Preserving History: Ahascragh Mills Revival

Preserving History: Ahascragh Mills Revival

Buildings like the Ahascragh Mills deserve to have their story told. The mill dates back to the 1800s and was an operating mill, processing grain into flour, until the 1950s. As construction on the Ahascragh distillery began, it was important that the work and design protected and celebrated the previous use of this historical building. We collaborated with Billy Moore Metalworks, Waterford, to restore the old mill equipment found during the clear out phase. Billy then designed bespoke pieces of furniture, inspired by the mill, using the salvaged equipment. The pieces are now pride of place in The Old Mill Shop & Café, Ahascragh.

Based on the family farm in Ballysaggart, Waterford, Billy Moore creates unique and functional objects of art, sculpture, furniture and lighting. Mainly working with steel, he takes inspiration from old Irish farm implements, vintage machinery and elements from Ireland’s industrial past. The easiest and fasted way to recondition old mill equipment would be to sand blast and repaint each item. However, Billy believes it is worth taking the time to remove the rust and scale layer by layer, using a variety of techniques. The end result has retained and enhanced the character of the original pieces.

The Avery Table

The Avery Table was created using a cast iron weighing scale base, rescued from the mill. The automatic weighing scales with a batch counter was developed by W&T Avery Ltd in Birmingham in the early 1900s and used in the Ahascragh Mills in the 1950s. The batch counter is exactly as it was when it recorded its last batch of grain! The Avery table is completed with brass detailing and a glass top. The reclaimed oak was made by The Makers Shed, Waterford.

The Mill Stone Table

Mill stones were used to grind the grain into flour. One of the original Ahascragh mill stones can be found on display beside St Cuans Church in the village. The Mill Stone Table is inspired by the design and pattern of this important piece of equipment and was created using a custom mould by The Makers Shed. Billy combined the mill stone with a recovered pulley and completed the piece with a glass top.

The Grain Elevator Display

For many years, the grain elevator had a towering presence in the village of Ahascragh. Emerging from the mill complex, it was used to raise grain to different floor levels throughout the mill by means of an internal conveyor “bucket lift” system. This bespoke piece was designed and made by Billy, based on the original grain elevator. The piece was built from scratch incorporating salvaged components from the mill.

The Pulley Tables

The Pulley tables were created using original equipment from the mill and finished with native ash tops from Hearts Wood Heritage, Kildare. The flat belt pulleys and line shafts were once used to transfer power to run the machinery in the old mill. The bearings were manufactured by Henry Simon, a German born engineer who revolutionised the flour milling industry. He founded the engineering company Henry Simon Ltd. in Manchester in 1878.

The Old Mill Shop & Café is a celebration of the history of the Ahascragh Mills. Pop in to say hello and see these special furniture pieces first-hand!