The West Wicklow Granite Quarries

 

The old granite quarries of West Wicklow are all closed now:- 

  • The earliest workings, at Baltyboys, which go back to 1700 or before, have been abandoned and forgotten
  • At Woodend, the workings were abandoned in the 1780s and the nearby settlement where the quarrymen lived has disappeared, with only the ruin of the tiny church still remaining
  • At Threecastles, the granite workings of the Tassie family have been closed since the 1830s, and they are now forgotten
  • The famous Golden Hill quarry can only be identified by the 30m high quarry-face which the stonecutters abandoned in 1824 when they moved to Ballyknockan.  

 

 

 

Ballyknockan is now the only location in West Wicklow easily identifiable as a former quarrying location,

 

 

With its quarries closed and abandoned since the 1970s, . . .

                                               . . . the village of Ballyknockan feels eerily quiet.

                                 

Many of Ballyknockan's buildings lie in ruins . . . .

 

                             . . . . but it still retains the ghosts of the stone-cutters of old.

 

 

The stonemasons are commemorated by fine headstones in the local graveyards . . . .

 

  . . . .  and by the beautiful stained-glass windows in their local church at Valleymount.

 

 

 

 

 

The most important legacy of Ballyknockan's stonemasons can be seen in the Dublin buildings they created. . .

 

 

 

 

This page added March 2012.  Revised 14 December 2018