Return to the House on the Hill

I simply had to go back to the derelict Mine Manager’s House in Bonmahon ~ what I think of as The House on the Hill ~ as there were so many unanswered questions after my last posting. The interaction associated with blogging is certainly one way to keep one’s mind moving!

It’s the back of the house that one sees from the road:

Mine Manager's House, Bonmahon, Co. Waterford ~ the view from the road.
Mine Manager’s House, Bonmahon, Co. Waterford ~ the view from the road.

I was determined to get to the front and see how it looked from there. I still can’t figure out where the main gate to the house is/was but I crawled through a load of thorny overgrowth and came to the front which rather took my breath away:

The Front Door
The Front Door

There is a lot of ground in front of the house and it felt like no one had been there since the front door was finally boarded up years ago.

The Front 'Garden'
The Front ‘Garden’

As for the ‘fire place’ round the back, there is definitely a space that could have housed a chimney – albeit a rather narrow one.

The Fire Place in the Back Yard
The Fire Place in the Back Yard

As the little plaque notes, the Mine Manager’s house had a good view of the works going on in the area below it:


This is a view of how the area looks these days:

Where Miners once Worked
Where Mining Families once Worked

Many thanks for asking all the questions that you did about the original post and generating my curiosity to go back and take another look at a house with a history.


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