Town benefits from Lanarkshire-man's mining experience

Miners Willie Hetherington and Frank Devlin working on the shaft -making it "Safe"

Report in National Newspaper April 1960

Highly welcomed in Firoda, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny, is the initiative of Mr. Peter McKay, a Lanarkshireman with 35 years of mining experience. With local co-operation he has opened a century-old coal shaft there. When in full production it is hoped to bring up 100 tons daily of the best coal in Ireland and give employment to about 200 men. The mine was worked for about 40 years over 100 years ago by a Mr. Bradley and then abandoned.

Shortly before the first World War a Mr. Parkinson secured the lease but did not mine any coal. About 1922, there was an agitation under native government to reopen it but nothing materialised. Mr. McKay, who has been working as a foreman in Castlecomer Colliers for the past 13 months, has given up his positionthere to devote himself to the new operation.

With his son James, who also worked in the Colliery, and locals Frank Devlin, Moneenroe, William Hetherington, do., and William Stone Loon, he has formed a company and is fully confident of success. In about four or five weeks' time they expect to get to the bottom of the shaft. They will use the most up to date methods.

The seam is three feet thick while the average dept in Castlecomer is about 13 inches. The coal in the shaft is believed to be of excellent quality. It was highly thought of by old blacksmiths. Very Rev. W. O' Keeffe, P.P. Castlecomer, who formally blessed and dug the first sod praised the venture and said he hoped their fondest hopes would come true.

Group of interested parties gather at the Firoda shaft

Firoda Pit

Memories of Brian Walsh

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