Monday, July 24, 2017

The Ards - 'The Little Holland of the North'

Some photos here from recent drives around my home turf - the newly refurbished Ballycopeland Windmill near Millisle (which now features on a Royal Mail stamp) and the old windmill stump at Knockinelder. It seems from the Montgomery Manuscripts that it was Lady Elizabeth Montgomery who oversaw the construction of watermills in every parish of the Montgomery lands in the Ards in the early 1600s. Initially the Scots used the ‘quairn stones’ hand-ground technique commonly used by their Irish neighbours, but later a ‘Danish mill’ was introduced. There were of course water mills in Ireland prior to the arrival of the Scots - in fact, as the same Manuscripts say (on page 63) water mills can be traced to the 3rd Century:

... It is certain that mills driven by water were known in Ireland at a very early period, and appear to have been at least as generally used in ancient as in modern times. Irish authorities, and with them Irish traditions, are unanimous in representing that the first water-mill ever known in Ireland was introduced by Cormac Mac Art, who reigned during a part of the third century, and that the good king brought his millwright from Scotland ...

Knockinelder IMG 9209 IMG 8482 IMG 8479

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