey house towering over the road as one drives from Bonmahon Village towards the coast road to Tramore.  It’s a building that I’ve passed hundreds of times but have never investigated properly until recently as it has an eerie look about it.

It transpires that it was built in the 19th century for the manager of the copper mine in the area.

Mine Manager's House
Mine Manager’s House

It would seem from the plaque on the wall beneath the house that the most notable manager was a man called John Petherick


The fact that the house overlooked the area, now resembling wasteland, where the copper was concentrated by a small army of men, women and boys explains why the house was so tall.

The windows which once provided the view for the mine manager are either boarded up or have wooden frames, cracked glass, and flapping drawn curtains.

Viewing Point
Viewing Point

Going round to the rear of the house was like walking into a rusty past.

Rusty Brickwork
Rusty Brickwork
Water Pump

At first, I thought this was an old fireplace but on reflection, I’m not sure. Close by is an old water pump that had me wondering about the domestic arrangements in the big house back in the 19th century.

Even though it’s about two weeks since I was up at the house, the human stories it witnessed at both sides of those twelve windows continue to intrigue and haunt me.

The fact that I am writing this post on Thanksgiving Day in America is not lost on me. The Copper Coast and the mining works at Tankardstown always make me think of America and the many, many miners who moved to America, especially to Butte in Montana. I suspect that as I post this many of their descendants will be celebrating Thanksgiving but seeing this little corner of Ireland out of their eyes. Let us raise a glass together!

Old Mining Works at Tanksardstown on the Copper Coast, Co. Waterford




The Golden Apples of the Sun ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 79

“And pluck till time and times are done

The silver apples of the moon,

The golden apples of the sun.”

W.B. Yeats

There was a chill wind up at Tankardstown, here in Co. Waterford,  last evening but there was an overriding warmth being spread to all corners of the world by the soft sunbeams of the setting sun.

Sunset at Tankardstown, Co. Waterford
Sunset at Tankardstown, Co. Waterford

Tankardstown is a place which was at the heart of a thriving mining industry in the 19th century.  As I looked at the golden path in the ocean, my thoughts drifted to the miners who emigrated to places like Montana in the US when the mines closed.  This story is far from over and I am very much looking forward to meeting with a man and his family who are travelling to Ireland from Butte, Montana around St. Patrick’s Day in the hope of seeing where their ancestors grew up and worked  almost 150 years ago.

It felt, yesterday, as if the March welcome was already alight on this hauntingly beautiful part of the Copper Coast.