The History of a Mining Parish

Silvermines Local History

About Silvermines Historical Society

Silvermines Historical Society was founded in January 2012. Its mission is to collect and preserve local history and folklore that might otherwise be lost.

The SHS members are an enthusiastic group who meet every month and so far have organised and participated in a variety of events from historical presentations to summer outings. To date we have published two local history journals, Mining the Past 2012 and Mining the Past 2013.

SHS welcomes new members and is actively seeking old photographs and other historical material relevant to the locality.

The Silvermines Historical Society do not undertake Genealogical Research, however, they will forward any queries received to SHS member, Nora O’Meara, M.A, Genealogist at the North Tipperary Genealogy Centre who provide a Genealogical Research Service for people whose ancestors originated in North Tipperary.


Mining the Past 2012 – Contents

MINING THE PAST 2012 CONTENTS TITLE AUTHOR(S)   20th Century Mining in Silvermines – An Overview A history of mining in Silvermines from 1917 to 1982.   Eamonn De Stafort Droney’s Hall The legendary Ballinaclough dance hall that became the centre of social life for a memorable decade in the mid 1900s.   Tim Boland…
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Mining the Past 2018 – some photography

  Mining the Past 2018 – Launched on 4th November 2017 Silvermines Historical Society launched their sixth local history journal on Friday 3rd November 2017. Mining the Past 2018 was launched by local journalist Patricia Feehily.  Patricia was born and reared in Silvermines parish, and an authority on the written word, lauded the offerings of…
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Ballinaclough (Ballynaclogh) Gravestone Inscriptions go online

Ballinaclough (Ballynaclogh) Gravestone Inscriptions go online     The Ballinaclough (Ballynaclogh) gravestones went ‘online’ on 16th August 2017. This marked the successful completion of phase one of the Graveyard Project. The project to digitise the headstone inscriptions in the three graveyards of Silvermines parish was undertaken by Silvermines Historical Society (SHS).  It got underway in…
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Visit to Ardnacrusha

Visit to Ardnacrusha On Tuesday 18th July a group of 25 members of Silvermines Histori cal Society went to Ardnacrusha on a pre – booked tour of the Hydro – Electric plant.  They were taken on tour by four young students who gave them and excellent and informative tour of the workings of the historic…
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Outing to Malahide Castle and Gardens

Outing to Malahide Castle and Gardens – Saturday 24th June 2017 A total of 31 SHS members and friends of Silvermines Historical Society set out for Dublin – leaving the village at 8am as pre-arranged (Andy Kennedy of Arra Travel, Silvermines providing the transport) Arriving at Malahide Castle just before 11 am gave plenty of…
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Mining the Past 2017 – Prize Winner at Listowel Writers’ Week

Silvermines Historical Society are  pleased to announce that their current publication Mining the Past 2017 has won First Prize in the Nilsson Local Heritage Writing competition at Listowel Writers’ Week..  The presentation of  the award will take place at the Official Opening Ceremony on Wednesday  31st May at 8pm in the Listowel Arms Hotel. Congratulations…
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Easter Greetings to all members and friends of Silvermines Historical Society. This year’s Easter dawn Mass was celebrated at 6 am on Easter Sunday in Dolla cemetery beside the old Church in Kilboy.  As dawn approached a large congregation made their way through the open gates and crossed the stream to the graveyard where an…
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Sonny O’Neill – Talk in Dolla

A Talk on SONNY O’NEILL will take place in the Eagle’s Nest, Dolla on Monday 27th March at 8.30 pm. Sonny O’NeillSilvermines   The presentation  will be given by John Flannery, President of the Ormond Historical Society (OHS), Nenagh. A small exhibition of photos will also be on display – this is a collection of images…
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Rural Electrification

Silvermines Historical Society will host a talk     RURAL ELECTRIFICATION BY MICHAEL HANLY (Dublin & formerly Kilmore, Silvermines) ON THURSDAY 9TH March 2017 At 8pm  Venue: The Eagle’s Nest, Dolla, Nenagh, Co Tipperary     All are welcome
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Visit to Tipperary Studies at the Source in Thurles

On Tuesday 14th February last a group of Silvermines Historical Society members visited the Tipperary Studies section at the Source Library in Thurles. As pre-arranged, the group met with Librarian, Mary Guinan Darmody who introduced them to all the resources available in centre.  The archives are an invaluable resource for historians, students and for all…
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Dolla Talk on ‘Rural Electrification’

Rural Electrification 1946-1975 Silvermines Historical Society is pleased to present an evening talk on Rural Electrification 1946-1975.  The talk will be given by Michael Hanly, a member of the SHS, and will take place in the Eagle’s Nest, Dolla at 8pm on Tursday 9th March.  All are welcome. The evening will consider how ‘Rural Electrification’…
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ohs lecture – Brendan Bracken

Ormond Historical Society Monday night, 6th February 2017 Lecture by Charles Lysaght on Brendan Bracken Charles Lysaght, author of best-selling biography “Brendan Bracken” will be the guest speaker at Ormond Historical Society’s next lecture on Monday night, 6th February 2017. Winston Churchill’s right-hand man and closest confidant for over thirty years, Bracken was a man…
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Gathering at Glenculloo

A week of hot summer days seemed on the verge of departure on Monday 10th June but that did not dampen  the spirits of the two parochial  groups who met at Clifford’s school house by the bridge in Glenculloo for a summer outing. In this year of the ‘Gathering’ it was a symbolic event. The…
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Gleeson Clan Gathering

The Gleeson Clan Gathering runs from 19-24 August 2016 in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. There are tours & social events throughout the week and lectures on Friday 19th & Saturday 20th at the Scouts’ Hall on topics as diverse as chain migration, researching Estate Papers, DNA, the Ancient Annals, & the role of the Gleesons in…
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Silvermines Commemorates

A ceremony of comemmoration, took place on Sunday 8th May in Silvermines organised by the local historical society. As the congregation emerged from 11 o’cock mass in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Silvermines, they were greeted with the strains of a lone piper and as he played, three ladies in 1916 styles mingled with the…
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Thomas McDonagh Centre

On Monday 7th March a group of Silvermines Historical Society members paid a visit to the Thomas Mc Donagh Centre in Cloughjordan.  The centre has just launched a programme of events to commemorate 1916 and holds a marvellous collection of Thomas Mc Donagh memorabilia, aptly housed in the place that was his childhood home.  In…
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Books for Sale


Mining the Past 2013

We have a small amount of copies of this book still available on a first come, first served basis.

Contact us if you have any difficulty in finding a copy


Mining the Past 2014

We have a small amount of copies of this book still available on a first come, first served basis.

Contact us if you have any difficulty in finding a copy


Mining the Past 2015

We have  copies of this book still available on a first come, first served basis.

Contact us if you have any difficulty in finding a copy.


Mining the Past 2016

We have  copies of this book still available on a first come, first served basis.

Contact us if you have any difficulty in finding a copy.


Silvermines Documentary

Mining in Silvermines

The Shallee Mine

News from Facebook Feed

Recent visitor to Silvermines.
Maria Crocker from Baltimore, Maryland paid a very special visit to Silvermines in early April this year. Maria first contacted Silvermines Historical Society in 2014 and purchased a copy of Mining the Past. Through her research, she discovered that she was the great grand daughter of Mary Ellen Tobin who emigrated to the USA from Boherbee, Silvermines in 1882.
The story of Mary Ellen's leaving Ireland, An American Wake in Boherbee, is penned by Maria's cousin Michael O'Brien and is featured in Mining the Past 2019. Maria was the guest of her cousin Michael O'Brien and his wife Joan in Silvermines village and while here she met with the greater Tobin family relatives, and toured all
relevant places of local interest.
While here she also got an opportunity to attend an SHS talk on 4th April - the talk was presented by Patsy Feehily on Canon Martin Ryan, her uncle, formerly of the Old Road, Silvermines,. At this event, in the Eagle's Nest Dolla, Maria met with other members of the SHS over light refreshments in a pleasant atmosphere after the talk.
Maria's mother,Marguerite Crocker, the grand-daughter of Mary Ellen Tobin, recently celebrated her 95th birthday and we send both Maria and her mum our very best wishes from the Silvermines Historical Society.

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5 days ago

Silvermines Historical Society

Happy Easter to all Silvermines Historical Society members and friendsPhoto: The SHS outing and talk in Dolla graveyard in August 2015

On this Easter Sunday morning Dawn Mass will be celebrated in Dolla Cemetery at 6 am.

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Talk in Silvermines on 4th April - on Canon Martin Ryan PP of Lorrha & Dorrha.

WELL known Thomond antiquarian, the late Canon Martin Ryan, former parish priest of Lorrha and Dorrha, and a native of Silvermines, is the subject of a talk hosted by the Silvermines Historical Society at the Eagle’s Nest in Dolla, on Thursday, April 4 at 8.30pm.
The talk will be given by society member, Patsy Feehily, a niece of the late Canon Ryan.
At the time of his death in 1988, Canon Ryan was vice president for Munster of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland – the senior learned society of its type in the country. His life-long interest in history and archaeology won him the esteem and friendship of some of the leading experts in the field, including Professor Etienne Rynne of NUI Galway; Dr TA Lucas, former director of the National Museum and Professor M J O’Kelly, the man who discovered and restored the historic burial mound at Newgrange and who also excavated the Neolithic sites at Lough Gur.
Fr Ryan confounded them all once when he disagreed with their assertion that the limestone country of the Burren couldn’t possibly sustain an ancient cooking place known as a fulacht fiadh – he introduced them to no less than 23 such sites in the Kilnaboy area, which he had discovered in the course of his own field work while listening to the lore of the locals, when he was a parish priest in nearby Ruan.
He was a prominent member of the Thomond Archaeological and Historical Association and a founder member of the Ormond Historical Society. For many- years he was chairman of the Clare Historical Society’s annual conference in Ennis which attracted scholars from far and wide, and he was a board member of the Craggaunowen project. His interest in Archaeology took him on many conference trips abroad, particularly to England, Scotland, Wales and Malta, and he assisted at the excavation of the Lherghydhoo Bronze age cemetery mound in the Isle of Man.
His influence and his interests were extensive, particularly in the building and restoration of churches and schools and in his love of the Irish language and of the game of hurling. “His energy was enormous,” wrote Etienne Rynne, “and he used it unsparingly in many fields. But everyone knew him as a friendly, generous and kindly person….”
Canon Ryan was the youngest son of John and Mary Ryan (nee Guinane) of the Old Road, Silvermines. He was educated at the local school and at St Flannan’s College in Ennis. He was ordained to the priesthood at Maynooth in 1937 and is buried in Lorrha, his last posting, where he once loved to extol the glories of its past monastic greatness.
The talk will be presented at The Eagle’s Nest Dolla by Silvermines Historical Member Patsy Feehily on Thursday, April 4th at 8.30pm Members free, non-members €5 and all welcome to a cup of tea afterwards.

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Seamus Heaney HomePlace
Visit Seamus Heaney HomePlace and experience an amazing journey through the world of the Nobel Prize winner. Then, explore the surrounding landscapes and heritage sites from which Seamus Heaney drew his inspiration

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Feb monthly meeting of the Silvermines Historical Society will be held on Monday week next - that is Monday 4th March.
Anyone who has not paid their annual membership fee, please note that it is now due fo 2019.

Mining the Past 2019 has been selling very well and is still available in local outlets
Upcoming Events:
Talk by Patsy Feehily on Very Rev Canon Martin Ryan PP Lorrha, and formerly of Silvermines. Date and details of this event will be be issued shortly.
The Graveyard digitisation project undertaken by the SHS is virtually complete and will be launched in April or May in conjunction with a talk by Dr John Tierney of Eachtra.

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Map of Silvermines


Parish of Silvermines

The parish of Silvermines, as we know it today, consists of four former parishes. They were Ballinaclough, Dolla, Downamona and Kilmore. Over a period of time these parishes were joined or amalgamated and formed the parish of Kilmore. In time the names of this and many other parishes were changed by common usage especially at the beginning of the eighteenth century and particularly where there was a shift in the centre of population. And so gradually Kilmore parish became known as the parish of Silvermines because the most populous area of the parish was the village of Silvermines.

Mining the Past


The heritage and history of the Silvermines area is unique in terms of mining and for centuries now, mining has been carried out at various stages and with varying degrees of intensity. The earliest mention of mining in this area dates to 1289 when Italian miners from Genoa and Florence in Northern Italy came to…
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The 1837 publication of Samuel Lewis’ ‘A Topographical History of Ireland’ painted a picture of Ballinaclough (Ballynaclough) at that time as a prospering parish situated on the River Arra with 1149 inhabitants living across 3,701 statute acres. It highlighted  Ballinaclough’s improved agricultural systems (presumably cultivating wheat, oats and potatoes on conacre; though not specified) along…
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In many ways it was very much an anachronism in our lives, but for those of us who grew up around Dolla and Silvermines in the ’fifties, Kilboy and the ‘Big House’ will always have certain associations and memories. My own childhood home was just across the fields from Lord Dunally’s cropped mansion, and only…
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A Branch of the Gaelic League was formed in Ballinaclough in 1954 by the late Padraig O’Coileain. Padraig, or Pat, as he was known locally was a primary school teacher and had a great interest in all things Irish. The branch began its activities in Hughie Droney’s hall, with Irish language classes and Ceili dancing,…
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Many of those involved in the War of Independence had books published about their exploits. Dan Breen with My Fight for Irish Freedom [ 1924 ] was one of the earliest as was Piaras Béaslaí with his Michael Collins and the New Ireland [ 1929 ]. These were followed by many others including Guerrilla Days…
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Next year, 2013, Lissenhall will celebrate a very special event – the 50th anniversary of the opening of its community centre. But the building which has been the centre of social activities in the area for half a century has a far older history, which hopefully will be the subject of a future article in…
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Poetry Corner

John Tobin

JOHN TOBIN   Thank you for the memories That you have given me, Your life with May and Rody In your home in Boherbee.   My head is filled with happy times, I can see them still so clear, When I close my eyes at night time So many things seem near.   Cutting timber…
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THE SPORTING SILVERMINES (To the air of “The Wearing of the Green”) Here’s three cheers for North Tipperary boys Those heroes brave and true, Who showed themselves in every field That ever they went to. And here now in their praises I will pen those simple lines, All honour to the famous club The Sporting…
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THE RAMBLING SOW FROM GARRYGLASS There is a man in Garryglass, who keeps a rambling sow, His name I will not mention for fear ‘twould cause a row. Some of the sow’s adventures now to you I will relate, She got hungry on a winter’s day; she had nothing for to ate. Says the sow…
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SILVERMINES EDWARD FORDE Go out the road from Nenagh town, And climb the hill that leads to Glown, Pause when you reach the mountain’s crown, And gaze ‘round at the splendour. The valley that is Glenculoo, The Arra hills of purple hue, Lough Derg reflecting skies of blue, Are wonders to be seen there. The…
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Paddy Collins

PADDY COLLINS MICHAEL O’BRIEN He lived up from the metal bridge, in the townland of Mountisland, Some of his fields are level ground, but most of them are high land. In Samuel Brindley’s former home, Paddy Collins was the resident, He was a farming and a hurling man, and our esteemed GAA club president. A…
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MY YOUTH IN TIPPERARY  Patrick J Hill   I am thinking of a dear old spot, in Ireland o’er the sea, I see it in my dreams a lot, it still seems home to me. There I spent my boyhood days, the glens I did explore, While the sun beamed down its warm rays o’er…
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Lament for Thomas Mc Donagh

Lament for Thomas Mc Donagh ………..Francis Ledwidge He shall not hear the bittern cry In the wild sky, where he is lain Nor voices of the sweeter birds, Above the wailing of the rain   Nor shall he know when loud March blows Thro’ slanting snows her fanfare shrill, Blowing to flame the golden cup…
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